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Selling at car boot sales and online

Rachel King
  • Rachel King
  • 14th June 2021
  • Renting Storage Space Storage for Business

Selling at car boot sales and online

You may think that car boot sales and online sales sites such as Ebay are handy ways of selling off stuff that you no longer use.

They certainly are good for that.  You can make a bit of extra money and have a clear-out at the same time.

However, some people use this as a source of income, and have set up businesses to do this on a full or part-time basis.

Whether you are looking at it as a casual arrangement or are interested in the business potential, here are some tips that may help.

Car boot sales;

First go along as an observer – some car boot sales are better than others; have a look at what is being sold, what people are buying and where the ‘good spots’ are.  Think about what you need to take.

Watch the weather forecast!  Rain is likely to put people off, so it’s unlikely to be busy.

Pack up your car the night before so you don’t have to think about this on the morning.

Get there early to secure the space you want.

A folding table such as a paste table often used for decorating is helpful to display items on.

Make sure you have a money float with lots of loose change.

Specialist collectors items that have a limited following are probably better sold through Ebay or collectors groups.  Generally, individual items sell fairly cheaply at car boot sales.

Think about what to sell.  Items such as vintage clothing, books, toys, tools, household bits such as crockery and ornaments are often of interest to buyers.

Look on Facebook marketplace and Ebay for bundles of items that might work well for a car boot sale.

Be prepared for people to haggle.  Have a definite idea of how low you are willing to go, and don’t take low offers personally.

Ebay, Amazon and other online sales sites;

These websites are good for more specialist items and goods with a higher value.

Remember to calculate prices to include the cost of postage and packing, as well as any fees you have to pay.

Be aware that Ebay have recently changed their approach with regards to Paypal for sellers.  If your listings have been removed or you have problems listing, first check that you have appropriate payment details set up.

You might be surprised at what will sell on Ebay. Before you list an item, it’s worth searching for similar ‘completed’ items, this will give you an idea of the typical amount people will pay.

Research the websites to see which is likely to be best for the products you want to sell, and compare sellers fee.

Look out for anything that has nostalgic value – classic old toys (eg. My Little Pony, Polly Pockets etc) and band t-shirts can go for silly money. You could be sitting on a gold mine!

Good photos are important.  Buyers want to get a good look at the items they are bidding on.  A good photo can make the difference between an item selling and not selling.

Choose your times well.  You want your listings to end at a time when your potential buyers will be online, so the weekend (Sunday afternoons in particular) tends to be a good time for auctions to finish.

Sell items at a time when people are likely to be interested in them – eg garden furniture at the beginning of the summer.

Be very cautious; not everyone is honest.  List your item as thoroughly as possible with full description of its condition.  Make sure anything you post has been paid for, and it is always worth paying for postage to be tracked.

Selling as a business;

If you are interested in the business potential of selling this way, there’s a few points to consider;

Will you be classed as a ‘trader’? If so, you need to make sure you are aware of the legal and tax implications, as well as trading standards that you will need to abide by.  Here is quite a useful site for reference as a starting point; Car boot sales | Business Companion

Research the websites to see which is likely to be best for the products you want to sell, and compare sellers fees.

If you’re selling on Ebay, you’ll first need to set up a business account as opposed to a personal one. You can find out more about being an Ebay business seller here

Decide what you are going to sell and where you can source it from.  Many people start by finding a wholesaler that they can buy from and then sell the items on.  Alternatively, you might create the items yourself – for example, you might craft wooden planters for the garden and sell those.  Some people design, make and sell their own jewellery and other craftwork on online sites such as Ebay and Etsy.

How are you going to store your stock?  Quite a few online traders use our facilities.  To avoid taking over the house and/or garage, most items can be stored in a self-storage unit where you can access them as often as you need to. With short contracts (our minimum hire is just two weeks), you don’t need to worry about being tied-in long term.  For more information on self-storage, get in contact and we’ll be happy to help and advise.