When I first had the idea of starting a blog there was one post that I could not wait to write. In fact I wrote it over and over again in my head. I am a weird one when it comes to things I’m passionate about: my daughter, my husband, my career and oh yes hosting yard sales! You read that right hosting yard sales! Today I’m going to be sharing my yard sale do’s and don’ts with all of you. I’m so excited this is the second post in my Spring Cleaning series. I hope you enjoy How To Make A Fortune And Have Fun At Your Yard Sale.
Over the years I have perfected my techniques for how to hold a successful yard sale. However, I did made a lot of mistakes along the way as well. But what I determined is that a successful sale can be realized in three stages: Preparation, Execution and Negotiation.
Preparation is Pivotal!
- Do determine what you are going to sell ahead of time. Be organized!
- Do have a game plan. Ensure you have enough tables, blankets and hanging clothing racks to display all of your items clearly.
- Do invite your neighbors and friends to participate, now you can label it a Multi-Family or Neighborhood Sale.
- Do advertise your sale two days prior and the day of on Craigslist in the For Sale / Garage Sale section.
- Key Points to include in your advertisement:
- What type of sale is it – Yard Sale, Multi-Family Sale, Estate Sale, Moving Sale?
- What type of items will you be selling – electronics, furniture, designer clothing, designer purses, tools, toys, sports equipment? (BONUS TIP: tools and electronics are the biggest draws. Even if I only have a few items I will list tools and electronics. Once people invest the time to come to your sale they will buy something).
- Pictures of some of the larger items.
- Key Points to include in your advertisement:
- Do place signs around the neighborhood on major cross streets. Keep the signs clear and to the point (see image above).
- Do have plastic grocery bags or paper bags ready for people to store their purchases.
- Do have $40 in change ready the day of. 20 $1 bills and 4 $5 bills is the best combination to make change.
- Do have a cross-body purse with you on the day of. Store your earnings and change in the purse while keeping your hands free.
- Don’t be disorganized, the key to a successful sale is your preparation. If you are scrambling before hand you will not be set up in time.
- Don’t forget the change. The last thing you want to do is turn away a paying customer because you can’t break a $20.
- Don’t add price tags to individual items. It is a waste of time and stickers. People will always want to negotiate. If they see an item with a price tag that they do not favor they will keep moving, whereas if it doesn’t have a tag they could fall in love with the item before you hit them with the price.
- Don’t undercut your prices. I once had a friend join in on my sale that sold a brand new small microwave for $10, if she would have named a higher price she could have easily made $30 – $40.
- Don’t sell valuables at yard sales, people are there to buy inexpensive items, if you have an expensive designer purse try eBay.
Execution is Exciting!
- Do have FUN!!! It’s the day of – enjoy being outside.
- Do start setting up at 6am for a 7am start time, in my neighborhood garage sale professional buyers come through early so they can resell my goods at the swap meet later in the day! Hey if you make the amount you want who cares what they do with it after.
- Do leave all parking spaces in front of your home open (if possible) so buyers have easy access.
- Do plan a trip to Goodwill, Salvation Army or local Shelter after the sale so that you don’t have to take anything back into your home. Make sure to check their hours.
- Do ensure that you have at least 2-3 people with you helping on the day of, this makes it easier to keep all your items in clear view without running the risk of being stolen.
- Do ensure you have water, snacks, sunscreen and a hat with you the day of. It will be a long day!
- Don’t set up too late. Your biggest traffic times will be 7am-9am and once again after lunch 12pm-2pm.
- Seriously don’t forget to put on sunscreen. It will be a long day!
- Don’t count your money in front of buyers or make change holding your whole stack of bills. If they see you have made a lot they will try and low ball you.
- Don’t leave anything unattended. Especially when little kids are running around your sale, they tend to find something they like and hold on to it.
- Don’t leave your garage or home open unless you want people wandering around. People assume everything is for sale, including my babies stroller while she was sleeping in it!
In a past life I must have been a street vendor because I can haggle with the best of them when it comes to sales. I can also always spot a sucker! Oh you see that tea set over there that I was going to sell for $5 well for you my good sir its $25! This leads us to my favorite stage in How To Make A Fortune And Have Fun At Your Yard Sale – Negotiation.
Negotiation is Necessary!
- Do have a ton of FUN, pretend you are the store owner and your items are your inventory. If you make the items look appealing people will gravitate towards them.
- Do greet people as they come up to your sale and ask them if there is something specific they are looking for. I once had a 30 something male come to my sale asking for vintage board games – I just happened to have a few, one was Star Wars related. He loved it, he bought all of the games, a few books and a couple of DVD’s because I gave him that extra attention.
- Do start out with the highest price, but stand firm on your lowest price point. If others see you standing firm with another buyer they will know they can’t mess around if they want to buy an item.
- Do find things for people to buy, if you see a woman looking at all jackets go through your pile and find her some matching pants or skirts – offer a bundle deal.
- Do ask people what they think its worth – let’s say you have a DVD player which you are willing to sell for $10, someone shows interest, you ask them what do you think its worth – they say hmmm $15? You just made $5 extra dollars by not naming a price!
- Do a grab bag at the end of your sale. Everything you can fit into this paper bag you can have for $20. You get rid of more items you were just going to donate and you make extra money at the end of your sale.
- Don’t allow people to offer anything under a dollar. Now you have to make change with actual change.
- Don’t start out with a low price because you think the person is more likely to buy it. They might walk away but the person behind them who would have paid a higher price overheard the low one.
- Don’t offer bundle rates unless the person is giving you a fair price, or because in the heat of the moment it sounds like a good deal. One time a woman asked me if she can buy all my towels and sheets. I told her that would be great they are $2 each. She responded with i’ll give you $15 for everything. It sounded good, but I declined her offer and stood firm with my $2. She ended up making the purchase and spent $25 with me instead.
Gosh! I just wrote this whole post in 10 minutes. I’ll exclude the 30 min for editing, SEO tagging and creating my image. You can tell that I am super passionate about Yard Sales. In fact my sister and I are planning one very soon. I seriously can’t wait. Spring truly is the best time of the year.
Leave me a comment and let me know if you have any great yard sale do’s and don’ts.