It’s garage sale time. Whether this is your first time having a garage sale or you just need a quick refresher on the subject, there are many important and helpful tips that can turn your garage sale into a smooth sailing success vs. a stressful and disappointing flop. Having worked in the Estate Sale business (glorified garage sales), I’d like to pass on a few helpful Garage Sale tips.
Get a permit. First, call the city and find out if it is necessary to get a permit for your sale. If so, get one.
Weather. If you are going to choose a date far enough in advance, you need to think about what you will do if it storms. Will you be able to move everything in the garage or have some tents on hand just in case? Depending on the severity of the weather, you might need to reschedule. However, if it's just rain and a passing storm, people will still come. Just make a plan ahead of time.
Security. For security reasons, I never suggest bringing the garage sale indoors unless you are selling everything then it is an Estate Sale. Just like with retail shops, shoplifters and thieves exist even at garage sales. So have a few friends and or family patrol the sale and someone to stay with the person collecting money at all times. Also, always keep your home windows shut and your doors locked.
Money. When it comes to money, get a cheap cash register/cash box. Office Depot sells them as low as $20.00. I find sales are the easiest when you only take dollar bills, no cents. I suggest starting the sale with $200 dollars. 5 twenty dollar bills, 5 ten dollar bills, 5 five dollar bills and 25 one dollar bills.
Accepting funds other than cash also brings in more revenue. Taking checks for $100 and less usually works well as long as you write their phone and driver’s license number on the check. Accepting credit and debit cards via Square is also a great option. Try not to leave more than $200 dollars in the cash register at all times. Every few hours, without attracting attention, take the excess money inside and lock it up.
What to sell. Shoppers like a wide-variety to choose from. So look through every closet, box, and room. Quantity matters. If you don’t have enough for a sale, invite friends or neighbors to join. If you are debating whether to try to sell it or throw it away, put a low price on it. People will buy almost anything.
Take inventory. Write down each item you are selling and its price on a master list and make several copies.
Pricing. Use small stickers and individually price everything. Do research on your more valuable possessions. For helpful pricing tips, check out The Ultimate Garage Sale Pricing Guide. Ultimately, it’s your sale, and the pricing is up to you. If people aren't buying, then your prices are too high.
Promote your sale. Put the sale time, date, and the highlights/specifics of what you are selling in the classified ads of your local and surrounding newspapers. Get creative with headlines. Run the ad on days that make sense. For instance, before the sale and on the day of the sale. Having a 2 or 3 day sale is better because it gives you more time to sell your stuff. Click here for helpful tips and suggestions on how and where to advertise a garage sale.
Signs. Make several signs to direct people to your sale. If possible, place one sign at a high traffic corner and scatter the rest directing people to your sale. Also, make signs for deals (50% OFF EVERYTHING) during the sale. People love a good deal.
Negotiate. Many people go to sales and want to negotiate so let them.
Set Up. If you don’t have tables to display items on and don’t want to buy any, find every table and shelf available inside your home and bring it to the garage. Clean off your garage shelving units and repurpose things around the house that could work in place of tables/displays. 10 Ingenious ways to have a yard sale without tables has some great repurposing ideas. Top Shelf Garage's shelving is great for sales because you can easily turn a 4-Shelf into 4 tables.
Clean and organize. Things sell better when they are clean and organized. So clean your sale items and the tables/shelving you are putting them on. Also, clean up your garage and yard. I’ve learned you can even raise the price a little and sell more when everything looks clean and organized.
Be In Charge, Professional, Friendly & Helpful. You are going to need more than one person to run the sale. However, the person having the sale needs to be in charge. Delegate responsibilities and let all of your volunteers know what is required of them. It's always best to keep it professional. People tend to spend more when the people working the sale are doing their job, friendly and helpful as opposed to goofing around, talking on their cell phones, ignoring customers, and chomping their gum. Act like it's a job. Welcome people to the sale, explain what is going on, and what the deals are. Having a volunteer to help people carry large and multiple items to their vehicle is nice and may cause them to buy even more.
Have Fun. Enjoy yourself. Smile and be happy. Ask people how they are doing and thank them for coming to your sale.
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