The weather is warming up and there are two bank holiday weekends looming – that means garage sale season is approaching.
If, like many of us right now, you’re struggling with the cost of living, a flea market could be the perfect place to pick up essential items for the home, garden or business. Items that can cost hundreds of dollars on the high street can often set you back a few pounds from the trunk of the car.
But while bargains and treasures can be found hidden among car trunks, there’s also a danger that you’ll walk away with something faulty, useless or useless.
To make sure that’s not the outcome for you, Andrea Knowles, personal finance expert at bon.co.uk shared her top tips for getting a bargain out of a car trunk.
Bring plenty of change to give you extra kudos
As with most things in life, preparation is key. And when it comes to garage sales, cash is king, especially coins.
While you should bring tickets for potential big purchases, coins are more advantageous for two reasons.
First, they allow you to get a better deal. While a seller might offer you something for £10, if you have “only” £6 in coins you’re more likely to get it at that price as it seems like a fair compromise.
Second, vendors often run out of change because customers bring larger bills and therefore require change. If you try to buy something from this seller in the future, unfortunately, they may have to decline your purchase just because they can’t give you change.
Always take a tape measure
Unfortunately, once you purchase an item from a car trunk, it’s a done deal and cannot be refunded. With this in mind, you should always carry a tape measure with you, especially if you are planning to buy furniture.
If you are looking for a specific item, be sure to measure the dimensions of the space you would place furniture in before you go.
Bring a backpack to search hands-free
Now that stores charge for carrier bags, it’s understandable that car trunk sellers don’t provide free carrier bags for purchased items because it might cost them. For example, if they had 20 shoppers in one day and gave each of them a 20p carrier bag for free, that’s a loss of £4.
Bringing your own, or even a backpack, will not only save them money, but it will also save you from having to do the awkward thing of carrying items in your hands and then those items being confused by another seller with one of their items.
Always arrive before opening time
Although the entry fee to a car flea market gets cheaper as the day progresses, you should still arrive and queue before the “doors” open if you want to get the best bargains.
Although it may cost you £2 or £3 more than if you had entered three hours later, the best earning items will have been purchased by then, which will cost you more if your priority is to buy items for profit.
Know which sellers are willing to barter and which are not
Many car trunk sellers fall into two categories: regular sellers who return weekly and family sellers who have cleared out their homes. These family sellers are the people you should be targeting if you want the best deals.
This is because they are only likely to be there for a single day and therefore are more likely to have higher quality items, unlike regular booters who may bring the same items every week.
Plus, they’ll probably want to get rid of everything by the end of the day, so they’ll probably be fair in their approach to haggling, as you should be too. Always play fair with your words and “pay” fairly with your pocket.
Never buy Lego or electronics from a car trunk
Never buy anything that can’t be tested in the trunk of the car, such as an electronic product that needs to be plugged in or a LEGO set. While the seller will naturally tell you that the electronic item is working, or that the full LEGO set is there, you won’t know the real answer until you get home and then it’s too late to do anything.
Consider coming back later today for a second round of great deals
While this tip isn’t for everyone, another peak time to visit a car boot sale for a profit is nearing the end. As the seller’s sales momentum will have slowed, he may be more open to lower offers than he was earlier in the morning, especially if he’s not a car regular. and that he wants to get rid of everything before going home.