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Bank holiday car boot sale: how to make as much money as possible

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

Two regular car boot attendees reveal some tricks of the trade.

One of the best ways to generate some extra cash from your unwanted bits and pieces is to head to a car boot sale.

But before you pack up your old books, CDs and clothes and set off to your nearest muddy field, you should know there’s an art to car booting.

It’s not just about nabbing the best spot and displaying your items in an appealing way – although both of these will obviously help.

There are some essential tips to follow if you want to make as much money as possible.

Setting up

The first piece of advice is to arrive early so you don’t miss the real bargain hunters.

“People will descend as soon as you pull up to try and grab the best bargains. Be prepared for this as it can get a bit chaotic,” says Kayleigh Hughes, a money-saving blogger for PromotionalCodes.org.uk, who holds a car boot sale every fortnight.

And early means early. Many car boot sales will let you in to set up from 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning, so it’s worth getting organised and packing up your car the night before.

Another tip is to make friends with the organisers so they can save you a good pitch.

Gemma Breger, a blogger and stylist from ThisIsMothership.com, who once made an impressive £650 in one morning at a car boot sale, says: “When the person comes round to collect money from you for the pitch, chat to them and try to build a relationship with them if you know you will be doing them often. Get their phone number if possible, then text them the day before and ask if they can hold you a good space.”


You may think you need to carefully price each individual item but the car boot sale pros say this isn’t the case. Breger says she has a rough idea in her head what she wants each item to go for, but never prices anything with labels.

Hughes believes price tags can actually put buyers off. “If someone is interested in an item they will ask how much and nine times out of ten they will haggle,” she says.

Both bloggers say haggling is key to your car boot selling success.

“Haggle with everyone, buyers and sellers. Don’t ever accept the first price someone offers you,” says Breger.

But be realistic. People who go to car boot sales are bargain hunters at the end of the day and you don’t want to be lugging your unwanted items back home with you. Having said that, if you really think an item is worth more than what’s being offered, don’t be afraid to say no.

“Act cool,” says Breger. “If someone offers you a really low price for something then act like you aren’t bothered to sell it so they realise that you won’t just give it away.”

And finally…

A final tip is to come prepared. As well as the obligatory box of change and folding chairs, bring food with you so you don’t eat into your profits.

“There will always be burger vans and doughnut stalls at car boot sales and when you’re standing around all day these can be very tempting,” says Hughes. “Don’t do it as you will end up spending your profit.”