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Most people want to have a garage sale in order to get rid of stuff and make money.
So have you ever wondered how much money you can make at a garage sale?
Most people can make a over a hundred dollars on a weekend. However, there are many who have made more than that. There are even stories of some sales generating over $1,000 in profit.
In this article, we will give you 20 easy tips for managing your garage sale, so you can make as much money as possible from your event.
1. Make a List and Check it Twice.
You should make a complete list of everything you need to do in order to put on a sale. Everyone’s situation is different, so each event will have its own specific list. If you don’t make a list and continually update it as you get ready for your event, you will probably miss something important.
This is because this list will grow after you start because there will be many things you do not realize you need until you get something else first. For instance, you may not realize you need gas and oil in your mower until you decide you are going to sell it.
The first thing on your list will be your supplies. The most important of these supplies will be your tables.
2. Let’s Get it on the Table.
You will need a lot of tables in order to have a successful garage sale. In fact, if there is only one type of item you will need to borrow, it will probably be tables.
You can get them from family, friends, and neighbors. As long as you promise to return the favor when they have a sale, you should get a good response.
Your most important table will be your checkout table. This table needs to always have someone around it, so money can be received and questions answered. In addition, you’ll probably want a sign for this table.
3. Shelves and Hangers for Organization.
The next important thing will be shelves. They are useful if you have a lot of choices with a particular group of items that you want to display together.
You can use the shelves in your garage or place them outside if you wish. You can even place smaller stacks of shelves on sturdy tables.
If you have lots of nice clothes for sale, you may want to consider using hangers to display them. You will also need clothes racks on which to hang your apparel.
3. Are You Ready to Make That Change?
You can also use an apron or a utility belt if you want to be able to collect money and provide change while you are walking around. You may even want to use a fanny pack if you wish to be fashionable.
Make sure you have enough change for the day. You should have $50 to $60 worth of one dollar bills, about a dozen or so fives, and a few tens. Never accept anything over a twenty. You will also need several rolls of quarters.
4. Pens, Markers, and Signs. Oh My!
When getting ready for your sale, you will need to create signs and price tags. You will also need to keep some type of ledger if there are multiple parties selling merchandise at your event.
The first thing you will need in order to get all of these writing jobs done is magic markers and several pieces of poster board, so you can make a lot of signs. You also have the choice of creating signs by employing professional services. However, these options will cost you money and affect your bottom line.
You can save money by using material from used boxes in your house. Recycling your containers and boxes by using them to create signs will also allow you to clean out some of the unwanted clutter in your home.
You will also need plenty of price stickers and a pen, so you can make price tags to clearly indicate the prices of each seller’s items. You should use different colored stickers and/or markers so that everyone knows exactly which merchandise is being sold by each individual seller.
5. Power to the People
Make sure that your customers have access to some type of power source, so they can test used kitchen appliances and power tools. A single extension cord is usually all you will need. In addition, make sure all of your electrical items are in good working order.
If you have a way for people to try out your powered items, you will have a much better chance of landing the sale. Seeing a power tool or appliance actually working is the strongest selling pitch you have for this kind of merchandise.
6. It’s in the Bag.
Collect all of your old paper and plastic grocery bags and save them for your sale. Your customers should be able to carry multiple items back to their car with ease. Having this convenience may lead to more sales.
You may even want to consider having several empty boxes ready to go if a customer needs something in which to put their merchandise. It may also be a good idea to have some string and masking tape available so that you can satisfy a wider array of packing needs.
7. Organize Your Layout.
Many garage sales are nothing more than a collection of used junk. If you use the layouts of the more popular retail stores as guidelines, you can turn your pile of unwanted things into a dazzling display of merchandise. It’s all in the presentation.
When we shop, we like to go through the stores from right to left. This is why you should get everyone to start on the right so that they will work their way to the left. You will make everyone feel better about their experience at your event.
When you create the layout of your garage sale, make sure similar items are grouped together. Each set of items has its own set of issues that you should consider. Here are some of the more popular ones:
- DVDs and CDs
- Decorative items
- Picture frames
- Vinyl Records
While all of these types of products sell really well, the most popular type of item you will have to focus on (and the one single type of item that will require the greatest amount of display space) is clothing.
8. Creatively Present Your Clothing.
The most important thing to remember with clothes is that you need to present them in elegant ways. By doing this, everyone looking at them will have immediate positive reactions.
You can either hang your garments or fold them neatly and put them on a table or a shelf. Remember that your best sellers are going to be children’s clothes, so get these pieces of merchandise out front so that all of the mothers going through them will be able to view your entire children’s inventory.
In addition, you should realize that the ladies shopping for their kids and spouses might also be shopping for themselves. There may even be a few men shopping for clothes at your sale.
9. Bookmark ‘em Danno.
Hardcover, paperback, and audio books do well at garage sales. However, you need to have them easily accessible, so your customers can leaf through the pages on the items that catch their attention. Don’t just throw a cardboard box full of books on the ground.
You also need to remember that it is hard to get a sticker off of the cover of a book–especially paperbacks. Instead, print out some bookmarks and use a paper cutter to make dozens of them from a few pieces of paper. Now place them in your books and put your prices on them.
10. Name Your Price.
Streamline your payment process by only using increments of 25 cents when pricing your goods. By doing this, you will only need bills and quarters to make change. This pricing system also makes giving change a breeze and keeps the math simple so that most of your calculations can be done mentally.
An even more efficient strategy is pricing your items in increments of dollars. If you choose this method of pricing, you will need no coins at all. This tactic is great if you don’t want to argue over pocket change.
11. The Price is Right.
It is crucial that you know the value of the items you are selling. If you perform research on Amazon, you may find out that some of your merchandise is worth a lot more than you first thought.
Another way to get a good idea of how to price your things is by attending the local events of others. You should also realize that you will probably be safe if you price your merchandise below what your area’s thrift stores usually charge.
12. How Low Can You Go?
Do not sell your merchandise for too low a price. Since everyone loves to make deals, allow yourself some room to do this.
You’ll probably have a better chance of making more money if you do not quibble over low-priced items. Instead, you should cut deals that involve savings if your customers buy more items.
In addition, you should price your merchandise like a store would. Selling things in sets of two or more is often an effective strategy. For instance, let’s say that you have a lot of CDs for sale. You could price them at three for a dollar.
Another effective strategy is to offer a free unit if your customer buys multiple units of the same item. For example, suppose you have lots of paperback romance novels. You could sell them by offering your customers a “buy four and get one free” deal.
Another tactic that works really well is the phrase, “or best offer.” This is an effective sales technique you may want to utilize if there has been no interest on some of your more expensive items that you would like to sell.
A lot of people prefer not to put a price on anything at their garage sales. This is mainly because they do not want to lose customers if the price is a little high. However, most people prefer items that are clearly priced, especially if they need an entry price for haggling.
13. Color Only Sticker Pricing.
Another way to price your merchandise is to mark your items with colored stickers and assigning an amount for each color. Later in the day, you can change the prices without having to change stickers.
For example, you could use a four color system. Items with white stickers are fifty cents, and grey stickers are a dollar. Items with black stickers are three dollars, and red stickers are five dollars or best offer.
You can easily lower your prices as your sale enters its final hours. For instance, you could change white sticker items to a quarter, and grey sticker items to fifty cents. Black stickers would be a dollar, and red stickers would be three bucks or best offer.
14. Half Price Sale.
You can also make sweeping price changes to your inventory by offering everything for half price as your sale comes to a close. This is an easy way to instantly mark down everything no matter what pricing system you have used.
If you are advertising your sale on social media, then you would definitely want to update your posts or create new ones once your half price sale is underway. If you have a Twitter account, you should send out several tweets announcing the fact that your merchandise is now available for half price.
15. Yes, We’ll Take Your Credit Card!
You will need a tablet or a smartphone to take credit cards. You can increase the amount of merchandise sold at your event because debit and credit cards allow people to spend more money.
Suppose a customer finds something that is perfect for their needs and sees that there are many of these items there for exceptionally low prices. They may not have enough cash to buy everything they want.
You can overcome this unfortunate situation if you accept credit and debit cards like any other retail store. Once the customer in our example finds out that the seller will accept their Visa card, they can continue shopping and buy a lot more stuff.
As you can imagine, this type of scenario happens quite often with collectors who are shopping for a narrow range of items. Sometimes they might find a hidden treasure trove of desired goods for pennies on the dollar.
To accept credit cards, use the Square reader, which Square will deliver to you for free. All you have to do is download the app to your phone and swipe. There is a 2.75% charge per swipe. This charge will probably add up to no more than a few dollars for your entire sale.
Many people avoid yard sales because they do not always carry around extra cash. So if you decide to accept credit and debit cards, you need to make sure you include this fact in all of your advertising.
16. Give Away Free Stuff.
Many sellers will offer free things at a garage sale so that their customers will be more comfortable. You can offer free cookies and punch, free iced tea, or even some type of free merchandise.
If you do decide to give away some free things at your event, you should definitely have this fact displayed prominently in all of your advertising. By doing this, you may very well get more interest from people who are looking for something fun to do on their weekend.
Suppose you are coming back home from the mall and see a cool sign for a garage sale giving away free punch and cookies. I don’t know about you, but if I had a little extra time to kill, I might be persuaded to take a quick side trip to this happy neighborhood event.
17. Give Everyone a Chance to Sign In.
Your signs need to look the same. If they don’t look the same, then many people may get lost while they are trying to find your sale, especially if you live in the middle of a residential area with lots of streets that have similar names.
You should have something (a catch phrase, a neat color, or a clever design) that distinguishes your sale from the other sales in your part of town.
For example, you could say that you are having a “super-duper garage sale” and create your signs on pieces of lime green poster board. In addition, you could place a Superman symbol somewhere on each one of your signs so that they have a symbolic type of identification.
By doing this, all of the people who don’t know your neighborhood can more easily follow your colored signs with arrows and a neat symbol.
For example, if someone sees a sign for another garage sale, they won’t be confused because it is not the “super-duper” garage sale on lime green poster board. The Superman logo would help cut across language barriers and allow your signs to be identified by individuals who have trouble reading English.
18. So What’s Your Sign and What Does it Say?
The first thing your sign needs is a description of your event. It can say, “Yard Sale,” “Garage Sale,” “Estate Sale,” or whatever is most appropriate for your situation.
Next, you need to put your address in large capital letters that are easy to read and then draw an arrow pointing in the correct direction.
Finally, be a good neighbor and remove your signs after your event.
19. Did You See the Signs?
Your signs need to be placed at crucial areas that a lot of people might have trouble finding. Usually, this begins on a busy thoroughfare where your customers need to turn so that they can go into your neighborhood. There are usually two or more of these critical locations for most residential areas.
Next, you need to put signs where turns are necessary. Make sure you have an easy to follow path from the popular heavy traffic areas to your more obscure neck of the woods.
You also need to be familiar with any local laws and city ordinances involving signs for garage sales.
20. Advertise Locally and Online.
Local advertising with flyers as well as an ad in the local paper are extremely important. They will probably be responsible for generating the largest amount of traffic for your event.
Make sure you place your flyers in places where this sort of activity is allowed. Do not just place them anywhere.
There are many great places where your flyers will be welcome, like community bulletin boards at your public library or various businesses around town. Stick to these safe locations.
Also, you must definitely advertise your event in your local paper. In fact, many newspapers offer this type of advertisement as a free service for the community.
When it comes to advertising online, there are two places where you should definitely advertise: Facebook and Craigslist. If you want your online advertising to be more effective, you should include a lot of high quality images featuring your most highly desired items.
Garage sales can be a lot of fun and produce a lot of money for you and your family. As long as you plan everything correctly, you can earn cash and spend lots of quality time with your friends and loved ones.
All of the best garage sales are win-win situations where everyone comes out ahead. Your customers get to buy things for bargain basement prices, and you get to make a little cash and clean out your home.
So follow these easy tips so that everyone is happy and comes out a winner.