General Question

Daethian's avatar

What are your tips and tricks for making good money from a yard sale?

Asked by Daethian (334points) June 13th, 2009

I’m having a 6 family yard sale with a huge assortment of good stuff. I don’t want this to be a waste of time and effort. I am a yard sale junkie so I know what my pet peeves are and what kind of stuff I look for but that’s not enough.

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8 Answers

whatthefluther's avatar

Unless your prepared to hear “I’ll give you a buck” on every one of your items, mark the higher value items with an amount that you will be comfortable reducing during negotiation.

Ivan's avatar

Yeah, pick a price for each item that you would reasonably sell it at. Then mark up the price significantly. Some people will just buy it at the higher price, but most people will try to haggle you. At least this way, you can still sell the item at a decent price and the customer feels like he/she got a deal.

Darwin's avatar

Give the start time of 7 am but actually be ready at 6 am for the irritating professionals.

If the professionals are low balling too much offer them a time when they can come back and make a low offer (so you can get the rest of the stuff out of there).

Make sure to have plenty of change. Price in round numbers (and price about 2 times what you actually want) so it is easy to accept half and so it is easy to do the math.

Make sure you advertise in the newspaper (yes, some people still read it) as well as online, and make clear, legible road signs.

If need be, get some of the families to supply folks to help bag, carry, and direct parking and traffic.

Offer bottled water and/cold sodas at a reasonable price so browsers can perk up before looking through the stuff.

Set aside a really cheap section – sometimes folks are hesitant to pick through everything until they have that first item clutched to their chest and the cheapos are a good place to start.

Sort like with like to make it easier for people looking for specific things.

Have at least one handy extension cord so folks can see if electric stuff works.

Check out this site for ideas.

Ivan's avatar

About the signs. Make them very large, clear, and colorful. If I see your sign from a few hundred feet away, I should know for sure that it’s a yard sale sign just by looking at it. Usually a very bright orange or green sign will do the trick. If you’re going to put signs relatively far away from the house as to catch people’s attention on a main road, make the address very clear. If people have to stop in the middle of the road to see where your sale is, they won’t come.

If you are only having a sale to get rid of your incredible amount of baby clothes that your child has grown out of, please don’t have the sale. My biggest pet peave with garage sales are the people who think that putting out 3 large tables of baby clothes counts as a “yard sale.” Make sure you have a relatively diverse amount of stuff that will interest all sorts of different people. Having a clothes section, an electronics section, a tools section, and a section for everything else will really help your sales.

Make sure you have a relatively large area for people to park, and make it clear where people are supposed to park. Countless times I have seen people pull into driveways with a sale, then just leave because they didn’t know where to park.

Also, if you’re going to have some stuff inside and some stuff outside. Put your best, most attractive stuff out near the road. Many people do a slow drive-by to see if there’s anything they might be interested in. If it just looks like crap and baby clothes, most people don’t even stop.

I’ll think of more.

dalepetrie's avatar

Rule of thumb I’ve always heard is 10% of the new value. For example, A DVD that costs $25 retail, well yes, a used DVD store might get $10 for it, you would probably want to mark it at $4 (what pawn shops sell it for), and be willing to take $2 to $3 on average if someone offers you less. People at a garage sale are risking if them item could have some damage they don’t know about, they can’t really return it if they’re not happy with it, and they are out looking for real dirt cheap bargains…it’s the last place you can even get them these days. Bottom line, don’t overprice…if you’re not willing to get rid of it for 10 cents on the dollar give or take (unless it’s a collectable of course, but those don’t tend to do too well at garage sales either, unless the buyer knows what he’s doing and the seller does not), then don’t put it out there.

If you have large collections of things, like books, what you might want to do is advertise a start time a 1/2 hour to an hour before you go out there, because people will be scoping it out, and collectors will come by and probably take a bunch of stuff off your hands right away before the masses have at it…doesn’t always happen, but it’s worth the risk.

And be prepared to know that no matter how much stuff you sell, no mater how much money you make, you are going to end up with a lot of stuff that wasn’t sold which you are either going to have to store of give away…this is always my least favorite part.

Put the most eye catching and unusual items up front, it will draw people in. But be careful, just because it’s a big ticket item, that doesn’t make it eye catching. Colorful is perhaps more of a draw than valuable to people driving down the street, if it looks like a bunch of old junk and a ton of clothes, no one will stop…you need to have variety and it needs to be visible.

And be prepared, the things you think won’t sell are the things that will go right away, and the things you think people will fight over, no one will want…people are weird. And you will end up at the end of the day realizing that your hourly wage wasn’t all that great, but if you get rid of a sizable chunk of stuff and end up with a handful of extra (but certainly not a spectacular sum of) cash.

CMaz's avatar

What ever you decide to do. Your goal besides making a few dollars is to get rid of everything. There comes a time in the day you want to dump it all. Or you will find yourself loading everything that is left into the truck and humping it to goodwill.
Haggle in the beginning, don’t give it it away. But be prepared to let what is left go, with a no offer will be refused.
Example: I have had people that wont buy what they are looking at for the price I am asking. But throw in a bunch of other stuff that is not selling and they will buy it.

miasmom's avatar

Tables, I find people look at junk on tables more than the ground, so if you can borrow some folding tables, great.

We also put a broom between two ladders and hang clothes on it, we sell lots more that way.

And cheap, our last yard sale we sold almost everything small for a buck or so and we netted $400.

Daethian's avatar

Really I should mark stuff up? I can’t wrap my mind around that. WHen
I go to a yard sale and stuff is priced to high, I just leave. It
has to be an item that I really, really want in order for me to even
haggle. Most people are going to take their left overs to Goodwill or something so
it annoys me that they want $7.00 for a baby outfit. What’s better $1 or NOTHING!? Personally
if the prices are cheap I’m likely to buy more. But again I don’t like to haggle so maybe I’m not the best judge on this topic.

I totally agree about sorting and hanging things up. I hate to dig
through piles of crap in boxes and on tables and really won’t do it unless I’m bored.

I didn’t think about the cheap section, bottles of water or extension cord!
Placing the good stuff by the road is genius! I am the queen of yard sale
drive bys and that never occured to me!!
Those are great tips.

Learned my lesson about too small signs with our first sale so I’m
planning big, bright, clear signs.

I feel the same way about baby clothes!! LMAO We will have some but
far more non clothing items. My mom loves to go to auctions and
flea markets so we have alot of antiques, collections and tons of vintage
jewelry. Plus electronics,books, motorcycle parts, pet supplies, vintage china, storm door,
coroplast and mdf. Very few clothes overall though.

Because my mom plans to frequent some flea markets, we won’t be dumping/throwing out stuff that doesn’t sell.
I have half of her vintage jewelry on Artfire. But we have enough people to put together a large
yard sale so it seems like a good idea so long as we make the most out of it!

Great answers everyone!

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