Having a garage sale is no small task. It’s going to take up a lot of time and require plenty of hard work. With that much time and effort invested, it’s important that you take all the proper steps to ensure you maximize your profits. With a business mindset and a focus on executing the 4 P’s – Product, Price, Promotion and Place – anyone can put on a successful garage sale.
When you’re considering which of your items to sell, make sure the selection you’re choosing is something people will want to buy. If it’s clothing, make sure there are no large holes or stains that won’t come out. If you do have clothes with holes, cut them up into squares and sell them as a bag of cloths. If you have broken electronics lying around the house, don’t be quick to rule them out. There’s a large market for broken electronics, so you could make money on them rather than sending them to recycling.
If you’re looking to sell any furniture, whether it’s as big as a couch or just a lawn chair, try to fix them up. There are many DIY tricks that can make old, rundown items look better. A new coat of paint, a cloth cover or even just adding more cotton to the cushions could increase the value of these products.
A common goal for sales should be to sell new items at 50% of the retail price, slightly used items at 30% of retail and used items at 10% of retail. However, these percentages are your selling goals, not your list price. List items at prices slightly higher than these percentages so that when you have a customer looking to bargain, you can lower the price to satisfy them while still hitting your target.
Another pricing technique you can use is bundling. Having options such as one for $3, two for $5 and five for $10 on smaller items will help you sell them faster.
Aim to use prices that correlate to common cash denominations. Stick with prices that end in a five or zero so that clients aren’t shuffling through singles or trying to find the proper change. Don’t add cents to prices – round up or down to a whole-dollar amount. This will make it easier and more convenient for customers who carry cash.
It is important to have electronic payment options available as well. You can get a credit card reader that attaches to your phone for as little as $5. Also look into setting up a bank transfer account on an app such as Venmo. These convenient payment options will make it easier for the customer and also for yourself because you won’t need as much cash on hand.
With access to the internet, promoting a garage sale can be cost-free. Before the internet, you would have to put an ad in the newspaper and hang fliers to get maximum exposure. Now you have many different platforms you can utilize for promotions.
Go on Craigslist and post to the events listing page. On Facebook, there are often groups for garage sales in your area. If not, you can create an event and invite all of your Facebook friends. There’s also Instagram, Twitter and so on that you can utilize.
If there’s a designated garage sale weekend in your city, they’ll likely have a sign-up sheet available when you go in to get your permits. If you give them your name and address, they’ll add your house to a map given out to the community.
The last form of promotion is probably the most generic, but it’s effective. Garage sale signs put up on main roads near your home are a great way to draw traffic in. Make sure they’re eye-catching (red or green) and legible. Your address should be clearly written, and the dates and times should be included underneath as well.
Convenience is one of the most important concepts in buyers’ decision-making process. They look for sales that are easily accessible, such as ones that are on their way to somewhere else or close to home. If you aren’t in a high-traffic part of the city, your house may not be the best location. Shoot for corner locations or locations on a street that connects with a main road. If you have a family member or friend who lives in an ideal location, see if they would be willing to let you use their lot.
Be sure your items are displayed well, wherever you set up. In an article published on Houzz.com, Laura Gaskill suggests that hosts forgo the classic garage sale setup, where items are displayed on blankets or in cardboard boxes, and get more creative. Beautify the yard with flowers, and hang lights around the area. Display the merchandise in old wooden wine crates or on folding card tables. A nice display will give passersby a reason to stop.
Be sure to look into local government restrictions and permits before choosing your location, and make sure you have permission to use whatever spot you pick.
Garage sales take a lot of planning and coordination to execute. Try and get at least a few days off work before the sale so that you can properly prepare. Trying to finish setting up as customers begin arriving is stressful at best.
Do you have any best practices for maximizing your garage sale profits? Let us know in the comments below!
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