Garage Sale Success
Who doesn’t want to make some extra cash, especially right now amid a COVID-19 pandemic and a downturn in the economy? A garage sale offers the perfect opportunity to get rid of stuff you no longer need or have room for, and make some extra money in the process.
You might think your unwanted items might not fetch much, but garage sales can be quite lucrative. What is undesirable to you could be highly coveted to someone else, whether it is furniture, kitchenware or a lawnmower.
But garage sales do take work to prepare for, organize and advertise. Fortunately, here in the Tri-Cities, we experience close to 200 days a year of sunshine, so, in most cases, the weather should not be an obstacle to pulling off a successful garage sale. Now that we are on the cusp of summer weather, what better timing could we ask for to hold a garage sale.
If you are a novice or new to garage sales, you could be overwhelmed with all the details and not be sure where to start. What can you do to ensure success? What is the best presentation for your garage sale items? How do you go about setting prices for your personal items that you want to sell?
Here are some general tips and recommendations, along with some practical advice, that will equip you with the knowledge you need to unload belongings or furniture you no longer need and make good money doing it.
Tips to Run a Successful Garage Sale
It’s All About Preparation
As with most endeavors in life, preparation is key. Here are some ways you can get organized for your community garage sale:
- Publicize your garage sale as much as possible, and include advertising online.
- Post signs and fliers in the neighborhood at least one week before the garage sale.
- Choose an alternate rain date and advertise that other date, just to be safe in case of inclement weather.
- Complete all item tagging and organizing the night before your garage sale.
- Have available a sheltered or shady area with plenty of free water for garage sale patrons, especially during one of our not-so-uncommon heat waves in the Tri-Cities.
Do some reconnaissance by scouting other nearby garage sales to see what might work for your garage sale. This should give you some practical ideas on how to run your own profitable sale.
Encourage Family and Friends to Participate
Having loved ones and friends help you could make your garage sale less intimidating and easier to manage.
Advantages of more people running a garage sale includes:
- You can sell more items when there are more people involved.
- You will broaden your ability to distribute flyers and help with event setup.
- You have other people to cover for you, relieving some pressure from you of constantly being available to answer questions or do sales transactions.
- Extra help with crowd control.
- Friends and family members can do co-sales of refreshments and treats during the garage sale.
Think About a Multi-Family Sale
When you promote your garage sale as a “community yard sale” or “neighborhood garage sale,” or a “multi-family sale” you are likely to draw more people. Why? Because people will surmise that there will be more items to choose from and a more diverse selection of goods.
Ask neighbors if they would like to participate, especially when it comes to planning or implementation of the garage sale.
Choose the Right Location
Just like in real estate, location matters. And that goes for a garage sale too. A good location has everything to do with having a profitable garage sale. Make sure to have available plenty of parking, and adequate space for all the items that are for sale.
Offer Clear Signage and Advertise Your Garage Sale
Get the word out about where and when your garage sale is taking place. Your signage should be clearly visible from passersby in their cars.
You can also advertise your garage sale on online platforms such as Craig’s List or a social media venue like Facebook, as well as other free publicity sites. Make sure to utilize social media – Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to name a few – to promote your event at least a couple of weeks ahead of the garage sale.
You also want to include eye-catching photos of some of your wares to entice people to attend your sale.
Have a Two-Day Garage Sale
Although garage sales are often held on Saturday mornings, garage sale afficionados know that Friday tends to be the most popular day for yard sales. You enjoy twice as many potential customers at your sale by having your community event on Friday and Saturday. Think about it. All of your preparation and set up could result in twice the rewards by utilizing both days.
Establish Appropriate Prices
While we all love good bargains, you also have to make sure you will make enough money to make the event set up and preparation worth your time. Be fair and reasonable, as well as customer friendly, when establishing your price list.
Strive to sell items for 10 percent to 50 percent less than what you paid originally or base the price on current market value.
You can bundle items to offer really good deals. People enjoy buying in bulk, which is why Costco is so popular among shoppers.
Be sure the price tags on all of your garage sale items are clearly visible and accurate. You also will want to set prices at whole dollars in case people don’t have change readily available.
You might consider setting aside a “free” box available for stuff you want to simply get rid of.
Be Willing to Bargain with Customers
Be flexible when it comes to bargaining with people at your garage sale. It is important, however, to know what price you are not willing to go below in order to make a profit.
If it is getting later during your garage sale, entice people to buy your wares by crossing out prices and putting up a sign that reads, “50 percent off,” and let people know you are willing to accept the best offers. However, never feel pressured to accept any offer. Do some research ahead of time so you are well acquainted with what the fair market value is of your items.
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