I still consider myself a newbie to yard sales. While I earned approximately $600.00 in three yard sales my first year, I realize that I could have earned much more.
In researching how to make more money from a yard sale, I found that organization reigns supreme. Organization encompasses the manner in which items are displayed and arranged, the labeling of items by size/gender, as well as, ensuring each item is priced. I urge you to take the time to clean, press, fold, separate and price each item.
Create a checklist of everything that needs to be done from start to finish. The checklist will keep you on task. Planning is ideal for a stress free yard sale experience.
Don’t forget to watch the weather. The forecast can make or break your yard sale plans. There are times when there may be a chance for rain and it doesn’t rain. I suggest that you set-up early and prepare to pull your items back into the garage, in the event that it does in fact rain. If you plan to host yard sales frequently, you might consider investing in a canopy to cover your driveway. This way, rain or shine you can still make money.
Patrons are more opt not to stop by your sale in the rain. However, for the few that decide to venture out into the elements, you will be there and ready to make a deal.
Don’t give your items away! Price them to sell and Profit!
You work hard to provide clothing and shoes for your family, so don’t sell yourself short just to clean out your closets. While others are stopping by your yard sale with the hope of snagging bargains, you are, after all, hosting a yard sale to make money.
If you prefer to give your items away, contact a local charity to arrange for them to pick the items up. Otherwise, price your items at 1/3 of the retail cost or less.
The pricing strategy for kid’s items that has worked best for me is to charge $0.50-$1.00 for shirts, $1.00-3.00 for dresses (more for special occasion dresses) and $2.00-5.00 for shoes. Toys are priced at $1.00-2.00 each.
Items that are worth more can sell for more. I recommend advertising those items on Craigslist and arranging for the buyer to come during the sale. This will provide some level of security as there will be others present at the time of the transaction.
Market! Market! Market!
Don’t forget to advertise your sale. I had the misfortune of missing money during my last yard sale. I rationalized that people are out at 7:00am looking for yard sales and I did not need to put signs up. My mother insisted that I do put a sign up. After seeing very little traffic, I took my mothers advice and put a sign up. Soon after, cars began turning into my subdivision and I made approximately $150.00 in three hours.
You should also consider creating fliers and posting advertisements on Craigslist and other forums.
Most newspapers also offer free advertisements for yard sales. Check with your local newspaper publisher for details.
Be sure to get enough change the day before. $150.00 in change should be adequate. Decide what you are going to use to hold your change. I prefer to use a purse that can be looped across the shoulder and then under my arm. This way I’m not concerned about watching the cash box all day.
There is nothing that bothers me more than early birds. They begin picking through your items before you are ready to go. Friends and family can help manage the crowds and hold the stampede off until you are set-up.
Early birds pose a distraction. They intrude into your personal space and seldom ask if they can begin looking through the items before you are ready. This tactic is generally used to get the best deals particularly when you are distracted. I kindly ask them to wait a few moments, advise them of what time the sale begins and continue setting up. You should also state in your ad, No Early Birds.
Another way to beat early birds to the punch is to already have items such as clothing, shoes and games already set up on tables inside your garage. Doing so will allow you to simply bring the table out already set up and will lessen preparation time the morning of the sale. This will also provide time to bring out additional tables with fragile or heavier items. Items that were advertised in the yard sale listing should be placed up front.
Your items do not have to be in pristine condition to sell. However, they should be showcased in a way shoppers can envision themselves wearing the items. A few things you might consider doing is draping the tables with bright colored table cloths. You can generally find plastic table cloths at the dollar store.
Hang as many items as you can. Arrange all hanged and folded items by size. It is also recommended that you place signage to indicate the size on tables. You might also consider doing so for hanged items as well.
Fragile and valuable items should be kept near you. You should avoid selling items of significant value at yard sales. These items should be taken to a pawn shop or sold online for even greater profits.
Place mirrors in clothing and show section so that people can view themselves when try items on. This method is sure to boost sales.
Returns and Exchanges
I had the unfortunate experience of having a customer return because an item, according to him, did not work. Afterwards, I came to the conclusion that the customer did not know how to use the item he purchased.
To avoid the same experience, test all items before the sale. Please batteries in anything you are asking more than a few dollars for. You should also be familiar with the operation of items beforehand. This will enable you to sell your items, reassures customers that the items work and how to operate them.
Post a sign which indicates, “All sales final. All items sold as is. No refunds or exchanges.” Doing so will free you of any issues with patrons regarding returning or exchanging merchandise.
Ready, Set, Go!
The night before your sale, ensure that you get a good nights rest. I recommend that you plan at least two weeks in advance. This will allow you to prepare at a pace that is not hurried. You can then relax on the day of the sale and think clearly when you are making deals.
Be sure to tell your family and friends about the yard sale and ask for someone to help you on the day of the sale. You should never host a yard sale alone. Always put safety first when you are dealing with passersby.
I hope that you have a successful yard sale! Please leave your comments or e-mail me about your experience.