Whether you’re moving into a new home or simply purging your closets, a yard sale can be a great way to make some extra cash while de-cluttering your living space. There’s a right way to do everything, and that especially holds true when it comes to hosting a successful yard sale. It doesn’t matter if you have 50-cent items or 50-dollar items; simply throwing your stuff out on the lawn is NOT the best way to maximize your money-making opportunity. The key to boosting your profit is through clever marketing and thoughtful merchandising.
- Timing is EVERYTHING – Pick the best date and time
While Saturdays can be ideal for sales, don’t underestimate a Friday late afternoon sale (especially in the summer months with daylight savings) or Sunday afternoon from 2-6 p.m. If you have the chops to pull off a back-to-back sale, consider a Friday/Saturday sale or Saturday/Sunday sale. With regards to time, make sure you state starting and stopping times clearly in your garage sale advertising. If not, shoppers may try to sneak in early and linger later than you would prefer. Another tip for timing is to start your sale at minute mark 45 of the hour. This small 15-minute jump-start can put you first on the list of shoppers as they plan their route. When selecting dates, keep the pay dates of the 15th and 30th in mind!
- Location is UBER important – Easy-to-access sales attract more shoppers and buyers
If your home is not located in an easy-to-access area or neighborhood, you might consider teaming up with a friend or family member who has a better spot in order to stack the deck in your favor. If you decide to combine sales with a friend or family member, make sure to market your sale as a multi-family sale, as shoppers will go out of their way to find these garage sales first as they plan their shopping.
- Strategic signs create big traffic – Map out the markers for popular routes and traffic flow
Make sure your signs are simple, easy-to-read and BIG. Signage can make or break a sale. If signs are placed in the wrong place or if there’s too much wording, a potential shopper may pass by your sale. Consider placing your signs out the afternoon before the sale so that drive-by traffic can plan better. When placing your sign, be mindful of the flow of traffic, especially if your location is opposite of that direction. This strategy can really boost traffic when executed properly. Add balloons to your signage on the morning of the event for extra pop!
- Digital and social media marketing – Go big or go home
Putting on a garage sale in 2018 is not like it was in 2008. Facebook groups have opened a whole new opportunity for getting the word out to the masses. For example, for residents in Tallahassee, Florida, there’s Tallahassee Online Yardsale (65,000+ members), Tallahassee Quick Sale (23,000+ members), Craigslist of FSU/Tally (37,000+ members), along with several others. Long gone are the days of sending your ad to the local newspaper. Now, you can be your own digital publisher. Make sure to post your sale on these popular social media platforms to maximize your reach and drive traffic to your garage sale.
- Don’t scramble – Plan ahead for success
One of the biggest mistakes is to shove everything in the garage the night before the sale. Not only will that stress you out the morning of the sale, but it is a surefire way to set yourself up for failure. Ideally, you should plan at least three weeks in advance of the target sale date. Instead of shoving items in the garage the night before the sale, organize your garage and group your items by bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc.
- The price is right – Use the 50-30-10 rule
If something is brand new with tags still on it, price it at 50% off the retail price. If the item is slightly used then market it 30% of its original price. For used items, price at 10% of the original retail price. If you have items like books, CDs and old games, price them at “Buy 1, Get 1 Free.” Look for other pricing packages to encourage bulk sales so that you have less to haul off to the dump while avoiding lost sales opportunities.
- Staging for success – Borrow folding tables or utilize stacked boxes and shelving
Laying your items for sale out on the driveway or the grass is NOT the best option to pull in profit from your garage sale. If you use one of your own tables (or a friend’s table), make sure to label it “Not for Sale.” Items that are located within arm’s reach are more likely to be considered than items that are on the ground. You know what sells on the ground? Nothing. Table displays create great curb appeal and increase drive-by traffic. Extra tip: Twin fitted sheets make great table covers for six-foot tables!
- Wipe down before you mark up – Clean goods sell faster
The trick with sprucing up your merchandise is to make sure you remove major stains, odd smells or dusty surfaces. However, make sure to budget your time; you shouldn’t spend too much time cleaning one item.
- Keep small valuables close to checkout table – Don’t risk a big loss on a small thing
If you plan on selling jewelry or real silver, make sure to keep those items on display near the checkout area so you can keep an eye on them. Shoppers are less likely to be tempted to take advantage of you if you have taken these smart steps in displaying your valuables. Extra tip: Muffin tins make great jewelry holders.
- Hang, fold and reorganize – Manage the garage sale merchandise throughout the sale
Hanging newer items or longer clothing items can make for easier browsing. Neatly folded and labeled children’s clothing by age range or sizes can also improve a shopper’s experience, which means more sales. As the sale goes on, make sure to shuffle and reorganize the display tables. You want each shopper to feel like you just opened up the sale, not that all the good buys have been snatched up!
- Power up for electronics – Make sure you have a power cord ready
If you have electronic items to sell, be ready with a power cord so shoppers can test the items. If you know an item doesn’t work, don’t try to sell it.
- Don’t miss out on small sales – Get cash to make change
Missing out on small sales because you don’t have change can really add up. Do don’t get caught without ones, fives, tens and quarters.
- Time for coffee or cookies? – Add refreshments for extra revenue opportunity
If you have kids in elementary or middle school, this is a great opportunity to teach them about earning money and the basics of good customer service. Offer a cup of coffee and a cookie for $1.
- Be friendly and have fun – Happy selling!
Don’t forget a smile goes a long way in creating a positive shopping experience. So put on a happy face, turn on your favorite music and have fun!