Thursday, April 11, 2013

10 Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

When I asked my neighbor if she wanted to join me in having a garage sale, she grimaced and said "Oh, no...that sounds like a lot of work for not nearly enough money".  I was surprised at first, then I realized, that having a successful garage or yard sale is something of an art form. 

10 Things You Should Do for A Successful Garage/Yard Sale:

1. Check local ordinances a few days ahead of time. Some areas may require a permit and have a limit on how many garage sales a household is allowed to have per year. Nothing puts a damper on a sale like having the cops stop by and write you a ticket! 

2. Advertise online for free! I run ads on my local Craigslist, on Free-cycle (you must be offering something free to do so  - see #4) or on several free online websites. For a full list, check out : Advertise Your Yard Sale / Garage Sale Online Free

3. Ask neighbors to get in on the fun! A multi-family garage sale will always attract more traffic than a single family sale. Sometimes you can get the whole block involved! 

4. Advertise in the local papers. Split the cost with the other families - another reason to have a multi-family sale. 

5. Place your signs. This is important! Be aware that there are laws regarding the placement of signs (like yard sale signs). Most places have laws on the books that read something sort of like: It is illegal to post, without a city or county permit, private signs on a Public Right of Way. "Public Right of Way" is commonly defined as both sidewalks on either side of a street and everything in between (including the grassy medians between the sidewalks and gutters, medians, traffic signs and light pole, trees and foliage, fences, etc.").

6. Put up advertisements on bulletin boards in your community. Try places like your local grocery stores, community center, laundry-mat, etc. Spread the news of your sale via word of mouth too to co-workers, friends and family.

7. Have a cash box and change. I use an old cash box I got at someone else's garage sale, and I keep around $20 in change. I have a $5, 10 singles, and the rest I get in rolls of change. 

8. Don't pick a holiday weekend (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day) to have your sale. You'll generally have a better turnout if its a non-holiday weekend. 

9. No pets! You may have the friendliest dog in the world, it's best to keep them away from your yard sale. Some people are afraid of dogs or are allergic. The last thing you need when trying to make a little extra money, is to get sued over a dog bite. 

10. Pricing can make or break the deal. No one wants to ask you every few seconds "how much is this?" and I have even lost a customer once because I did not price things! She picked up an item and asked how much, and I said "Make me an offer!" with a smile on my face. She scowled, said "oh, no, I don't like that" and just walked away! 
To figure out how to price things, check out "How to Price Items for A Garage or Yard Sale". 

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