No, I do not claim to be an expert on organising car boot sales. But, I thought it would be a good idea to share things that we did, things that I should have done, and advices that I received at the car boot sale that we just did last week. So, here we go:
THINGS I DID:
- Secured a venue for the car boot sale. We had a few options, but went with the easiest venue we could get, which was the parking area at the local indoor market.
- Prepared a form for listing site reservations and necessary info. I created a simple one from scratch and included columns for the name of seller, contact details, date booked, fee paid, and notes. Here’s the link to the PDF of the form I made, in case you’d like to use it too. 🙂
- Announced the event on Facebook, Gumtree, local tourism website, and created A5 flyers (which included a brief info on how to book a site at the car boot sale). Shared the event info on Facebook as often as possible, without being too annoying to your FB friends, that is.
- Left a bunch of the A5 flyers at the venue and at a local restaurant, and made more for other members of the committee to handout at their work places, etc.
- Created A6 flyers for the prospective customers. This bunch of flyers didn’t include the info on how to book a site, but only the date, time and venue of the car boot sale.
- Dropped flyers in letter boxes in the neighborhood.
- Visited the venue and measured the available area. Then, I grabbed a screenshot of the area from Google maps and used my background in Architecture to create a site plan. Using the plan and the actual measurements we got, we were able to come up with the sizes of the car sites, and the number of car sites available. We had to do this carefully because we had limited space – we were able to fit 18 4mx6m sites.
- Composed a list of regulations for the sellers to observe. This included set up time, pack up time, as well as a few rules for the safety of everybody. (We can’t have car accidents at the sale!) I posted this list on the Facebook event, as well as emailed each seller a copy. After sending the email, I also sent each seller an SMS to tell them that I have sent them an email (in case they don’t check their emails very regularly).
- Visited the venue on the day before the car boot sale and marked the corners of each car site with chalk…and hoped it won’t rain overnight! (Thankfully, it didn’t.)
- Created A4 signs to put on street posts around the area. I made sure the font was large enough to be seen, but I suppose A3 signs would have been a lot better. I looked on Google maps the night before to help me decide where to put the signs. 2 were by a busy highway, another 2 for each of the 2 busy roads leading to the market, and another 1 close to the roundabout, also leading to the venue.
- Prepared a number of colourful balloons the night before the sale. I tied 2 balloons a bit above each of the A4 signs. Made sure the balloons were high enough so they didn’t block the sign from view.
- Loaded the car with pre-loved items the afternoon before. These were donations to the foundation’s site. Attached prices on the items using a masking tape and marker pen.
- Got out of the house early to put up the signs. I had hubby drive me around, so he could stay behind the wheel while I got off every now and then to put up a sign and balloons.
- Turned up at the venue as early as possible and directed sellers to their sites.
- Added more signs and balloons just outside the venue.
- When I wasn’t so busy, I did a Facebook Live video, to continue to promote the car boot sale.
- Collected fees later in the day, when everybody’s settled and not too busy.
- Packed up after the sale and made sure the venue was free from rubbish.
- Took down all the signs and balloons, and got hubby to drive me around again to all the places where I had the signs, so I could take them down.
THINGS I SHOULD HAVE DONE:
- Made more detailed lists of things to do. It was so easy to forget things, with all the business and rush. As a seasoned garage sale organiser, I have always prepared a bunch of used plastic bags, so I could reuse them to pack customers’ purchases, if they needed it. But because I had a lot going on in my mind, I forgot to do this, which was crazy because days before, it was already on my mind as one of the things I needed to do.
- Brought a hat or a gazebo for the site, and maybe wore a light, long-sleeved top. As a result, my face and arms were sun burnt. Boo!
- Made the A4 signs bigger, like A3 maybe.
- Prepared more signs to put up at the car park area. Since we occupied the side and rear parking area to save the front parking area for the customers, the car boot sale was not as visible to the road as we wanted it to be. So, even though we had the signs and balloons by the road, I couldn’t help but wonder if some of the new customers got confused and thought the indoor market was the sale we were referring to. So maybe additional signs might have been useful.
- Convinced the operators of the sausage sizzle to start much earlier. They didn’t start until maybe half an hour or an hour after the car boot sale started, and I thought if they had started earlier, then they could have sold more to the customers who came earlier and to the sellers who skipped breakfast to be there early.
- Organised some music playing. I saw some sound speakers at the foundation’s stall and thought that they were going to use that to provide some lively music. But I was wrong, ‘coz it turned out the sound speakers were for sale. Lol!
- Talked to some seasoned market organisers and ask for some marketing tips, instead of walking around putting flyers in letter boxes. Then my legs and bum wouldn’t have been so sore from all the walking I did.
ADVICES I HAVE RECEIVED:
- Hand out flyers at the more popular market events in the city weeks before the sale. This would have been the less physically tiring option, compared to the letter box drop I did.
- Place posters at community boards around the city.
- Contact local schools and provide them with the info regarding the car boot sale. They have newletters, websites, and such, so they could help spread the word.
- Put up signs outside the venue on the week leading to the event.
- Organise more attractions/activities, such as having music played (or buskers), food stalls, entertainment, etc.