10 July 2010

Tips for a Good Yard Sale

On Friday I discussed using Craigslist for a tool of bringing in more money to help our battle against debt.  If you missed the post you may read it here.  Well, another great tool that the hubby and I use is the good old fashioned yard sales.  I remember the very first yard sale we ever had; we could not believe how much money we had earned in one day.  Ever since that day we have about two yard sales a year.  We usually hold them at the start of Spring and towards the end of Summer.  Here are some tricks we have learned that really help us boost our sales.

There are many frugal ways to advertise your sale such as Craigslist, Facebook, Twitter, word of mouth, and of course yard sale signs.  When we make our signs we usually purchase about three to five poster boards of all the same color that you can get at any store and then we cut them into fours.  We then can have up to about 12-15 signs and sometimes we buy two extra poster board to post at the corner of our street showing where we are.  We post our signs the day before the sale showing people that there will be a sale going on the next day, and also make sure to post them where there is a lot of traffic.  One important thing when making your sign, add arrows pointing the buyer in the direction of your sale.  I know how frustrating it can be when  you are looking for a sale and there are minimal signs with little directions.  On the signs it is important to include the date of the sale, when it starts and if there is an ending time, the address, and if it is a multi-family sale. 

One thing I have learned over the years as being a buyer and having a yard sale is most of the time you will not get what you paid for that item. That is not always the case but most of the time.  For example, if you paid $20 for a sweater from a name brand store two years prior it is most likely that you will not receive $10 for it.  People are out looking for deals, and most people who are out for the deals know where they can get that sweater cheaper some place else.  I am not saying that you should really set your prices so low that you do not make money but ask yourself "how much would I pay for this at a yard sale?"  However, there is the game of negotiating.  Sometimes negotiating can help both the buyer and the seller.  Just remember to be reasonable with your prices.  If there are items that you are firm on that is okay too.  The goal is to declutter while also making money.  I always price some items lower especially clothing because then people are willing to buy more. 

It is important to be polite.  If you have customers, welcome them, say hello, ask how they are.  Then allow them to look around but do not hound them.  Many of times you can figure out if the person is willing to have a conversation with you or they just want to look and leave.  Engaging in conversation shows you are friendly and it makes the customer feel welcome.  If the customer does not buy anything still say thank you and have a nice day.  I cannot tell you how many times sellers have not said a word to me and I can feel the hard stare in my back when I leave because I did not buy anything.  On the other hand if you are friendly and welcoming they will come again to your next sale.  The three years we lived in Maryland we had our two yard sales a year and we had some customers who would return every time.  Even if they did not buy anything we still engaged in conversation and would talk for a good half hour. 

One last tip would be to offer free items or if someone purchases a good amount throw something in for free or be willing to discount the price a little bit.  I had one customer in Maryland once who purchased about $45 worth of clothing but I gave her the pile of clothes for $40.  She was very thankful and she was one of our returning customers over the three years. 

Yard sales can be a great way to earn some extra money.  I am happy to report that we did well for our yard sale today even though we barely had half of what we usually sale.  After our sale was over we discussed how we were going to use it.  We decided I would do some grocery shopping and buy some extra "fun" snacks and food.  We also have set aside some money to put towards one of our credit cards and the rest of the money will be used for milk or any other needed items until payday.

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