Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How To Sell Your Stuff : Part Three ~ Yard Sales

 Yard sales and I have a love hate relationship. I love going to them. I hate having them. 
For me they seem of all the options I have written about the most time consuming.
While there will be lots of people who will tell you they do really well with a yard sale, 
I live in an area where the weather is perfect for yard sales 10 months out of the year 
(the other 2 it just too hot). And it is also at the moment a economical hard hitting area. 
So, those two things coupled together.....lots of sales & little money make 
yard sales here a chore. It has to be CHEAP to sell. 
This is why I typically will try other avenues first for my items that I think are 
worth a bit more. I hold my items that are lower priced for yard sales. 
When I have enough items, then and only then 
will I hold on. All that negativity aside, I make on average $300 for the weekend. 
Again, you will get better or worse results depending on your area. 
This is enough  $$$ for me to make it worth it to sit outside for 2 or 3 days. I have a sale 
about once every year or two at the most. Here lately, every 2 years. During that time
I use the first two methods I posted about here and here to cull the piles down. 
Later we will talk about those piles and how to get off the re-sell hamster wheel. 
But for now, here are my top tips! 

Top 10 Tips For Having a Successful Yard Sale 

1. Advertise.
I put up an ad on our very active Craigslist the Tuesday before we have the sale. 
Then again I will put up a fresh ad on the morning of the sale. Make sure you add 
any photos of big ticket item, or sought after items. 
Also give your address and a link to your address in Mapquest. 
This tip will draw customers more so as now they don't even have to look 
up how to get to your home, you have done all the work for them. 
On CL, make sure you denote some of the items you will have for sale so that when 
people do keyword searches, your ad comes up as well.
Make sure signs are up at obivous places if this is your method of advertising. 
I would go out a day or two before hand to post them up. We use our signs as a directional and get most of our traffic from CL. 

2. Open early and stay late.
My yard sales run from 8 am to 4 pm. But typically I am ready to go by 7:15 as 
I am not bothered by early birds. This just means I  have items someone 
wants and they want them bad enough to wait for me to open that garage door! 
I stay late because most yard sales in our area close up around 1 pm. 
I get a lot of last minute sales. And I am happy to have them. 
I cut deals because I want this stuff GONE.

Huge pet peeve as a yard sale shopper, is having to ask the price of items. 
Mark your items clearly and in a way that is easy to figure out. If your clothing is different prices, please do not put them on a table and hang a sign that says, 
"Children's clothes $1, Ladies clothes $3.." etc. Do yourself a favor, go your
favorite discount store and for $2 grab yourself some of these pre-printed price stickers. 
Stick them on the clothing. It takes just a few minutes. What I do is I stick the 
price on the tag inside the item and then have my oldest daughter come behind me 
and staple it to the tag. This ensures the price sticker stays in place. 
That also means someone other than me can take the money. There is no confusion. 

4. Display it.
Make sure your items are displayed in a way that customers can reach them 
without issue and they are displayed, not just thrown in a box. 
I try to group like items together, that way if someone is looking for stemware, 
all of my options are there for them to choose from. In yard sales customers like to
buy in volume as it always means discount, so feed that spirit of 'if 1 is good, 
then 12 is great' by keepingyour items together and in a way they can see all their options.

5. Price it sell. 
I have been to yard sales and seen throw pillows for $10. There is no doubt in my 
mind that lady was dragging those throw pillows back in with her at the end of the day. 
While sometimes it hurts if you have paid good money for an item to only sell it 
so cheap there is also pain in having to store items you don't use or want anymore either. 
Just like it makes no sense to buy an item you don't want or need just because it is cheap.
There is also no reason to hold on to an item you don't want or need just because you paid a lot of money for it. Try the first two methods of selling those items first. 
Then if all else fails decide if you can let it go or not. You ever price an item for a 
yard sale too high with the notion you will NOT sell it for any lower than that, 
chances are you won't sell it.
You have to be flexible. You have to keep in mind this is a yard sale, 
not Christie's Auction House. 
And you have to realize you probably already got your monies worth from 
the item, time to let it go. If it has memories attached & you are questioning selling it, 
then don't. Keep it or better yet give it to a family member who will also cherish 
the memory attach with it.

6. Give something away.
This little trick is a way to reduce clutter and attract customers. 
At the end of my drive, I sit out a cardboard box with odd and ends that are just not worth selling (think McDonald's toys, stocking stuffers, small trinkets) with the words 
"FREE, take one or some!" 
I find that if I fill this with kids item, parents are so appreciative. 
Children get something to occupy them while they shop and it didn't cost them anything. 
Before someone asks....YES, I have had grown adults pick up the whole box before
and walk away with it. To which I just put palm to forehead and try not to be too angry. 
I usually do not keep all of my free items in the box. I have my middle child in the lulls in crowds refill it with our stash we keep back. 

7. Be kind.
I have been to many sales where people who are selling are gruff and unkind.
This kind of behavior is off putting to say the least. My general rule of thumb is I try to
thank each person as they walk away whether they bought something or not. I will just
call out, "Thanks for stopping by, have a great day!" It keeps my spirit in check. 
And I AM very grateful they stopped by whether they bought or not.
I also try to greet everyone who comes up as well.
A smile & hello, a smile & a joke about the heat always works too around these parts. 
Smile smile smile smile.
It makes the customers feel comfortable, which means they shop longer and it keeps my spirit up as well. 

8. Have change.
This is a no brainer but you would be shocked at how many sales our family 
has gone to where the seller is not prepared. I typically will get almost $150 or 
more in change for a sale. Being that I shop sales more than I have them, 
I am well aware my ATM doesn't give me singles or quarters.
Don't think as a seller but as a buyer!

9. Have helpers.
If your selling large items, have some muscles around to help customers carry it out. 
It helps cinch the sale sometimes. Also my daughters will help people who have bought an armload out to their cars. Also, my hubby and I will both be money takers. 
It helps ease the wait and people appreciate that. 
Generally I have found that if you be helpful then you will have customers who stick around longer because of it.  Longer they stay, usually the more they buy!

10. Make deals.
My concept is this, the more you buy the cheaper it is! And customers love this.
I give discounts even when they don't ask. If their items came to $10.75 I will say, 
'How about $10 even?'
Customers feel your honesty and you save your quarters.

I know these tips might be pretty common but I have found these are just 
the ones that work for me. I hope this whole series has helped you with the items you 
are purging from your home. And I want to encourage you to stick around because I am doing another series that is relative to this one.I am starting a new series soon ...
'Purging : How to get your life back from your stuff!'


Lyza May said...

I don't see myself having a yard sale anytime soon, but if I ever do then i am pulling out this list.

Found you on Frugally Sustainable

Chele said...

Lyza, it is why it is my last ditch effort. I'm not a fan of having a yard sale myself. And to be honest by that time I am down to considering just donating it all. LOL