It's heating up outside! That means you will start seeing more and more yard sales popping up. I decided to try my hand at yard sales for 3 weekends in the month of June. I opened it up to family and friends to see what would happen. I will preface this by saying that this was my first yard sale EVER. I would always donate everything but being that I am not working, I wanted to see how much I could make. Over the 3 weekends, I made about $400 just from my sales. This is what I learned:
Tip 1 - Location, Location, Location
Make sure wherever you are having your yard sale is a high traffic street or area. My street gets quite a bit of traffic so I figured it would be a good place to set up shop. Analyze the traffic in your neighborhood. I used my Ring Doorbell to see how many cars come through on a typical Saturday. If you do not get a lot of traffic, find a friend whose street does and ask if you can bring your items over. My family and friends noticed I received the most traffic so we gathered here. Not only would I get the regular traffic, but I would also get my advertised traffic which I talk more about in Tip 3.
Tip 2 - Make it Multi-Family
The more the merrier! When customers see "multi-family", their immediate thought is that there will be more of a variety of items to shop from, which is true! More variety = more customers. Plus, it was a lot of fun having my family and friends around to help sell and chat in between customers.
My neighbor also hopped in on the action and put her stuff out as well. When customers see more action on a street, they are more apt to stop and take a look! Let your neighbors know when you are having it at least a couple of weeks in advance so they can prepare as well.
Tip 3 - Proper Advertising
I can not stress this enough! Advertising is so important! If people do not know about the sale, they aren't going to come. I ordered this kit from Amazon that included all of the signage I needed. I placed signs on the main intersections around my house, at the end of my street, and near my driveway. I ended up using half of the signs initially and then as my signs started disappearing (either by the elements or someone taking them), I would just use the ones I had on reserve to replace them. By the end of the 3 weeks, I used all 12 of the included signs. Pro Tip: Don't put the date on the sign. Just say a generic day of the week (i.e. "Saturday" or "Sunday") so that you can reuse them!
Utilize social media! I posted my advertisement to all of the social media channels available to me. I also posted to my local yard sale groups on Facebook after I set up and took some pictures. By doing so, I was able to sell items in person and virtually at the same time. People were driving from all over to come buy items they saw on Facebook.
Another part of advertising is product placement. Be sure to put some big ticket items near the street but within eyeshot. Some people will do a "drive-by" and if nothing catches their eye, they will keep going.
Tip 4 - Prep Ahead of Time
Make sure as many items as possible have pricing labels. It is very tedious but it makes the day of the sale go much easier. I used different colors for each family so there is no guessing which item belongs to who. When the customer brings up the item, I can tell at first glance how much it is and what column it goes under in my log (read more in Tip 6).
Clean the area! If it will be held in your garage, remove items you don't want to sell and store in a shed or in the house. Sweep the entire garage. I also went an extra step ad mowed my grass each week to make sure it looked manicured. Curb appeal is everything! You especially want to mow if you are having a yard sale versus a garage sale.
Get a lot of grocery bags, newspaper, boxes, and a bin to put hangers when checking out customers. It is better to overestimate than to not have enough!
Have change available. Be sure to go to the bank the Friday before the sale to ensure you have proper change. I was able to get by with mostly 5's, 1's, and a variety of coins. You do not want to miss out on a sale because you do not have change. Pro tip: Use Square to take credit cards and debit cards. No cash? No problem!
Tip 5 - Customer Service Goes a Long Way
People will stay longer and buy more if they are properly greeted and taken care of. Offer to help them go through some of the clothes or ask if they are looking for something in particular. I had most of my items set up in the garage because it offered shade as they shop and can guard most of the items against rain. I had a fan in there and some music playing to make it an enjoyable experience. I received many compliments on how well laid out and thoughtful my set up was. This brings me to my next tip...
Tip 6 - Stay Organized
I used the color-coded stickers from the kit to identify each family's items. There was only one table to check out so all the money will be in one central place and each sale can be recorded in the log under the appropriate family (also included in the kit). It is much cleaner to cash everyone out at the end of the day instead of trying to figure out money while dealing with customers.
Have any more garage/yard sale tips I didn't cover? Please post them below. I would love to see what worked for you!
My highest priced item sold was a KitchenAid Stand Mixer that I no longer used for $100! What was yours?