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Tips for Having a Successful Garage Sale

Once you’ve gathered and prepared the items for your garage sale, you need to do your best to let people know about it and then provide them with a good customer experience when they get there.

Advertising

Gone are the days of having to pay for a newspaper ad to promote your sale. That option is still available should you want to use it, but there are cheaper ways to advertise. Start with friends and family. Use your social media platforms to let people know you’re having a garage sale. You could even post pictures and give them the chance to buy your stuff before the general public does.

Craigslist garage saleCreate a Craigslist posting with pictures of your most desirable items. Because Craigslist has become so popular, you can wait until late the night before your sale to post there. This keeps your post from being buried in the list of sales. By posting late the night before, you give early birds the opportunity to plan their route and get to you as early as they can. Be sure to include the following information in your post:

  • Your address
  • The dates and times of the sale
  • Pictures (People like to have some idea about what to expect.)
  • Keywords about items you have for sale in case somebody uses the search option on Craigslist (e.g. furniture, tools, antiques, etc.)

Signage

Even though most people will find you via social media or Craigslist, there are still some who impulsively stop by because they saw a sign. Additionally, signs help people find your exact location. When making your signs, remember that they need to be easily readable by somebody driving a car. Minimize wording and make sure the letters are big enough to be seen from the roadway.

If you affix your signs to boxes, weigh them down with rocks or bricks to keep the wind from turning them into litter. If posting signs is prohibited at your preferred intersections, consider alternative means of advertising like car windows. Parking your car in a corner lot or on a key side street gives you the opportunity to use window paint to promote your garage sale.

Chances are that people don’t have time to read your address on the signs. Instead, use large arrows to point them in the right direction, being careful to have additional arrows along the way to let them know they’re headed the right way.

Forms of payment

Plan ahead of time to have change for people who pay with larger bills. It’s best to only accept cash, never checks. For larger items, consider offering PayPal as a means of payment. It’s a secure way of paying electronically (nobody’s personal information, other than an email address, is revealed) and you can check online to see if the payment has cleared before releasing the item into the buyer’s possession. PayPal may charge you a small fee for this service, but it’s well worth it.

Customer service

Folks who go to garage sales are usually very down to earth people. They don’t expect your stuff to be perfect, but honest disclosures go a long way toward building trust. If the igniter on your gas grill doesn’t work consistently, tell them. Then share how you managed to use the grill by igniting it with a match or lighter instead.

Be willing to negotiate and haggle, keeping in mind that some money is better than no money.

If you’re able, help your customers load bulky or heavy items into their vehicle. The chances of them telling somebody else about your sale are higher if your customers had a positive experience, and it’s just a neighborly thing to do.


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