I couldn’t believe the turnout from our most recent garage sale. Over 50% of our items sold within the first 3 hours! We were originally going to have our garage sale Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. By Saturday around noon we had sold over 90% of our stuff, so we decided to just donate the leftovers. Our garage sale was so epic, we even had a ninja show up (well, it was really just someone in a karate outfit, but you get the drift).
Last year our garage sale was successful, but this year the stuff sold much more quickly and we had a way better turn out. I had some theories that I wanted to test out, and was surprised about how well they actually worked. Without further ado I would like to present 6 amazing hacks that WILL help you have an epic garage sale!
Hack 1- Eye Catching Signage
No matter how much you advertise, a majority of your customers will be “drive bys”. It is vital that your signs are better, bigger, and brighter than the other person down the road. Take time to create large, eye catching signs. Use glitter, streamers, balloons, or whatever you feel would grab attention. I decided to make my signs using the title “Epic Garage Sale”. I used bright green poster board, and set them at the beginning of our street on a wooden frame that my husband had made for another project.
Almost everyone that attended our garage sale, commented on the word “Epic”. I joked with people that they just “missed the unicorn, that made an appearance”. People were intrigued because the sign title stood out from other garage and yard sales.
Make sure that your garage sale lives up to the name of your signage. Another reason why we shut our garage sale down so early was because it was no longer epic. Most of our stuff was gone, and people seemed disappointed towards the end (they brightened up when I offered them free stuff).
Hack 2- Free Water
Everybody LOVES free things. It is quite surprising how quickly people will warm up to you if you offer them anything for free. Last year my husband and I decided to sell water for $0.50 a bottle. This year we decided to make the water FREE with purchase. I, of course, pretty much ended up offering everyone a water. Although, only about 10% of people actually took a free water, everyone seemed impressed that I offered it to them.
In fact, many people that I offered a free water to ended up walking through the garage sale again to see if there was anything else they wanted. My simple generosity motivated people to spend more.
I ended up giving away just over 50 bottles of water (which of course I bought on sale). With the price of the water, and the ice to keep the water cold, I spent less than $10. I know that offering free water definitely made the customers happy! Happy customers spend more!
Hack 3 – Take Credit Cards
Cash has become somewhat elusive in a plastic world. Although most people carry a little cash on them, it limits them to what they can purchase at a garage sale. Last year there was this guy that only had 5 dollars in cash when he stopped by the garage sale. He saw so many items he wanted, and was elated when I told him that I accept credit cards. He ended up spending $22 instead of $5!
Taking credit cards is really easy. I personally use a Square reader (this is not an affiliate link, it is what I use). They gave me a free reader, and only charge 2.75% per swipe. It is easy and convenient to use, and worth the 2.75% cost in my opinion.
There are other readers and methods to accepting credit cards. Do research and pick the best option for you.
Hack 4 – Provide Shade
It gets really hot in the summer time. So hot, that last year several of our plastic items melted in the sun. One way to help your customers, and items to stay cool is to provide shade. People will be comfortable, and happier (happy customers usually means more sales).
We happened to have a few pop up tents we used to provide shade. If you don’t have a pop up tent, you can use the shade of trees. I have seen people construct a “makeshift” pop up tents by using tarps. You can also utilize your garage more efficiently and have more items inside your garage.
Hack 5 – Advertise Everywhere
As I mentioned earlier most sales will come from “drive bys”, however some can come from advertising. Several people mentioned that they saw my ad on Facebook, or Craigslist, and it inspired them to stop by.
I have never paid for an advertisement in the local newspaper, and am not sure if it is necessary. Some individuals swear by it, but I aim to keep costs low.
I do firmly believe in utilizing the free online classifieds to advertise my garage sale. I belong to several local Facebook selling groups and posted in these groups (as long as it was acceptable in the rules). I also advertised on Craiglist and gsalr.com.
Here are some tips to posting your garage sale online
1.) Take pictures, even if your stuff isn’t displayed yet. I had several people pick out items they wanted from my pictures.
2.) Be clear about the items, and types of items you are selling. For instance “baby clothing, electronics, kitchen gadgets, furniture, craft supplies, etc.” This gives your potential customers a clear picture about the items you have, so they aren’t disappointed.
3.) Make sure you are clear about your location, and hours you plan to be open.
4.) keep track of every classified you post in, so that you can take the listing down when you are finished. This was especially helpful for us, since we ended the garage sale early.
Hack 6 – Be Strategic about when you have your garage sale
When you have your garage sale is important. If you have it during a holiday weekend, you may miss traffic from people being out of town. If you have your garage sale towards the end of the month, people may be waiting for their next paycheck before they can purchase anything. Learn the “trends” of your area in order to figure out when it is best to have a garage sale.
I originally want to have our garage sale the 1st week of June. Since we were not able to get it ready in time (due to lack of planning on my part) we decided to wait. We ended up waiting until the first week of August, since I didn’t want to do it over July 4th (due to people being out of town). My theory worked, the garage sale was wildly successful!
A Little Planning and Preparation Goes A Long Way
I know garage sales are a lot of work, but they can be very profitable. I had lady approach me and tell me she looks forward to my sales every year because they are the best! I also had several people pay me more for my items than what we were asking, because we were selling things “too cheap” (even though I mostly always make a profit on my items).
If you just take a little time to prepare for your garage sale, and avoid these garage sale blunders, your garage sale has the potential to be “Epic”!