Dave Ramsey is a noted financial personality who has written bestselling books, hosts a financial podcast and is the founder and CEO of Ramsey Solutions, which aims to transform people’s relationship with money and get them on sound financial footing.
Choose a Good Day
Usually, Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings are the best time for a garage sale. If you want, you can opt for a multi-day affair, although you’ll usually sell your best items on the first day. Consider choosing the first weekend of the month, when most people have generally reloaded their income for the month and haven’t yet had the chance to spend it.
Accept Digital Payments
Although cash has long been the currency of garage sales, in this day and age, you’ll likely get more bang for your buck if you also accept digital payments. Open up Venmo and/or PayPal accounts, and consider using payment services like Square or Stax.
Price Objectively, Not Emotionally
While you may find it harder to part with some items than others, avoid letting your emotions enter the price-setting process. What may feel like a valuable heirloom to you is likely just another trinket to your shoppers. If you price your items emotionally, you’ll likely end up with lots of items left unsold.
Mark Prices Clearly
Some garage sale customers may be shy or otherwise reluctant to ask you about pricing, so make sure to mark items clearly. Also, be sure to note if you’re willing to negotiate on your prices, or if they are fixed. This will make the whole process easier for everyone.
Offer Bundle Discounts
One way to generate sales is to steal from the playbook of larger retailers and offer bundle discounts. For example, if you have sleeves of golf balls for sale, you could price them at “$3 for one, or $5 for two.” Psychologically, some buyers will feel compelled to increase the size of their purchase in quest of a “deal.”
Don’t Overprice and Expect Customers To Haggle
For the most part, you should price your items for what you want to sell them for, rather than expecting your customers to haggle. As many are reluctant to do so, you may see some walk away from what they consider to be overpriced merchandise. If you are willing to haggle, however, be sure to note that on signs at your sale so that you don’t drive away customers with your high upfront pricing.
You won’t make many sales if no one knows that your garage sale is happening. While you may get the occasional passer-by to drop in, the best way to boost sales is to actively market your event. Post signs in the neighborhood showing the exact address and direction of your sale, hand out flyers, or advertise on social media or in your local newspaper at least one week in advance.
Keep Correct Change on Hand
Nothing’s worse than having a sale in your hand and then losing it because you can’t make change for your customers. If most of your items are priced in the $1-$10 range, for example, anticipate that many of your customers will only be carrying $20 bills and that you’ll need lots of change on hand, particularly dollar bills. Avoid pricing your items in less-than-whole numbers so that you don’t have to break out coins.
Make an Attractive Display
Just as with merchandise at your local retailers, shoppers are more likely to buy from you if you present your items attractively. While you don’t have to spend money on fancy displays or banners, you should at least keep things organized and eye-catching, perhaps with colored stickers to draw attention or color-coded tags to make pricing easy to understand.
Sell What Remains Online, or Donate It
In most cases, garage sales don’t “sell out.” Unless you’re unloading an incredible trove of collectibles, for example, anticipate that you’ll have some merchandise left over at the end of your sale. At that point, your best choices to get rid of your items are to sell them online or simply donate them to a local charity. Selling items online involves a few extra steps but may result in some additional revenue. If you choose to donate them instead, you may be able to get a tax write-off.
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