· Pricing everything leads to more reasonable negotiating and bargaining.
· Some customers might not bother to ask the price and pass items by if they don’t see one. Shoppers are often reluctant or scared off when prices are not stated, costing you a sale.
· Utilizing pricing labels forces you to make pricing decisions before your customers arrive. It is less confusing and you won’t feel rushed or pressured on the day of the sale.
· Be consistent in where you place labels. This makes it easier for shoppers. Example: With clothing, place your price label on the clothing’s size tag.
· For large items, make a small sign and put it on or near the item. Include pertinent information on the sign if applicable…its age, material it’s made from, features, etc.
· Small miscellaneous items can be grouped together and put in their own box or on their own shelf. One sign can be used for these items. Example: “All items in this box 10¢.”
There is no magic formula for determining an item’s price. Of course you want to sell an item for as much as it will bring, but just remember your customers want to purchase your item for as little as they can. Most shoppers will not haggle or try to negotiate on low priced items. Be aware, however, that haggling is an inherent ritual of garage sale shopping. Always keep in mind that one reason for having your sale is to rid yourself of unwanted items and then price accordingly.
A good rule of thumb is to price an item for about 20% of its original price. Add 5% to 10% for items in great condition or in high demand such as children’s clothing, maternity apparel, tools, toys, and jewelry. Deduct 5% to 10% for items in poor condition or with little demand such as adult clothing, bedding, books, etc.
Antiques and collectibles are the exception. It would be wise to have your antiques or collectibles examined by an appraiser. You can also check the internet, library, or bookstore for one of the many guides on antiques and collectibles and their values.
As you gather your merchandise, start thinking about how you are going to organize your sale in an attractive and orderly manner. You will probably need tables, benches, boxes, blankets, clothes racks, etc. Think about the kinds of merchandise you will be offering and the best way to display them.
· Use boxes…for books, records, tapes, etc.
· Use tables…for displaying items. If you don’t have enough tables, and old door, plywood, or large boards on some sawhorses or buckets will work.
· Use blankets…spread on the lawn. This is a good way to display children’s toys and games. Toys are a good motivator for getting people out of their car and into your garage.
· Use racks…for clothing. Racks can also be made by running a rope through the center of a pipe and hanging the rope from rafters in your garage or between two trees or step ladders.
Move larger items out front towards the street…line your driveway. Shoppers need to be able to see items from their car. Make it worth their while to stop.
Start With a Plan:
· It is important, when planning, to think about your family. It always helps if family members understand what you are doing and why. If they understand what’s going on, they are more apt to get involved.
· Kids are more likely to help out by going through their toy chest or closet if they get part of the profits from selling their old toys.
· Check everywhere for possible sale items…from the basement to the attic, and everywhere in between. to through every room and closet. And don’t forget the garage, the shed, and the car trunk. Even worn and broken items will sell when priced right.
· As you start gathering items, clean and repair them. (Items that look nice will sell for a higher price.)
You should know quickly if your prices are fair. If you’re not selling much or customers are negotiating prices way down, you’ve probably priced your goods too high. To remedy the situation, make a large sign saying “25% OFF.” No need to re-price your individual items. Be sure to have a calculator handy.
To ensure you sell as much as possible, thus avoiding having to haul your items back into the house after the sale, it is worthwhile to consider gradual price discounts as the day(s) goes by. Example: On the second day of a 2-day sale, take 50% off all items (exceptions allowed if clearly marked). You could even place some very-hard-to-sell items in a box and label it “FREE.”
Day of Sale
Remember no matter what time you say you’ll start your sale, someone will be there early. Consider these points…
· You will need change. As a general rule of thumb, $50 usually is a sufficient amount for cash on hand. $2 in nickels, $3 in dimes, $10 in quarters, $35 in bills.
· An extension cord should be available to test electrical items.
· Put up signs if you did not do so the night before.
· Plan lunch for you and your co-workers.
· Never leave money in plain view and don’t keep too much on hand. Take it inside the house and hide it in a safe place.
· Cash is best, but if you decide to accept checks, ask for a driver’s license.
· Guard your merchandise. Keep a watchful eye on jewelry, watches, and cameras. Treat them like cash, so they don’t just walk off.
· Guard your house. Remember you are having a garage sale, not an open house. You should not allow anyone to enter your house to use the restroom or to make a phone call. Suggest a nearby gas station.
· Have fun. Enjoy yourself and your customers.