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Tips for a SUCCESSFUL Sale...

Tip #1
Gather items for sale. Go through those boxes in the attic, shed,closet or garage and select items you can sell. Then walk from room to room in your home, identifying things you no longer need. Most of us have trouble parting with things, even if we never use them: if you haven't used something for over a year, it's a good sign you won't miss it!

Tip #2
Inventory each item on a sheet of paper as you identify it for sale. A lot of people skip this step, but it can make your sale go a lot smoother. Price tags have a strange way of getting lost at garage sales, and it’s hard to come up with a fair price on the spot, especially if you’ve got other people asking you questions or if you’re working a multi-family sale. An inventory list solves this problem. Keep in mind; you don’t need to inventory everything: if you’ve got a box of books that are all 25 cents each, inventorying each of them is a waste of time.

Tip #3
Review your completed inventory sheet and assign a reasonable price to each item. If you really just want to get rid of an old knick-knack, price it accordingly. For items that are more valuable, a general rule is to price at 1/4 of what you paid or less. Obviously, you may want to make exceptions for some things, such as those that are nearly new or valuable antiques. Remember, though, garage sale shoppers are looking for bargains, and if you don’t want to have to pack everything back in your house at the end of the day, you’ve got to give people the low prices they’re looking for. Some people won't pay over 10% of the retail price when they go garage-saling.

Tip #4
Attach a clearly written price label to each item. Using brightly colored labels will make it easier for your customers to find the price and will save you time on the day of the sale. You can purchase adhesive labels, or you can use a “sticker gun.? If you have a lot of similar items that are all the same price (e.g. books), don’t bother pricing them individually. Put them all in one box and label the box. If you don't have sticker labels, you can also use small pieces of masking tape.

Tip #5
Check with your city or homeowner's association and obtain a permit if one is required. Many cities place restrictions details such as placement of signage, hours of operation, frequency & etc. It's better to take the time to do your research and pay the $5-$20 for a permit than risk losing more money than you made in fines.

Tip #6
Set a date and place for your sale. A two-day garage sale is usually perfect, and summer weekends—-especially Fridays and Saturdays—-are the best times. Check your weather forecast and try to avoid rain, and be careful about scheduling your sale during special events and holidays, as many potential customers will have something better to do. Also, avoid holding a sale when there is road construction occurring on the main route to your sale location. If you’re just having a single-family sale, your location is pretty much set, but if you’re having a multi-family or charity sale, be sure to pick a spot that is large enough for everybody’s wares, and choose a location that is easy to find and to get to, preferably close to, but not necessarily on, a major thoroughfare.

Tip #7
Advertise your sale. Your local paper probably offers a deal for garage sales. For a Friday-Saturday or Saturday-Sunday sale, you only need to advertise on Thursday, Friday, and possibly Saturday, but you’ll want to make sure to get your ad in to the paper before the deadline, which could be several days in advance. You should also advertise in free weekly community shopping papers, such as Pennysavers or Thrifty Nickels, and on community bulletin boards in grocery stores and laundromats. Don’t overlook the internet, either: a good, free place to start if you’re in a metropolitan area is on Craigslist (check the external links below). Be sure to include the basics—days and times of the sale and the address (and directions or landmarks if it’s hard to find)-—and list specific items you have for sale, particularly big-ticket items or antiques. You can also look into posting your sale for free at Salenook.com, which caters to garage sales with Google Maps integration. If you choose to advertise your sale, one possible drawback is that occasionally people will show up before the sale (sometimes in the wee hours) to try to get the pick of the best items.

Tip #8
Tidy up your yard and/or garage. You’d clean up your house if you were trying to sell it, right? Garage sale customers are more likely to buy (and to buy at higher prices) if it looks like the merchandise came from a good home with owners that care for their things. They’re also more likely to feel comfortable stopping and browsing if your sale space is attractive and clean.

Tip #9
Make signs a few days before the sale. If you are lucky, your newspaper may give you a few signs as part of your ad purchase. But you can also buy signs or you can make your own out of poster-board or cardboard. Children need a lot of guidance if they will be making the signs. Plain, bold colors, simple lettering, and sturdy posting hardware are essential. Remember that the sign should be perfectly legible to people driving by, and may have to stand up to wind, rain, or heat if you post it a few days early. Give the date and time of the sale, the location and--if you have room--list some items for sale.

Tip #10
Hang your signs a few days before the sale in places where they will be noticed by many a passersby. Make all your signage distinctive in some way, and make them all the same. This will be especially important if there are a lot of other sales that particular weekend. Don't forget to put a sign at the entrance to your neighborhood, or in front of your house! If you live near a major road, hang the signs on telephone poles or street signs at an intersection on that road (intersections with stop signs or traffic signals are particularly good). Draw arrows on the signs pointing the way to your sale. It's a good idea to first check your municipality's or homeowners association's rules regarding signs so you don't run afoul of the local authorities. If you live in an out-of-the-way area, be sure to construct a "path" with your signs that is easy to follow. Post one sign at each corner where a shopper should turn. People might not be able to read your sign very well, so one missing sign could lose your customers.

Tip #11
Make sure you have enough table space. While customers do see and buy items that are on the ground, it's important to have enough tables to display small items to protect them and to ensure that people can easily inspect them. You can use tables and bookshelves from your house or you can rent folding tables if you don't have enough.

Tip #12
Get plenty of change and petty cash. Unless you’ve got a lot of change at home, chances are you’ll need to visit the bank the day before the sale to get some rolls of quarters and plenty of dollar bills. You’re going to be making change for a lot of customers, so be sure to have a fanny pack to organize your money.

Tip #13
Set up the morning of the sale. Get up early so you’ll have plenty of time to arrange your vending area. Seasoned garage sale customers often arrive before the posted times to get a first crack at the premium merchandise, and these customers come ready to buy. Make sure you have everything ready an hour or two before your advertised start time.

Tip #14
Would you visit this yard sale? Keep your display visually attractive. Many potential customers will drive by first, and you want to make your sale look intriguing and well-organized so that they stop. So take things out of the boxes you gathered them in, so that people driving by will see your goods instead of a bunch of cardboard boxes. Place premium items (nearly-new merchandise, antiques, large tools, etc.) close to the street. Arrange your tables so items are neatly displayed with enough room between items to allow people to comfortably inspect them. Instead of folding clothes on tables, hang them from a clothesline strung from trees or from your garage ceiling near the door. Hanging clothes are easier to look through, and you won’t have to worry about refolding them on the table.

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