HOW TO MAKE $5,000
A MONTH OR MORE WITH
GARAGE SALES

    In this day and age, everyone seemingly knows how to put together and hold a  garage sale. Yet if this is so, why is it that some people are lucky to gross $150 while others consistently make $1,500 or more from their garage sales.
 
 



 


    Pick almost any city or town in the country. Drive through any middle class
    neighborhood or residential area on any weekend. You're sure to spot at least a
    half dozen garage sales. And what's being sold at these garage sales? The
    accumulated "junk" that a lot of people no longer use or want taking up space in
    or around their homes.

    Is it hard to hold a profitable garage sale? Not in the least! All it really takes is
    some of your time, and an awareness of a few merchandising tactics. But to be
    really profitable you must know how and exercise careful planning.

    First, let's look at some of the background. Everyone accumulates items that
    other people are searching for, and are willing to buy. These items range from
    discarded or outgrown items of clothing to furniture, tools, knickknacks, books,
    pictures and toys.

    Start by taking an inventory of all the things you have "just taking up space"
    around your home. Decide which items you'd be better off getting rid of, and
    make a list of these things. These are the things you are going to put up for sale.
    And if you are honest about what you really want and need, the pile will grow if you
    look over your household a second and third time! Remember that many garage
    sale offerings are items of merchandise purchased on impulse and later found to
    be not what the buyer wanted. It is the human condition: We discover too late that
    we don't like or have use for things purchased. We "outgrow" in size or taste
    articles that once fit or pleased us. You'll find that many items offered at garage
    sales are gifts that have been given to the seller but not really suited to the
    recipient. In other words, it will be to your benefit, before you stage your first
    garage sale, to take a week or so to browse through all the garage sales you can
    find.

    The problem is that most people just don't have the time or energy to gather up all
    the items taking up space around their homes, and putting on a garage sale is
    just too much bother and work.

    This is where you enter the picture. Your enterprise will be an ongoing garage
    sale of items donated and collected from those people who lack the initiative to
    put on garage sales of their own. In other words, you can become a "liquidator of
    people's junk" via super garage sales that you promote.

    We've already suggested that you spend a few weeks visiting the garage sales,
    swap meets, and flea markets in your area. Your purpose will be to see what is
    being offered for sale, what the people in your area are buying, and how the
    merchandise is being sold. One of the things to notice is how the merchandise is
    displayed. You'll also want to find out how the sellers handle customer browsing
    and the prices they charge for the merchandise offered. You'll discover most
    items tagged with a price sticker, but generally the seller is open to either price
    negotiation or a reasonable offer made by the customer.

    Begin your enterprise by cleaning out your own attic, closets, and basement or
    garage. Talk with your relatives and friends. Tell them what you're doing and ask
    for donations (or at least consignments) of unwanted items. It's here that you'll get
    your first experience in negotiating and you'll usually get enthusiastic cooperation.
    You'll find people explaining that they really don't have a use for a specific item,
    don't want to keep on storing it, but for sentimental or other reasons they have just
    hung on to it.

    Once you have a little bit of experience, you'll be able to advertise in the
    newspaper that you purchase garage sale items, or take them on consignment
    for a percentage of the final sale price.

    It's best if at least two persons handle the garage sale together. Greet the
    potential customers, show them around, and generally engage them in
    conversation. While you are out digging up more items for display and sale your
    coworker can "mind the store". And if you are running a really big sale a third
    person can be very useful in selling and generally keeping an eye on things.

    The advertising angle is really quite simple and shouldn't cost you very much.
    Check area newspapers and select the one that carries the most ads for garage
    sales. You shouldn't concern yourself too much with competition from other ads.
    People who go to garage sales either go to all of them they can locate or else
    only to those within a three to five mile radius of their homes.

    You should run a small classified ad in the newspaper of your choice for about
    three days in advance and up through the day of your sale. Once you're operating
    on a fulltime, every day of the  week schedule you'll want to change your ad
    schedule and the style of your advertising. But in getting started, stay with small
    classified ads simply announcing the fact that you're holding a garage sale,
    emphasizing that you've got everything from A to Z   something of interest to
    everyone. Such an ad might read:

    BIG GARAGE SALE! Hundreds
    of interesting items. Through
    Saturday, July 16th. (address)

    To get ideas on how to write your ad check your newspapers for a week or two.
    Cut out all the garage sale ads you can find. Paste them up onto a piece of
    paper. With a bit of critical analysis you will be able to determine how to write a
    good ad of your own from identifying the good and bad features of the ads you've
    collected. Keep in mind that the bigger and better your sale, the bigger and better
    you should make your "getting started" ads.

    Always remember that in order to increase your profits in any business you must
    increase rather than decrease your advertising. At the bottom line you'll find that
    the greatest single reason for a garage sale failing to turn a profit is the lack of
    promotion and advertising used to publicize it.

    Have an old fashioned "sandwich board" type sign to display in front of your
    house when your garage sale is open for business. The purpose, of course, is to
    call attention to the fact that you're holding a garage sale and are open for
    business. This will pull in your neighbors (if you haven't already informed them)
    and attract passers by. Sandwich boards are also sometimes set out at key
    traffic intersections not far from the site of the garage sale. These will attract
    attention and point the way. Check your local ordinances to be sure that this sort
    of advertising is permitted.

    Another "sign idea" practiced by a few really sharp operators is the old "Burma
    Shave" type roadside pointers. You simply make up a few cute sayings (verse or
    one liners), write them on pieces cardboard, tack them onto the power poles at
    about 200 yard interval on the thoroughfare leading to your garage sale, and
    you're sure to create a lot of traffic for yourself. People are amused by and drawn
    to people who do something a little different, unusual, and creative in promoting a
    sale of any kind.

    To come up with some cute verses, visit your public library and check out a book
    on limericks. Adapt the ones that you feel are most humorous and start making
    signs. Again, a word of caution before you get too deeply involved: Be sure to
    check your local ordinances before you start nailing signs to power poles.

    By all means, search out and use all the free bulletin boards in your area. It's
    better, and usually much more profitable, to take the time to make up an attention
    grabbing circular you can post on these bulletin boards than just to use a
    scribbled 3 by 5 card announcement.

    Pick up some "transfer lettering." Go through your newspapers and old
    magazines for interesting illustrations, graphics and pictures. With a little bit of
    imagination and flamboyance make up an 8 1/2 by 11 poster announcement of
    your sale. When you have it pasted up take it to a quick print shop and have them
    make up several hundred copies. A small print order should be well under twenty
    dollars.

    If you make this circular/poster up with versatility and long time usage in mind,
    you can use it over and over again simply by pasting on a new date. In case you
    feel "left out" when we talk of "pasting up" things, this simply means pasting a
    piece of paper onto the overall page you're putting together. Say you have made
    up your circular with a date of Wednesday, May 1st, and want to change it to read
    Thursday, July 16th. Rather than do the entire thing over, simply write out a new
    date with your transfer letters on a separate sheet of paper, cut this out to fit in the
    space occupied by the old date, and paste the new date over the old date. The
    artwork master is now up to date, and the printer does the rest. For paste or glue,
    drop by just about any stationery store and pick up a tube of "glue stick." This is a
    small tube of paste about the size of a tube of lipstick, and generally sold for less
    than one dollar. The tube glue stick works much better than regular glue or paste,
    and is not as messy as rubber cement.

    Your signs have to be effective, but you have to remember to keep them simple.
    Don't try to cut corners on your signs. Signs announcing and pointing the way to
    your garage sale should be placed at each intersection within a one mile radius
    of your sale location. If it takes 50 signs then make 50 signs. The important thing
    is to let people know that you're holding a garage sale.

    Signs can be made simply by cutting and using the sides of cardboard boxes and
    writing on them with a heavy felt tip marking pen. Make it easy for your signs to be
    seen and for people to read what's on them. About all you really need is great big
    block letters reading "GARAGE SALE" with the street address and an arrow
    pointing in that direction. Don't think for a minute that people driving by are going
    to stop and read a lot of "stuff" you've written on your sign. You just want them to
    see your sign and proceed in the direction necessary to reach the location of the
    sale. They'll be moving by your sign too fast to see or read anything else you may
    have written.

    The ads you place, the bulletin board announcements you post, and the signs you
    put up will bring many people to your garage sale location. A lot of people will
    drive by slowly and just look, but most will stop to browse around. But you still
    have to contend with the huge number of people who just drive by without
    stopping. So, let's talk about the "inside secrets" of drawing people into your sale
    and the merchandising gimmicks that will result in the maximum number of sales
    for you.

    You must call attention to your sale. Don't be shy, bashful or selfconscious about
    letting everybody for miles around know that you're having a garage sale. If you
    could afford to get the Goodyear Blimp to "hover" over your garage sale then by
    all means you should do it!

    Some sharp operators do the next best thing. They rent miniature blimps, send
    them up above the housetops, and tether them there on their sale days. Of
    course, this giant balloon or miniature blimp has some sort of sign on the side of
    it inviting people to your garage sale. This is one of the strongest available
    advertising ideas for pulling traffic to a sale of any kind. For more details check
    your local telephone directory to see if there is a local outlet for this kind of
    advertising merchandise for rent.

    You have to give your sale some flair. Put some posts up across the front of your
    property and run some twisted crepe paper between them. Better than crepe
    paper, run brightly colored ribbons. Invest in some colorful pennants and fly them
    from temporary flag poles. And don't forget the balloons! Make your garage sale
    a fun kind of event, with clusters of balloons anchored to your display tables and
    racks. Be sure to "float" them well above the heads of your customers as they're
    browsing through your merchandise displays.

    Cover your display tables with colorful cloths. Don't hesitate to use bright colors
    and busy patterns. Regardless of what you sell, effective display (packaging the
    event) is still absolutely essential to your success.

    The secret to outstanding garage sale profits is in having the largest selection of
    merchandise possible. And part of the process is taking great care in displaying
    and labeling your merchandise. You cannot simply dump items haphazardly on a
    table, sit down, and expect to realize great profits. The people doing the most
    business and holding the most sales are the ones with interesting displays,
    action, and color.

    Have as wide a selection of colors as possible in your clothing racks, and mix
    them for "rainbow" effect. Make sure that your jewelry items shine and sparkle.
    Arrange them in and on jewelry boxes, jewelry ladders. Show off your jewelry
    while keeping it neatly organized. Some people have even gone so far as
    hooking up battery operated 'lazy susans' and arranging their jewelry on these.
    Having the jewelry slowly turn on the 'lazy susan' will not only catch the eye, but it
    will catch the light as well, making an attractive display even more attractive
    because it sparkles and gleams.

    Study the methods of display used by the "rack jobbers" in the stores in your
    area. These are wire racks that usually hold card packaged items. Such a rack or
    kind of display would lend itself beautifully for anchoring a cluster of balloons.
    Keep such things in mind and build your individual displays as part of the whole.
    Make it pleasing to the eye as well as convenient for your customers to browse
    through and select the items that appeal to them or catch their fancy.

    At many garage sales some of the merchandise (particularly the clothing) is dirty.
    Notice this when you visit other people's garage sales, and then take it upon
    yourself to make sure that every item , positively everything you show is clean
    and sparkling bright. A bar of soap, a bucket of water, and a few old rags will do
    wonders for shop tools, garden equipment, and bicycles. The same goes for
    furniture polish on old furniture, and a run through the washing machine for all
    washable clothing.

    It is advisable to determine a price for each item before you set it out for display.
    Mark that price on a price tag and attach the price tag to the item. Your prices
    should also always be rounded off to more or less even numbers such as: 25
    cents, 50 cents, $1, $1.50, $2 and so on. In other words, don't ask for 35 cents,
    95 cents, or $1.98, or any of that sort of pricing. Needless to say, you should
    always mark everything up by 100% or more. In other words, if you have acquired
    a particular item for $1, set a price of $2 or more on it. It is also a good idea to
    mark up your asking price from the bottom-line price you're willing to accept.
    Basically, the price marked on the price tag at most garage sales is taken as the
    starting price from which the buyer and seller negotiate. Most garage sale
    promoters price their cheaper items at the bottom line price they will accept, and
    don't deviate from those prices as shown on the price tag. Then on the more
    expensive items   $2 and over   they mark up their asking prices by 20 to 40
    percent and use that margin for negotiating with the customer.

    If you're a little bit shy relative to personal selling, here are a few "inside" secrets
    that will give you an edge. Always radiate an attitude of friendliness, regardless of
    the circumstances or your first impression of the potential buyer. Always smile
    and say "Hello" in a voice loud enough to be heard. Speak to everyone stopping
    or dropping by your sale location. Be helpful, but allow the people to browse on
    their own until they specifically ask you for help. When you're "keeping an eye on
    your merchandise" be as unobtrusive as possible. No one likes to feel he is being
    watched too closely. Whenever a customer appears to have made a selection
    and asks you what you'll take for it or what kind of a deal you'll make for it, be
    ready to enter into "friendly negotiations."

    Before you open, of course, you will have done your homework and know the
    value of each item of merchandise you have for sale. Don't ever take a
    customer's "claimed" value of an item. By the same token, don't listen to a seller
    (when you're buying items for your sale) when he claims that he's offering you an
    antique or priceless treasure. Sometimes, however, you'll be able to pick up
    fantastic treasures for virtually nothing. By knowing your merchandise you'll not let
    "the flag that Betsy Ross made" slip through your fingers for a song. Be sure to
    have all possibly valuable items appraised by authentic dealers listed in the
    yellow pages of your telephone directory.

    Some of the "extras" that contribute to the success of a garage sale include:
    Plenty of change, without which you'll lose a great many sales. A tape measure for
    people who want to know the exact dimensions of something (especially furniture)
    in order to fit it into a certain space they have in mind. Long extension cord and
    electrical outlets are necessary for your customers to "plug in" and try out the
    mixers, vacuum cleaners, hand tools, or other electrical appliances.

    Back for a moment to drawing in those "cruisers" who aren't quite sure they want
    to park their cars and come browse. Look for some kind of interesting or unusual
    item to call attention to your sale  something you can set up or park in front of
    your home during your sale. Some of the displays we've seen along these lines
    include a horse drawn surrey, a restored Model T, and an old farm plow.
    Anything of an unusual or interesting nature will do the trick for you. One couple
    we know put up a display using a manikin dressed in an old time farm bonnet,
    long dress, and apron. This display depicted a farm woman washing clothes with
    a scrub board and two steel wash tubs. It's not hard to believe that this display
    really drew the crowds, and crowds always mean sales!

    Go wherever your imagination takes you. You have to be different and distinctive.
    You'll get lost in the hundreds of garage sales going on all around you if your sales
    look like the next half dozen. If you'll take the time to employ a bit of imagination,
    and set your sales up with the kind of flair we've been talking about, you will not
    only draw the crowds; you'll be the one reaping the most profits.

    As you think of beginning this garage sale business, remember this: It's almost a
    compulsion with some folks to go shopping; to search for interesting, and
    sometimes rare and valuable items. This fact alone will keep you as busy as you
    ever want to be, staging and promoting garage sales. The market is so vast, and
    the appetite so varied, that anything from a brass bedstead to a used diary of
    someone's long forgotten grandmother will sell (and sell fast) at garage sales.
    Put it all together, use a little imagination, and you'll succeed in a very interesting
    and challenging endeavor!

I hope this information helps you in your business endeaver.You may copy and print this article. For more information read Reynold Jay's book    How To Think Small Business For Big Profits  and Born To Be Rich for business motivation. (CLICK for more information.)