Susan Baghdasarian's Blog
There are several undeniable benefits to having an occasional garage sale on your property, but there's a lot more to it than just setting out a few unwanted items in your driveway and raking in the cash. If you're an entrepreneur at heart, then holding a garage sale should be second nature to you. Good organizational skills and a basic knowledge of advertising is helpful, as is the ability to do a little friendly negotiating. By adopting the mindset of a small business owner, you'll tend to be more effective in dealing with the many details of planning and running a garage sale. From putting up signage and doing advertising to handling customer relations and merchandising, knowing the basics of business marketing will definitely be to your advantage. If you've never held a yard sale before -- or if you could use a quick refresher course -- here are few helpful tips:
- Cost-effective advertising: While cheap classified ads can help draw a bevy of eager bargain hunters to your home, you can also get a lot of mileage out of free forms of advertising. Garage sale signs, which can be purchased cheaply at any hardware store, can attract dozens of potential customers. In addition to posting a sign directly in from of your house, other good spots are nearby intersections and street corners. Handmade signs can sometimes work, but they have to legible, easy to read, and rigid enough to resist wind and moisture. Other free methods of advertising include flyers, posting announcements on social media, and taking out free ads on Craigslist.
- Preparation and presentation: When the day of your garage sale arrives, you need to be organized, prepared, and ready to welcome your first customers early in the morning. Publicizing the hours of your sales event is a necessary part of the planning process, but don't be surprised if you see a few cars starting to pull up before you've finished carrying all your items out to your driveway. Garage sales always attract hard-core bargain hunters who do not want to miss a single item. In all likelihood, the first few hours will be the busiest, and attendance will probably drop off in the afternoon. As far as preparation, getting all your items set aside and labeled (priced) the night before will help avoid last-minute stress, awkward delays in getting started, lost sales, and impatient customers. Display tables are optional, but will make it easier for people to browse your sale items.
- Time investment: While some families devote the entire day -- or even the whole weekend -- to their garage sale, others limit the event to four hours on a Saturday or Sunday morning. A lot depends on your patience, how fast your items get sold, and whether you have any plans for the afternoon. At a certain point, you'll start noticing diminishing returns on your time, so you might decide to wrap things up and count your money around noon.