If you’re planning on selling at a car boot sale and want some tips, then do go and check out my post on car boot sale tips for sellers.  It was a mammoth post, so now it’s time for some tips for buyers.

successful car boot sal0e tips

  1. Get there early.  Dealers are there for when sellers arrive, and if you want to get the first look at items, you need to get there early.  If you’re just going on the off chance for a wander round, then you might find later in the sale you get some bargains of items that people just want to get rid of before leaving.

  2. Take change.  It’s so annoying as a seller when you start at the beginning of the car boot sale and buyers are giving you large notes and wiping you out of change. At the other extreme, don’t empty your penny jar to take with you.

  3. Take a bag.  Sellers often will have them to hand out, but reusable bags all the way – better for the environment.

  4. Watch out for young children.  Most people walk along at car boot sales with head turned left or right to look at stalls and have no idea that there are dogs or little people that they can’t see.  So many times N has been nearly hit with people’s bags because they’re just walking blindly along.

  5. Shop quickly.  Car boot sales are busy, so don’t hog space in front of tables but move over to the side if you’re dawdling to look at something in detail or to talk to the stall holder.  That means others can get in for a look.

  6. If you’re on a budget, take a list and stick to it.

  7. If you see something you really want but want to shop around, don’t assume it’ll be there when you come back.  You can ask if people will put something behind, but if someone asks me to do so, I’d tell them I’ll take it off the table, but if someone else offers the full price then it’s theirs.  It’s not like a shop – some people want to sell and get out of there, not hope that someone will come back.  Slightly different if you buy and want them to hold on to it for you while you shop.

  8. Haggle.  It’s expected at car boot sales.  I don’t always do this, because my view is if they say a price I’m happy with paying, then I don’t mind paying, but you can ask.  Most buyers will negotiate, others won’t.  When we sold the other week, we had certain items we weren’t going to budge on, but others we were happy to.  If you’re buying several items, then definitely ask for money off.

  9. Don’t scrabble through sellers’ boots as they’re trying to unpack.  Yes people do it, but in my view, it’s rude.  Would you like someone rumbling through your house or boot of your car?

  10. Do ask questions.  If you’re not sure, or want to ensure you’re not getting a dodgy or broken item, then do ask.  You have to take a risk but most sellers are truthful and would admit if something’s broken.

  11. Chat to sellers as you’re looking at items.  If you’re friendly, you stand more chance of getting a better deal on haggling.

Hopefully these tips will help you out if you’re visiting a car boot sale as a buyer.  They’re great fun, although can be quite frantic as a buyer and seller.  Don’t forget to check out my car boot seller tips post.

Are you a car boot sale fan?  Do you buy or sell, and have any tips to add?


  1. I haven’t been to a car boot since I was a child. I really want to go to one again, Thanks for some great tips! x

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