How I’ve profited from product sourcing at car boot sales…

By Sharon Fussell, February 25, 2016

Here we are again, creeping into spring: signs of winter are being replaced by sunshine and flowers.

March can be such a lovely month – with sunshine that actually warms your back, but in paradox, sometimes cold winds and lashing rain.

But for all that, the advent of spring brings to mind the imminent return of the car boot season.

Car boot sales can be a wonderful way to purchase stock to make great profits on eBay and Amazon from. Some of my highest profits from individual items have come from product sourcing at car boot sales, and spotting a potential goody is often likely.

You have likely watched antique programmes where contestants have bought a piece of jewellery for a couple of pounds at a car boot sale, all because they liked the look of it, then finding out that the piece of jewellery is worth hundreds or thousands of pounds!

Now, I am not really talking about that type of find: my finds have been a lot more modest – however, it still gives me a thrill when I have picked up a book or DVD for 50p or perhaps £1, and then re-sold it for several pounds.

So do you have to be an expert to spot items that may bring in a tidy profit?

Not at all: with most books you cannot judge it by the cover; you might find a beautifully presented book, but find its value on Amazon is low-to-zilch. (If this is the case put your item on eBay.) Or, you may find a book that looks a little scruffy, but will sell for quite a few pounds.

The main thing to look for is niche subjects: for example, fishing is a niche area, but general books on fishing will not be a good idea to buy ‘blind’ (a process where you are unable to check value on Amazon before you buy).

Checking prices before you purchase is something possibly a little difficult to do at a car boot sale with the vendor of your item glaring at you while you check your phone – assuming you get a signal, of course!

So look for aspects of fishing that make the subject even more niche: perhaps fishing for unusual species in distant places. You only need one buyer who wants a book like that.

The subject will be unlikely have a massive publication, keeping the book rare and usually lucrative, especially if it is out of print and hard to find.

One of my finds was a book on sailing a certain type of craft: I paid around 50p but sold the book for over £25 – a great mark up.
As stressed above, if you can check out prices before you buy, it takes the gamble out of shelling out for something you might not get a return on.

This is why it’s always best you pay as little as possible for an item in the first place: I always haggle if I can. Sometimes though, if I believe an item will bring in a return and sellers are only asking 50p or so, I will buy it anyway: if it is a dud you have lost little.

You will likely find that if you purchase a selection of items for low cost, you may lose on a few, but you only need one or two to come good to be in profit.

Here are some items I always aim to buy at car boots that, more often than not, fetch a profit…

  • Niche jigsaws – new and wrapped
  • Board games – new and wrapped
  • Niche-topic DVDs
  • Niche and unusual-topic books
  • Unusual and themed jewellery (eBay)
  • Any item that is wrapped and compact enough to sell on eBay without attracting huge postage costs

The secret is to buy pay as little as possible: most householders who sell at car boot sales as a means to have a clear out of their home will often accept 50p or so for many things on the stall; traders, on the other hand, will usually price their items and stick to the price.

It’s still a little early for car boot sales, but because Easter is earlier this year, public holidays are always a popular time to have a car boot sale, so look for the adverts and be prepared: however big or small the car boot is, you just never know where that special item to make a tidy profit will be lurking!

Good luck!


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