How to Survive a Car Boot Sale

Updated May 2020

For years I have loved mooching around a car boot sale on a Sunday morning and have picked up some great bargains. I also tend to sell at one or two a year too.

I first wrote my guide on how to survive a car boot sale back in 2018, regularly updating it as things change.  Of course, all car boot sales have been closed for the early part of the season due to the pandemic, but as of 1 June, car boot sales will be allowed to open as long as they are Covid secure.

With this in mind, I have rewritten some of my posts about car boot sales and now have a whole series of related posts.

In this feature you will find:

* Frequently asked questions about car boot sales, and links to
* My tips for buyers.
* My tips for sellers.
* How car boot sales will operate safely.
* Other places to buy and sell second-hand items and unwanted gifts.
* Books about car boot sales.

How to Survive a Car Boot Sale

Frequently Asked Car Boot Questions

What are the best things to buy and sell at a car boot sale?
Generally, toys, clothes, household items, and gifts are popular items.

Gold/silver jewellery, watches, perfumes, designer clothing, gadgets, vinyl records, and household items will all sell quickly at a car boot sale.

New items sell well providing they are priced between 25%-33% rrp.

How do I make money at a car boot sale?
Make sure you have enough items to sell to cover your pitch, petrol, food, and drink.

It’s good to have a mix of prices. A few higher-value goods will ensure you cover your stall money sooner, rather than having 200 x 10p items which will leave you out of pocket.

Make your stall look attractive, and be welcoming to your customers.

Should I price my items for sale?
Personally, I feel it is better to price items, as some people don’t like to ask. Use a removable price card rather than a sticky label –  It will be easy to change if you want to reduce the price later, and it won’t ruin the item with sticky residue.

When do car boot sales open?
Some car boots open all year round, whereas others are seasonal.

Does it cost to buy and sell at a car boot sale?
Yes, car boot sales charge a set fee for cars, large cars, and vans.
Most operators charge buyers a fee per person or sometimes per car. Fees may vary according to what time you go into the boot sale.

Is it ok to haggle at a car boot sale?
Most definitely, but be respectful to the seller. If someone is asking £1 for something and it’s worth £1, then don’t insult them by offering less. Believe me, many do!

Can I sell new goods at a car boot sale?

Check with the individual car boot sale. Some allow it, some don’t. It’s a good idea to follow a car boot sale on social media to find out all their rules and opening hours.

Can I sell homemade cakes at a car boot sale?
Again, this is dependant on the car boot sale AND the local authority.  Always check, as in some instances you may need a licence to sell food items.

Can I sell anything?
It is illegal to sell age-restricted items including cigarettes and tobacco. Some car boot sales do not allow the sale of plants, food, or new items either.

Do I need to declare my takings to the tax man?
If you are selling your own unwanted items from home, you do not need to declare your takings. However, if you are buying and selling as a business you do need to declare your earnings. There is a tax allowance if you are making a profit from a hobby, but check with the tax office for the latest figures.

How much should I charge for the items I’m selling?
Prices can vary from town to town. I believe in pricing so things sell easily, but not so low that I’m giving it away. I would rather donate to charity in those instances.

I’ve given a rough price guide below. Bear in mind that designer clothing, cult CDs/DVDs/books/vinyl, etc., will fetch more and it may be worth selling them online instead.

Remember just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s vintage and will sell for lots of money.


Kid’s books 10p-£1
Adult paperbacks 10p-50p
Adult hardbacks 50p-£1
Jigsaws £1
Games £1-£2
Dvd films 50p-£1
Cds 20p-50p
T-shirts 50p-£1
Dresses £1-£2
Hoodies/Cardis £1-£2
Jeans and trousers £1-£2
Jackets £2-£5
Crockery/glassware 20p-50p
Everyday ornaments 50p-£2
Fashion jewellery £1
Duvet covers £2-3
Cushions £1
Throws £2-3
Rugs £10-£20
Large Mirrors £5-10
Large modern pictures and canvases £3-6
New/almost new toiletries £1


Have you survived a car boot sale?

Are you a buyer or a seller?

Do you have any other questions?

Don’t forget to check out all my other car boot sale posts HERE.


a car boot sale stall with cuddly toys on a mat on the floor and dvds in a display rack

If you just like the idea of things being reused rather than thrown away  you might like to read these posts:

How to Reuse, Redistribute and Recycle your Rubbish
Ecobricks – How to Reuse Waste Plastic 
How to Make Art and Upcycle your Music Memorabilia
Arts, Crafts, Upcycling & Eco Issues
Tips & Money Saving

2 thoughts on “How to Survive a Car Boot Sale

  1. Although I hate selling at car boots it’s a great way to get rid of unwanted items and make some money for them. These are great tips especially the price guide. As someone who only goes rarely I have no idea of the going rate for things. Thanks for the tips!


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