Monday 14 March 2016

How to haggle at a car boot sale

I'm Mark from I have over 20 years experience in real world car booting. Some of this guide will apply to our Online Car Boot Sale as well as real world car boot sales. Surprisingly, some people still find it hard to haggle even online. Some people fear haggling either because of the fear of rejection or simply because they feel cheeky.

If you are the type of person who feels cheeky talking people down.. Get over it ! Ask yourself why you feel cheeky ? Most sellers at a car boot sale have adjusted their prices upwards so that they can be knocked down.. So see them as the cheeky ones ! Think of it as not trying to get something cheap, but simply negotiating a sale which is what is expected at a car boot. Don't fear rejection.. If they say "No" then you're the one in the driving seat still, after all you hold the cash ! Either buy the item or move on.. Think of it as their loss. It's surprising how many might call you back as you turn to leave.

Okay, let's say you come across a watch for £10.. You will usually already know straight away whether you are happy with it for that price.. Does it look nice ? Fit ok ? and is it working. If so, then you're in a win-win position.. You are happy with the watch anyway so anything off it is a bonus. As a rule of thumb, between £2-£5 I will ask for £1 off. Between £6 and £10 I will ask for £2 off. Therefore offer them £8. Some may think you could ask for more off, which of course you can.. But they are more likely to accept an offer like this without presenting you with a counter offer. I also believe in being fair and upholding a good reputation.. There's haggling and then being cheeky ! Cheeky may get you some stuff for less but decide whether that's the type of person you wish to be. Strong, forward hagglers will soon get noticed and if you attend a boot sale regularly, you don't want to annoy too many people. It's always best keeping a low profile at car boot sales.. Get in.. Get the item for the right price.. Then get out!

Also, imagine a situation where you've bought the aforementioned watch for a really cheeky £5 ! When you get back to the car, you realise the date isn't working on it.. Would you then dare go back and ask for a refund and if so, would they give you one after you've already probably insulted them and bought it at a price where you wouldn't expect it to be fully working. Of course, this is my personal opinion on this, some may disagree or use other techniques.. Please comment and add any of your own personal tips or advice to this blog.

Counter offers usually occur on more expensive items. Let's say a Laptop for £50. You offer £40, they are most likely going to make you a counter offer of £45. Have this already planned out in your head before making the initial offer. Decide beforehand that if they offer £45 will you accept it ? You can of course continue haggling and maybe offer them half way.. £47.50. This is very common and very easily done once you become experienced. It's more expensive items like this where real haggling like this comes in to play. If say you were prepared to pay £45 for the laptop before making your initial offer.. It's always worth starting at £40 so they'll hopefully meet you at £45. If you go straight in with an offer of £45, you'll probably end up at £47.50 ! It depends which way you wish to play it. It also depends on the seller. If you frequent the same car boot sale regularly then you'll learn what's best with certain sellers.. Dealers, regulars, newbies etc. As I say, on items under a tenner, its worth asking for a quick quid or two off.. It's not worth messing with too much.

Taking all of the above in to consideration, there's also side tactics you can use whilst haggling.. Firstly, How to ask for less.. "Will you take £8 for it ?" is most common and works well but sometimes it may be worth saying "Any chance of £8 since it's got a little scratch on it ?" or whatever the case may be. Point out defects if you feel it will help, or indeed make sure they notice that YOU'VE noticed the defects before you ask. Even if you're excited that you've found a little gem and it's already under priced.. Appear to be inspecting the item after they tell you the price.

BE CAREFUL: You never know what's going to happen at a car boot sale. Judgement is key when haggling and sometimes you also need to be aware of your surroundings. Picture this nightmare from my personal experience.. I came across a rare vintage computer I knew was worth around £300. It already had a price label on it for £10. Even if it was faulty, it would have sold for £50 or more as it had many accessories and games with it. Trying all the above, I started inspecting it and picking at defects before asking "Is £8 any good ?". My reply was "Sorry, that man at the end has just given me £20 for it". It was a buyer I knew.. A cheeky one at that ! He was renowned for jumping in like this and overpaying to take it out of your hands.

Okay, hopefully that gives you some guidance. It does work different in real life compared to online. You should never be afraid online.. No one can bite ya ! Anyway, if anyone has any further advice, like I say, please leave a comment. Happy booting !

1 comment:

  1. Great blog. This is the first time I've actually looked here, but the it's the first time I've received an email for the blog & didn't actually realise you had one.

    I'm with you on the 'less than a tenner' thing. It certainly depends on the general products on the stall of course.

    I'll be sure to check in here more often now. :)