The Fundamental Garage Sale Law
BIG garage sales = BIG crowds = BIG sales = BIG money
If you don’t have enough of your own stuff to make a BIG garage sale then you will benefit from having a group sale. Serious garage sale shoppers will always head for a group garage sale first because they know there will be a huge range of items to look through in one spot.
What is a group garage sale
- When others (family or friends) provide items of their own to sell in your garage sale.
- When neighbors (the whole street!) have their own garage sales too. Shoppers will think your street is like a shopping mall!
Other advantages of having a group garage sale
- You’ll be able to advertise a wider variety of items which will attract more buyers.
- You can split the costs of advertising.
- You can split the costs of hiring of tables and trestles, etc.
- You can take turns handling the money.
- You’ll have help on hand when it gets busy.
- You’ll be more relaxed and have more fun!
How to organize a group garage sale
- First, check with your local authorities that your proposed group garage sale is allowed.
- Contact relatives, friends and/or neighbors. Some may have been thinking of holding one but hadn’t gotten around to it or were planning on having it at another time. You may both realize that bigger is better and agree on a common date.
- Contact people you know who live in an apartment, flat, etc that don’t have a suitable area for their own garage sale.
- Contact your school, church, club.
- Create a flyer advertising the idea (and advantages) of a whole street sale where everyone has a garage sale together either in their own garages or all together in a common area. Make sure you have “Make extra money!!” in big, bold letters somewhere on the flyer and drop it in their letter boxes and see what response you get.
- Depending on the number of people involved either speak to them individually or organize a group meeting.
- Agree on who will take charge.
- Record all decisions and make it available to everyone. Keep everyone “in the loop”.
- If you think it may be necessary, agree on an arbitrator who everyone respects to be able to step in and make a final & fair ruling on any ‘issues’ that may arise.
- Agree on if it will be one big combined garage sale or if it will be everyone holding their own at the same time.
- Agree on the tasks that are required and record who is to do what. Tasks are the same as an individual garage sale but bigger. Typical jobs to be done are:
- A captain, chair, leader, coordinator, etc to manage the meetings.
- Contact person the local authorities, volunteers, etc can contact if necessary.
- Money manager (collects & records monetary donations, collects and pays fees).
- Activities manager (to organize raffle, lemonade stand, face painting, Sale day decorations, etc).
- Advertising manager (to prepare ads, flyers, signs including put out & pick up signs).
- Volunteer manager.
- First-aid & Security manager.
- Inventory manager (sort & clean donations, record & price donations).
- Shop manager (tables, chairs, bags, empty boxes, set up & pack up on sale day, etc).
- Sale day food & refreshments (for staff & shoppers).
- People to work the sale.
- People to organize and drop off donated left-overs.
- Agree on a weekend to hold the sale.
- Agree on what is to happen to unsold items.
- If it’s a combined group sale, agree if all items will be pooled together for pricing and organizing (a big job) or if left to individuals to prepare and price their own items and to bring them to the sale on the day or the day before. A tip is to price all clothing the same.
- Agree if a common pricing schedule for general items if necessary to avoid unfair competition amongst participants.
- If yard sale signs are being made by a group, ensure the signs are all the same so customers know what signs to follow.
- Agree on how, where and when to advertise.
- Agree on a task roster for the day.
- If the garage sale is to be held on one person’s property or in a hall or car park, there will be arguments over who gets the prime spots. Prime spots include positions in the yard, hall, street or specifically sized areas on tables. To avoid this problem, hold a lottery to allocate prime spots randomly.
- Be conscious of minimizing the disruption to neighbors who aren’t involved.
- Ensure you collect everyone’s financial contributions before spending any money.
How to motivate others to join in with your group garage sale
- Pay the advertising costs yourself and offer your neighbors “free advertising”. With the extra crowds/sales, you’ll easily get your advertising costs back.
- If others can provide some items to be sold in your garage sale but don’t want to help on the day then, offer to sell their stuff for a 30% commission!
- If they say they don’t have anything to sell but like the idea of getting extra money (don’t we all), ask if they can provide:
- baked cookies, cakes, muffins, etc
- home grown fruit, vegetables or plants
- they could even set up their own ‘lemonade stand’ or may be a BBQ
If others donate items for your sale then record what was given and what was sold
Also check if they want the unsold items back or not. If not then check that they don’t care how you dispose of it.
Community/neighborhood or street sale tips
- Make a map and highlight the houses involved. Include this in your flyers and also as hand-outs on the day.
- Set up a Facebook page or web page for communicating to everyone involved during preparation then with the sale details, photos of items, etc. for shoppers to use.