Taking your children to a car boot sale and helping them to learn how to sell is a great way of teaching them entrepreneurial skills say Eboot founders Andrew Walsh and James Taroni. The pair were teenage friends when they began their business partnership by launching their first car boot back in 1992.
Now celebrating their 30th anniversary in the trade having survived everything from the financial crash to Covid, they are currently holding car boots for a mammoth five-day consecutive spell until Tuesday, April 19 after the last two Easter holiday periods were wiped out by lockdowns and social restrictions. All buyers will doubtless be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Terry Herbert who, the pair say, ended up discovering The Staffordshire Hoard years after buying a previous metal detector from their first Eboot site.
Eboot proprietor Andrew says: “Eboots are the best way we can think of de-cluttering your house, having a fun and interesting day out and – if you’ve got kids – it’s a great way of teaching them how to become an entrepreneur. Encourage your kids to do some buying and selling. It will stand them in good stead in later years.”
read more:We went to James Taroni’s biggest car boot sale – where you can have a day out in a field for £1
Phones4U billionaire John Caudwell is said to have been just four years old when he began selling old toys and books to neighboring children from his then back yard.
Andrew adds: “Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, car booting is a fantastic way to make some money if you’re a seller or to bag some incredible bargains if you’re a buyer.
“Alan Lord Sugar and Delboy Trotter are just two of the people we know who started off as market traders and ended as the mighty business moguls they are today.”
Andrew and James say the beauty of car booting is how simple it is. All that you have to do is to lay our wares so that members of the public can see what you’ve got – and then sell it.
“The difference with normal shopping is that you’ll never know what you will find or what the price will be,” says Andrew. “In a shop you might see a rack of sweaters that are all the same price, so the only excitement for shoppers will be the different colors and sizes.
“If you take things you don’t want to a car boot, then its win-win all the way because you are selling something to somebody else who will get a bargain. But do take plenty of change.”
With 60 years’ of experience between them, read on for James and Andrew’s top car booting tips in general and for buyers and sellers as well.
General car boot tips
Take a ground sheet or tables on which to display your goods which should be clean and in good working order. But remember to put the sheets and tables into your car last so that you can get them out first!
Other top tips include:
- Use clothes rails for clothes, sell shoes in pairs and make sure any phones have chargers. Load your car carefully so that you don’t break anything.
- Go early, but check weather forecasts, websites and Twitter to make sure the event will be on.
- Putting a visible price on goods is one way of selling, but not putting a price on might lead a potential purchaser to engage you in conversation. Haggling is part of car booting and should be fun so enjoy the banter but don’t undersell yourself. A sense of humor will always be your greatest asset.
Always take away your rubbish. The only thing you should leave behind is a good impression.
Tips for sellers
Put your best items onto tables, not just on the floor. Take lots of carrier bags so that people might buy more and have something to carry the goodies in.
Encourage a friend or relative to join you so that you can each look after the stall whilst one of you either goes to the loo or to fetch some food and drink from one of the other operators.
Because it can rain, take a cover for the stall and wear appropriate clothing if you are going to be outdoors for hours.
Tips for buyers
If you want the best buys to early and take a torch so that you can see what you are buying. Walk along each ‘aisle’ in both directions so that you don’t miss anything – the view is always different when you are walking back in the opposite direction.
Take a shopping trolley if you are looking to buy heavier items such a pottery. Enjoy haggling but don’t make a silly offer because you will instantly end the conversation.
Andrew says: “Our top tips are to dress appropriately whether it’s going to be cold or very hot etc and, for buyers and sellers alike, always get there early otherwise you’ll miss the action.
“If you take medication, don’t forget it and at least take headache pills. Oh, and don’t forget to take plenty of loose change whether you are buying or selling.”
Car boot giant
Eboot runs seven car boots across north east Birmingham and all are 20-acres plus. The biggest is in a 78-acre field hex to Haunch Lane off the Kingsbury Road, just a mile from the M42 J9. The post code there is B76 0BY.
It usually opens on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with trading from 6am until 2pm close.
Should you decide to go, there’s no need to book whether you are a purchaser (£1 per vehicle) or a seller (£10 per car or £13-£20 for vans).
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