Summer is here, which means swimming, barbecues, and garage sales! The deals are great if you're shopping. And if you're throwing the sale, it's a great way to clear out your closets. We spoke with “Garage Sale Millionaire” Aaron LaPedis, who shared seven ways to turn your driveway into a money-maker.
1. Promo, Promo, Promo
Aaron says the first tip for a successful garage sale is to get the word out: “I'd be promoting at least a week in advance, three days in advance, on NextDoor, the same day on Facebook – and then I'd also be putting it on Craigslist. All these ideas are free, and you're gonna get a lot of people showing up just from your social media.” So publicity is the best policy!
2. Go Big
Next, when making signs, bigger is better! Those pre-made ones at the hardware store are way too small for people driving by at 35 miles per hour. “If I can't see your sign, I'm not showing up,” warns Aaron, who recommends making three-by-four-foot signs. “Use bright colors, something that stands out. Trust me, people could get lost in a paper bag. So you want arrows to direct them right to your house,” he adds. Include the day, time, address – and as you get closer, swap out the address for those arrows. Balloons at the curb also helps close the final hundred yards.
3. Get Specific
Aaron’s next signage suggestion is to get specific: “If you have baby anything, put that on the sign. If you have collectibles, put that on the sign. If you have bicycles, put that on the sign. If it's big, and it's popular, like those things, put that on the sign, because I'll stop traffic; I'll cross three lanes to go to your garage sale if you put what I need on that sign.”
4. Saturate Your Signage
Now that you’ve specified your signage, it’s time to saturate it! Most people simply don't put up enough signs. If you're only putting up two signs – at either end of your block – you're not going to maximize your traffic. Aaron recommends 10 to 15 large signs within a two-mile radius.
5. $5 Over & Under Rule
Once you get people to your garage sale, use Aaron's $5 over and under rule. “Under five dollars, just ask 'em to make an offer. They may make you an offer more than you want,” says Aaron. But if you want more than five bucks, put a tag on it, because people tend to bid low on bigger items. “They'll be so far off, you guys won't be able to come to terms,” adds Aaron.
6. Know What Your Stuff is Worth
And to make sure you don't get low-balled, know what your stuff is worth. A great resource is the "completed items" section of eBay. Aaron explains why: “If that's worth more than a hundred dollars, and you can ship it, eBay is a better avenue than a garage sale. Because it's an auction. You start it out at a hundred dollars, it could go to a thousand dollars. You're in a garage sale and you put a hundred dollars, you may get fifty.” Remember, it's a numbers game. You might get two-hundred people in your garage, but depending on the item, a million people might look at an eBay listing.
7. It Takes a Village
If there's a community garage sale in your area, coattail on that bad boy. Large neighborhood or city-sponsored garage sales will take care of two costs for you: promotions and permitting, since many cities technically require a permit to have a garage sale. And don't go rogue and have your garage sale right after the larger neighborhood garage sale. Many garage sale-goers will be garage-saled out after the big event.
Good luck on your next yard sale!