Macclesfield has the UK's 2nd largest regular car boot sale in the UK within spitting distance...if you haven't been to Chelford yet, here's what to look for
22nd September 2011
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First shock of the day was the alarm going off at 6.30am on a Sunday.... pretty sure a law was broken there?!


Dragging myself out of bed at such a ridiculous hour was made all the more difficult due to the fact that I have spent two whole days gathering stuff together for this entrepreneurial venture. As a result, although my surroundings are significantly less cluttered, my back is breaking and I am already exhausted.  But, if I'm to make my fortune then sacrifices have to be made. I've spent quite some time researching 'car boot hints and tips' and this is where it will all pay off, and Tip 1 is always 'get there early.'  Tick.


The borrowed van having been loaded the night before (Tip 2, valuables in first so they come out last, pasting table in last so it comes out first...tick), eldest child and husband in tow for physical and moral support, off we go.  En route pre-warn said husband and child about dealers and professional booters who are likely to descend as soon as the van doors are open.....(Tip 3, do not accept low offers from these people before you've even got half your stuff out, it'll probably turn up on their table later in the day at twice the price)


So we eventually arrive at the venue, a field I swear is the size of a dozen football pitches and already swarming with cars, vans and people.  We are guided to our spot which is comfortingly close to the bacon butty and coffee van (Tip 4, make a flask and sandwiches... remained unticked, nothing beats a hot bacon butty in a cold field on a Sunday morning).


Happily, we had gone from NO pasting tables at 4 o'clock yesterday to two of them turning up at once from helpful friends, and as they're not as big as you might think, we were very glad of this. However, we hadn't even unfolded the second one when the hagglers descended and someone wanted to know how much I wanted for the two folding chairs. Explaining they were actually for sitting on not for sale, I spotted my daughter looking a tad nervous as three young men were rooting through a box of mobile phones offering her a pound each for them.  Hulking husband brought along for protection in just these circumstances had done a convenient disappearing act (yes I want bacon butties too, but not YET!) so I politely asked if they could come back in ten minutes when everything was unloaded (Tip 5, be polite, tick).  That being completely ignored I abandoned Tip sheet and told them if they didnt back off until we were ready, the mobile phones would be coming home with me.  This worked marginally better and they hovered at a safe distance.


Having unloaded half the van we 'opened for business.'  (Tip 6, don't get everything out at once, all the good stuff will go first and you'll be left with a table full of tat... Tick).  Obviously, the mobile phones were the first things to go.  Half a dozen vintage handbags were snapped up as a job lot. At least a dozen people approached asking if I had jewellery, looked at it and left.  Clearly my old junk jewellery is just that!  It was actually surprising what sold well and what people didn't seem so keen on.  An almost complete make up set in a vanity case, a brand new attache case, an expensive light fitting and a quality lap top bag all attracted a lot of interest, but none were sold (even after reducing the prices later in the day). Shoes were hugely popular, yet many buyers were as happy to pay for Primark as Prada (both of which were for sale).  The large box of clothes marked up as 50p per item attracted little interest, yet when we moved some of it onto the rail charging a pound an item things were just snapped up?!


I snuck away when things quietened down a bit to check out the competition.  Main points I noticed...?  People will buy tat!  I was definitely a bit hasty with my trips to the tip during clearout, people really will buy anything.  Extra income... certainly at a sale this size - there were stalls selling new goods, arts and crafts and home made chutneys, cakes and biscuits.  I'm not sure they would support a whole stall but can certainly boost profits.  Similarly if you are crafty, nursery textiles, bunting, quilt covers, soft wall art etc are simple to make and were going like hot cakes.


By lunchtime I'd had enough.  What we had left was either not particularly special or stuff I wasn't prepared to give away for silly money.  We packed up and left after less than five hours, there were plenty of people still there, and I suspect sellers were still arriving, as were buyers, but I was pooped (car booting is HARD work) and felt we had done pretty well.


So, re-grouping at the pub 15 minutes down the road the moment of truth arrived.  Emptying the bum bag  (almost forgot, Tips 6, 7, 8...have bum bag for money, take plenty of change for float and lots of carrier bags - I don't think any of these would have lost us sales but they certainly made life easier). 


Anyhow.... we were definitely pleased with £165 for what would otherwise have gone at best to the charity shop or at worst to the tip.


Car booting is definitely not for the faint hearted.  It's hard work, steals a Sunday morning from at least two people, and is not going to make you a million.  It is however a great incentive to clear your home, and a much quicker (if less profitable way) than ebay or Gumtree, of getting rid of your unwanted stuff.  Study the market harder and there is definitely potential for making reasonable pin money from regular 'booting.'


Me?  I have stuff left which I will present beautifully at a small table top sale or autumn fair.  I suspect the clientele may be different, ie prepared to pay a bit more but expecting a little more also. So I may have to put jewellery in boxes, smellies in baskets and a few home made items to add to the appeal, but certainly as Christmas looms on the horizon I think this may be worth the effort.


But I have realised there is only one way to make real money from car boot sales, and with this in mind I am currently scouring the classifieds looking for a field for sale.


For details on Chelford Car Boot go to thebestof Macclesfield Events page.

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