As I mentioned in my Tricky Topic post last year, pricing is a difficult topic to tackle. The approach you take to pricing will be different for garage sales than if you were planning to sell something online or locally, on Craigslist or your local want ads.
When setting prices for a garage sale you need to keep a few things in mind.
- People who shop at garage sales are generally looking for bargains. They are not going to pay top dollar for an item. If you want top dollar then you should look to sell that item another way.
- Research the prices of your item to see what it’s going for online (Ebay, Amazon, etc.) or Craigslist. If you were planning on selling your item for $5 at the garage sale and the going rate on Ebay is $50, then maybe you can raise your price to $25 and hope to sell it locally and save yourself the hassle of selling online. I’ve even seen people set out a printout of an Ebay listing to show garage sale shoppers what an item is worth. I would recommend that you try selling the item online, prior to the sale, in the hopes of getting a good price. If it doesn’t sell online you can always use the garage sale as a backup means of unloading your item.
- Leave room in your price for negotiation or price lowering. Assume that people are going to try to get you to lower your price.
- In my blog on pricing for local selling, I introduced the concepts of Happy Price and Lowest Price. Happy Price is the selling price price that would make you happy. A Happy Price is usually paid by someone who has a special interest in the item you’re selling. Lowest Price is the absolute lowest price you’d be willing to sell your item for. For your garage sale, always set your asking price to somewhere above your lowest price. I like to start my asking price at a certain level with the understanding that someone may bargain me down a bit or else I may lower my asking price later in my sale in the hopes of getting someone to by my item. Never start at your lowest price because the price will always go down from there.
- At the beginning of a sale, people may ask if you’re willing to lower your price. My reply is usually “It’s early yet, I’m going to stick with my price. I may decide to lower it later in the day (or the following day). Feel free to come back later with your offer.”
- Think about grouping items for easier selling. The purpose is to make sure all related items go together, for example a doll with a couple of accessories that may not have much value when sold individually. With the items grouped together, people may feel the purchase offers a better value.
- Offer discounts for volume purchase. Best example of this is books. Offer them $.50 each or 5/$2 or 10/$3.50. Incent people to buy multiples.
- Offer free items when purchases reach a certain threshold. Free stuffed animal if you purchase $10 or more of items.
- Very important: make sure the price of items is clear. Do this with labels on individual items or signs saying everything on a table is 25 cents for example. Keep in mind that if items are not individually labeled, then you need a way to make sure the item someone is buying came from the $1 table not the $.50 box. When I go to a garage sale and I can’t tell how much items cost I may not bother asking and instead walk away. You don’t want that to happen at your sale.
- As the sale progresses, consider lowering your price on items. I’ve seen people slash their prices in half the 2nd or 3rd day.
- And don’t forget to give away free stuff and make everyone happy.