How To Price Garage Sale Item

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 10 minute read

It’s common for me to shop at garage sales. Many of them I’ve been to, and I’ve learned how to judge if a specific sale is good or bad before I spend any time searching through the items. If you’re at a sale, and nothing has price tags on it, that’s a huge red signal in my book.

This indicates that the vendor hasn’t put much effort into the sale. The things are likely to be disorganized, and even if I locate something worth purchasing, I’ll have to track down the vendor to find out how much it costs. It’s also unlikely to be worth it, considering how little consideration they’ve put into pricing.

A garage sale can’t succeed if you’re scaring away potential buyers with excessive or ambiguous prices. Your best bet is to make your prices as tempting as possible in order to entice them to part with their cash.

How to Price Items at Your Garage Sale

Shoppers in general, and garage sale goers in particular, are always on the lookout for a good deal. It’s why they’re prepared to spend hours of their weekend traveling long distances only to get a glimpse of a potential sale, or walking through their neighborhood in search of the greatest prices.

As a result, while there are numerous methods to make your garage sale more enticing, the price tag will have the greatest influence on your actual sales. It might make the difference between turning your clutter into cash and having to take it all up to the attic if you price your things correctly while still giving space for bargaining

  1. Knowing Your Goal

Consider the goal of your yard sale before settling on a pricing point for your goods. Maximizing your revenues or getting rid of the clutter is more essential to you.

For example, if you’re going to relocate or add a new member to your family, you’ll want to get rid of as many of your belongings as possible. The easiest way to attain this aim is to sell your products at a discount – not only below retail, but also below the prices of thrift stores and flea markets.

However, if your primary objective is to make additional money, pricing your products might be more difficult. Shoppers are eager to spend the utmost amount possible, but you don’t want to scare them away by charging too much. You need to do some research on average garage sale prices in your region in order to achieve this delicate balance.

  1. Online Price Comparison

Don’t base your yard sale prices on what they mean to you while you’re determining the prices of your products. It doesn’t matter if you bought $200 for that designer suit or if your Great Aunt Louise gave you those porcelain teacups as a wedding present. The only thing that matters to them is the price.

Do some research to discover the prices purchasers are willing to pay. If you’re looking to buy high-end products like antique clothes or furnishings, check out postings on Craigslist and eBay. An appraiser’s opinion may help you determine the true value of your valuables, such as antiques or jewelry, before you put a price on them.

Even during a garage sale, where everyone is trying to get a deal, don’t expect that you can sell your assets for their market value. Instead, print up an eBay record for a similar item and tape it to your lower-priced product to demonstrate to consumers that they’re receiving a terrific bargain.

Refrain from putting an item up for sale if its value is high and instead try to sell it online. In contrast to yard sales, when buyers demand rock-bottom pricing, you have a higher chance of receiving a reasonable price this way.

  1. Examine Local Sale Prices

Yard sale prices can vary greatly from area to region, according to recommendations issued by Real Simple and The Spruce. As a novice garage sale buyer, a brief reconnaissance trip will help you get a better idea of the costs you can expect at your local yard sales.

To begin, look for nearby sales on websites such as Yard Sale Search and Yard Sale Treasure Map, which may help you locate them. Once you’ve visited a few, have a look at their prices for items similar to the ones you’re selling. Visiting a few second hand stores in the area might also yield helpful information.

As a general rule of thumb, don’t charge more than one-quarter to one-third of what a similar product would cost to purchase new if you can’t locate it at local sales. This guideline, however, is subject to change based on the product being sold.

It’s based on guidelines like Real Simple, The Spruce and Angi (previously Angie’s List) that benchmark costs for certain commodities such

  • Adult clothing normally sells for $3 to $5 per item. However, brand-new items with tags might command a higher price.
  • Winter coats and jackets are more expensive, ranging from $5 to $15 per item, with heavier winter coats and designer jackets being the most expensive.
  • Baby garments may be sold for $1 to $3 each piece if they are lightly used, or $0.25 to $0.50 if they are worn.
  • Adult shoes can range in price from $3 to $10 each pair, depending on the brand and condition. Baby and toddler sneakers are unlikely to be worth more than $1 or $2.
  • Costume jewelry is normally priced between $0.50 to $2 per piece.
  • Hardcover books often retail for roughly $1 — maybe $2 for larger tomes.
  • Paperbacks are less expensive, costing $0.25 to $0.50 apiece. Large coffee table books or rare novels that might appeal to collectors, on the other hand, can command a higher price.
  • Vinyl records, previously thought to be obsolete, are now again becoming collectibles. Records that are rare and in superb condition can be priced at roughly $2 apiece or more. You might also try boxing up records and selling them a lot, particularly if they are older sorts like 45s.
  • CDs and DVDs, which are still considered current technology, may sell for $1 to $5 each. Cassette and VHS cassettes, which are essentially outdated, are unlikely to sell for more than $1 each.
  • Electronics and computer equipment often adhere to the one-third rule. New electronics in their original packaging, on the other hand, may sell for up to half their retail price.
  • Low-quality furniture, such as battered hand-me-downs or Ikea furniture, can range from $5 to $30, depending on size and condition. Furniture that is sturdy and ready to use will most likely sell for one-third of its original price. A sofa may cost $150 to $300, a coffee table $50 to $100, or a dining chair $25 to $150.
  • Small decorative things, such as cushions and vases, often sell for $2 to $7, depending on size and condition. Wall art and mirrors are more valuable: tiny ones can be valued up to $10, while huge ones can be worth up to $100. In excellent condition, working lamps should be worth $5 to $10.
  • Tableware. Plain dishes range in price from $1 to $3 a piece. China is more valuable, with dishes ranging from $1 to $10. If you sell your dishes in sets, an eight-piece set can be worth between $5 and $30. A whole set of silverware is valued between $3 and $5, while individual pieces are only worth about $0.25.
  • Antiques of any type — furniture, housewares, tableware — are an exception. Antiques, unlike most used items, may be sold at yard sales for their full market worth, which is frequently $100 or more. It’s a good idea to get your antiques assessed ahead of time. Check their worth on eBay at the very least to determine how to price them.
  • Kitchen gadgets, such as blenders and food processors, can sell for up to a third of their retail price. Smaller kitchen equipment like lemon squeezers or whisks can cost $1 to $5, with lower pricing for more esoteric items that fewer people will want.
  • Toys and Games. Kids toys are often inexpensive at yard sales, ranging between $1 and $3 depending on condition. It depends on the sort of game. Checkers and Monopoly, for example, are unlikely to be valued more than $1 each. Electronic games and high-end board games, on the other hand, such as Gloomhaven and Scythe, which may cost up to $80 new, can sell for $5 or more. True antique games, which may be called collectibles, can command substantially higher prices based on eBay selling prices.
  1. Clearly Price Merchandise

Label each item individually with a sticker that clearly reveals the price to make prices plain to your clients. Putting labels on each item at your sale may appear to be a lot of effort, but it will save you time on the day of the sale. Without clear labeling, you’ll spend the most of your day answering questions from customers about what items coexist.

Refrain from using price stickers that are color-coded for the same reason. Blue stickers for $0.25, green for $0.50, and yellow for $1 would save a lot of time, it seems. This will save you from having to write down all of the costs one by one.

Because of the labels, you’ll have to explain them to customers over and over again. Even if you display a chart, most clients won’t be able to retain the information and will continue to contact you for clarification on pricing. Pricing each item separately saves time in the long run.

Assign a prominent location to each item’s price tag. Masking tape is less expensive, but some garage sale gurus advocate using brightly colored price tags to draw attention. Instead of buying individual stickers, I like to use blue painter’s tape because it is less expensive and still easy to see. It’s also a breeze to get rid of once you’re done using it.

A single sign reading, “Books: $1 apiece” might be placed on a table with a bunch of identical things that you wish to sell for the same price. Pricing in this manner works well for tiny and easily identified items like books and cd’s, shoes and teacups. If you provide discounts for multiple purchases, such as six books for $5, you can entice customers to make more than one purchase.

When it comes to pricing specific things, it’s preferable to go that route. Saving time by combining unrelated items and labeling them “$5 apiece” may sound appealing, but this tactic might backfire. As the day progresses, things move around, and a $5 item may find itself on the $10 table, where no one will notice it.

You may wind up with a $5 item on the $1 table. Whatever the initial price was meant to be, customers who felt they were receiving a great bargain will be upset if you reveal the true price.

Customers might even purposefully shift items from the $10 to the $1 tables in an attempt at acquiring them for less than they’re worth. It is possible to eliminate this issue by placing distinct price labels on each item.

  1. Factor in Flaws

Do not try to hide faults that cannot be removed with a decent cleaning, such as a crack or chip in the paint. Customers at garage sales are intelligent, and they’ll be turned off your sale if they learn that you’re attempting to play a trick on them.

Instead, include a note on the item stating that it has a problem, such as “light does not function,” and charge a premium for it. A few little problems (or huge ones) won’t prevent the hardcore DIY community from purchasing your product, and your honesty will be appreciated by the buyer.

  1. Be Flexible on Prices

For example, the price you put on a tag isn’t necessarily the price purchasers should anticipate to pay. Garage sale buyers are folks who appreciate a deal, and they’re not hesitant about attempting to haggle for a lesser price.

Setting the initial costs a bit higher than necessary helps allow for this proclivity for bargaining. However, if you go far with this strategy, it might backfire. Some consumers aren’t interested in negotiating, and they’ll just walk away from an item that appears pricey.

According to The Spruce, a fair compromise is to price products 15 percent to 20 percent over the least you’d tolerate. While it’s low enough to prevent frightening away purchasers, it’s also high enough to allow for some bargaining. Customers who offer you $5 will feel that they’ve gotten a great deal, and you’ll still obtain the price you want if you price anything at $6.

However, there may be a few products that you choose to set a fixed price rather than open the door to negotiation. Even if you know that your rare record is worth $20 on eBay, you may not be prepared to take less money for it. Buyers won’t waste their time or yours negotiating if you add the term “firm” to the label, such as “$20 firm.”

As the day rolls on, you’re likely to witness the early rush of consumers diminish to a trickle. Think about lowering your prices, not simply by accepting lesser offers, but also by removing the price tags from your products. But it is better than nothing to obtain a set of dishes for $5 than it is to get $10 worth of dishes.

  1. Get a Free Box

Why not just give away a bunch of modest items you know won’t bring in much money? Put everything in one package and mark it “free” in big, bold characters.

The term “free” alone draws people’s attention. It has the potential to attract customers who would otherwise pass by a deal without pausing. Once they’ve stopped, there’s a larger chance they’ll look at your other items as well, and these extra sales can more than compensate for the handful of nickels and dimes you may have gotten for your freebies.

Small toys, such as those seen at fast-food restaurants, are ideal candidates for the free box. They’re not worth much in any case, and they draw the attention of children with no money to spend. When their children make a beeline for the toys in the free box, the parents are more likely to stop and look around the remainder of the sale.

Bottom Line

In the event of a successful garage sale, it’s quite unlikely that every item on your tables will be sold. The leftovers must be disposed of in a different way if you don’t want to lug them back inside and keep them for the next sale.

If you’ve got high-end items that haven’t found a buyer, consider listing them for sale on an online auction site. Donating, on the other hand, is a quicker solution if you simply want the clutter out of your home. There are several charities, like Goodwill and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), who take used clothes and furniture donations. Your local Freecycle club can help you find a new home for unwanted items.

Having a garage sale is a great way to get rid of unwanted items and make some money. You can conclude the day with more of the latter and fewer of the former if you price your item correctly and show it attractively.

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