This past Friday, I took a group of people out garage sailing. Normally I go treasure hunting with my family, but I had offered my services to raise money for a charity, and thus scheduled four solid hours of garage sailing with a group of eager treasure hunters. This was an interesting experience for me because I typically go to garage sales on Saturdays and have always professed them to be the best day for bargain hunters. What I learned, however, blew my mind.
Friday’s are officially the new Saturday in garage sales.
It’s as if no one works on Fridays during the summer time anymore. It was amazing - garage sales all over and tons of shoppers. That having been said, I’m officially converting to Friday morning garage sales.
I contacted my group of shoppers earlier in the week and advised them of a few preliminary steps they should take before Friday morning.
- Have the Tag Sell It app downloaded to find out where we needed to go.
- The eBay app needs to be loaded on your smart phone as well in order to help you look up prices/values of items.
- A magnifying glass can be extremely helpful (and definitely was on this trip).
- Make sure you have lots of $1s and $5s available. This makes it much easier to negotiate.
I gave a number of negotiating tips to my group as well. One of which is that when someone makes you an overly fair offer on something, it’s okay to accept it. A lot of buyers feels that when someone makes them an offer, no matter how good of an offer it might be, they still need to beat them down to a lower price. Don’t feel bad accepting an offer that’s more than fair. It’s great when both people can feel good about the deal.
With that having been said, if the offer isn’t quite low enough, it is always appropriate to ask if the person selling the item can go lower. Even if you feel nervous about doing this – my Friday group certainly did at first – all you need to learn is one simple line: “Can you do any better?” This line will almost always save you money. On Friday, it saved the group about 20% every time they used it.
The last thing I stressed with my group is the most important: garage sailing is fun. Don’t lose site of this, not matter what kind of negotiating you have to do.
Here’s a quick run-down of the best treasures found from the day:
- One woman desperately needed a dog cage for her new puppy. She was getting ready to spend $100 for a new one from a big name pet store. On Friday, she found one in almost perfect condition for $5. Not only that, it was even better model than the one she had been looking at. She tried to negotiate the price down a dollar or two, but the seller would not budge. This was definitely an occasion when the price was already a great deal, so she went ahead and bought it for the original asking price.
- I found a great collection of Dr Seuss books for my son. The asking price was $1 each, but since I was taking the whole lot, I was able to negotiate the price down to 50cents a book, which I felt was an excellent deal.
- I also found an antique map from 1867. The seller offered it to me for $1, which I didn’t feel the need to negotiate down. After a quick look at my smart phone, I knew the map was on eBay for $220. I may not be able to get that full value (keep in mind that I only checked the selling prices, not the completed listings section), but if I can get even half of that, it was a great deal.
- The best find of the day was a complete flatware set from the 1950s. It came from Korea and was brought over by somone’s father during the Korean war. It was in beautiful condition, and the seller was asking $30. One of the women in the group negotiated them down to $12 for the complete set. After another quick look at eBay, we found that the same set is selling for $513.
Good luck and happy hunting.