Effective Garage Sale Pricing


For effective garage sale pricing, you must consider several factors in addition to the fair market value of your items. Since the perceived value of used items is subjective, getting the most for your goods requires strategy. The first element is your motivation for selling your goods. If you are trying to make money on especially valuable items, you need to research the fair market value of your goods. Finally, your prices must be set high enough to recover advertising and merchandising costs.

Junk Versus Treasure

  • Divide your wares into two categories: junk and treasures. Junk consists of items that you plan to donate or discard if they are not sold in your garage sale. Treasures may have special value, either monetary or sentimental. If you can't imagine discarding or donating a particular item should it fail to sell, the item goes into the treasure pile.

Selling Your Junk

  • Set deeply discounted prices on the items that will likely be donated or discarded if you still have them when the sale is over. Set prices low enough that anyone with even a vague interest in buying the items will not be deterred by the price. While you may not see a large profit on these items, you can feel glad that you have eliminated some clutter and have given someone else a chance to enjoy your wares.

Selling Your Treasures

  • Getting the most for your higher-end items requires special merchandising and a little research. By researching your antique or collectible item, you can get a general idea of its monetary value. Keep in mind that antique retailers often shop garage sales, seeking valuable items at rock-bottom prices. To prepare for negotiation with these savvy shoppers, have a bottom-line price in mind when you set prices on your treasures. Especially valuable items should be attractively displayed and set away from your lower-priced items.

Antiques and Collectibles

  • If a customer shows interest in an item, initiating conversation by offering historical or practical information regarding it can increase the perceived value of the piece. Historical information regarding the item's author, artist, designer or origin places the piece into context for the buyer, especially when you are selling rare or collectible items. Practical information, such as the piece's unique construction or how the item is used, can also make the item more enticing and justify the higher price on the item.

Negotiating Prices

  • Be comfortable with the idea of negotiating prices with customers, especially on higher-end items. Make signs announcing that prices are negotiable. This will allow you to set prices up to 25 percent higher than you plan to actually receive. Some customers are shy about negotiating prices. Without sounding pushy, offer to sell the item at a lower price. Letting the buyer win may encourage additional sales. To further prepare, research bargaining tactics used by buyers.

Bottom and Top Prices

  • To simplify price marking on your lower-value items, either group your items by price or mark the items with small colored stickers. Many buyers are intrigued by the challenge of finding a bargain on an "All Items $1" table. When setting prices on your more treasured items, keep in mind that sentimental value is rarely appreciated by the buyer. Your grandma's hand-knitted afghan may be bought by someone who is looking for a liner for a dog bed.

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