How to Run an Indoor Car Boot Sale Within A High-Rise Car Park
This is a short guide on how to run an indoor car boot sale within a high-rise car park.
Car boot sales have been a successful and prominent component of alternative trading in the UK for a number of years and have become a popular permanent fixture on sites throughout the country.
The public will get up surprisingly early on a weekend in response to the lure of yet another bargain hunt, the chance of getting rid of longstanding ‘junk’ in the house and making some money or finding that ‘unremarkable object’ that turns out to be an extremely profitable ‘earner’ when sold on.
The attraction of an indoor site for the seller is two-fold. Firstly, the shelter provides a much more comfortable environment for both buyer and seller and secondly, individual buyers are more likely to spend more time at the sale since they are under cover and will turn up in consistently higher numbers. As you can imagine, time spent by individuals at outdoor car boot sales is noticeably shorter in poor weather conditions.
High-rise car parks are an excellent option if you can get permission for use as they are normally right in the centre of towns and cities and therefore attract more passing public. Permission to run the indoor car boot sale should be sought from the owner of the car park and health and safety, insurances and licence issues discussed as well. You will also have to get permission plus a licence from the relevant council to run an indoor car boot sale on the premises.
The owners or management of the indoor car park space you are proposing to use must be persuaded that there are measurable benefits and profits to be gained from their participation. Profit will derive from one or both of two income sources. The buyers attending each sale will pay the normal parking fees for using the car park and this will go directly to the management company. This will be supplemented, if necessary, by a payment of a percentage of the seller’s pitch fees subject to negotiation.
Be sure that, whatever the apportioning of monies under discussion with the owner of the premises, you come out making a profit that you are happy with. If it is less than you are happy with to start out, you can review your profits over time and leave the door open for further discussions with the management of the premises at a future date. Instigate a ‘trial period’ so that nothing is set in stone until you see how a few boot sales perform. Remember they have to take you on trust at the start and see if you perform successfully so initially they may just permit one weekend out of every month. Thus, when they see that this is turning out to be a well-run, profitable, attractive event in their calendar they will give you more weekend dates to fulfil and more leeway with profit percentages.
On the day of the indoor car boot sale you must clearly delineate and separate the levels off between sellers and the public. The best scenario is to allow the public to enter into the high-rise car park as normal wherein an attendant will give them a token and they leave and pay as normal for the time they have parked there on their way out after inserting the token in the slot. Generally, the layout must ensure that there will be no moving traffic in the area designated to the sale while the buyers are present.
For the organiser, the indoor car boot sale conventionally provides income from the sellers only. Sometimes an admission fee can be charged to the public in smaller communities, like village halls for instance, although this can be offset by declaring that a percentage of the entrance fee will go towards a charity of choice. Sellers will usually pay a set fee for a ‘pitch’ in the same manner as a market stall holder. In many cases sellers are regular traders who will attend the same sale every week and the remaining sellers will comprise individuals who are taking an opportunity to clear out an accumulation of unused or unwanted household goods.
A most important issue for discussion to add towards the ‘feel good factor’ of indoor car boot sales, is to ensure that, besides well-signed, organized parking for both sellers and buyers alike, that there are good toilet facilities and mobile catering units on offer to the public. This will keep the public in the building for longer if these facilities are provided. Need it also be pointed out that you leave the car park premises in as clean a condition as you started out, or even tidier, since you are trying to make a good impression? Leave the premises devoid of litter and exactly how you found them. It will be up to you what staff you can afford (hopefully the ever-cheerful, cut-rate family and friends!) to help you carry out the smooth and seamless running of your event.
Finally, do not forget that your indoor car boot sale is only as good as it is advertised in the first place. Initial and ongoing advertising of the sale will be crucial to its chances of success. To some degree there will be a lesser need for this as the venue becomes well-established but it is likely that, as time goes on, the same level of advertising applied to a widening geographical area will be used to develop a consistent level of growth in the first three years of trading. You could consistently distribute leaflets on the day to the public and place inserts in local newspapers prior to the event. In addition to this, you may want to consider local radio advertising and press releases on the internet.