Car Boot Sale UK eBay Flipper

Car Boot Sale – UK Flipper Jude Guest Post

Dollar Flipper Inventory Sourcing 4 Comments

Today we have a guest post from Jude who blogs over at Flips and Flops. It’s a fledgling blog, but he has a lot of experience flipping full time. Living the dream!

The best part about his blog is that he’s open and honest with both items that have sold well and items that were a big flop. I’m not a big fan of eBay seller blogs that are like Facebook – only showing the good aspects. I love it when a seller is open and shows the mistakes they make. This helps to set realistic expectations for new sellers as well as help them avoid the same mistakes.

Jude reached out about a collaboration a few weeks ago. He knew that my readers would like to hear about some differences between buying things in the US vs. the UK.

My first question was “what are these car boot sales I always hear about?”

At a quick glance, I assumed a car boot sale is just like a flea market. Jude corrected me. Although they are similar,  there are some differences to expect if you end up buying across the pond. Additionally, Jude provides tips and techniques that will help whichever country you’re shopping in.

And to the question “Why don’t people just have garage sales in the UK?”

“The UK is quite cramped in some places, and most people wouldn’t turn up to a garage sale with just one person. A car boot sale is everyone’s best option if they want to sell stuff, or if they want to find a  lot of sellers in one place.”

Enough jabbering from me. Let’s hand it over to Jude.

*Don’t make a Beatles joke. Don’t make a Beatles joke. Hey Jude is going to be stuck in my head the rest of the day now.*

What is a Car Boot Sale?

Car Boot Sale UK eBay Flipper

I haven’t seen Jude in real life but we’ll go with “spiky orange hair”.

Many British people enjoy car boot sales – both casual shoppers or serious flippers. The whole idea is that people will pack up a car boot (trunk) full of items they don’t want any more. They then travel to a car boot sale location and park up alongside many others doing the same thing. The sellers then proceed to place all their stuff on a table in front of their boot. Once all the traders are set up, the organisers allow the buyers to come into the area. The buyers then wander around the many aisles of tables looking for the kind of item they want to buy. A seller often has to pay to have a table at such an event. Car boot sales are often run by charities or local organisations as a way of fundraising.

When and where are the Car Boot Sales?

Car boot sales occur all across the UK. They often take place in large fields or car parks so that you can fit in a large number of cars. Most car boot sales are on the weekends and bank holidays. Weekly car boot sales are sometimes held during the week too. For a flipper, bank holidays are the best time to hunt due to the high volume of sales. This makes it worth your while to spend a day going around different sales instead of traveling to just one.

Weather is a massive factor for car boot sales. Bad weather is a massive turn off and will often postpone or abandon the sales. It can ruin an event planned months in advance. Even if a sale has been planned for a few months, bad weather on the day will ruin it. With every item in the open, any kind of rain could destroy them. Organisers may cancel an event due to muddy grounds even if it isn’t raining on the day of.

Who attends Car Boot Sales?

You can often see a mixture of people at car boot sales mixing all races, religions, and classes.

Average Buyer – People who attend to find themselves a bargain on something that they want. These people don’t only buy quality, but will buy something for themselves if they like it. They could be looking for something specific too.

Average Seller – The average seller has cleared out some items at their home and is trying to get a bit of extra money for their old junk. They can sometimes have a hidden gem that they don’t notice. They can sometimes put hefty prices on an item because they are not aware of its real value. An average seller is open to negotiation.

Professional Flipper – As well as the normal sellers you can get professional flippers. These are people who buy large job lots of items and sell each individual item. People like this will put out maybe 5 – 10 boxes of items with one price for every item. They are stuck on their price and will rarely change it.

Antique Sellers – When wandering round a sale it is obvious who has the good stuff and who has the bad. The antique sellers have a nice selection of items that are over 40 years old, unlike the other stuff. The prices they ask are a bit more, they also know their items and what they are worth.

Flipper Buyer – These are the people who want to get everything as cheap as possible (like me). They see something they know to be valuable and buy it to sell on again.

Why would you go to a Car Boot Sale?

The main draw is the fact that there are a lot of sellers all in one place. You never know what you are going to find because most of the items are just from house clearances. The biggest draw to me is the way you can haggle. You can chuck around a cheap price for an item, and sometimes you can get it. It all depends on many factors. Does the seller know what it is? Has the seller sold much that day? Is the seller packing up.

Sometimes a seller will be packing up to leave and won’t want to take a lot home again. That is the time to strike!

As a seller, a car boot sale is a no brainer. You will get hundreds of people walking past and looking at your stuff. Sometimes you could wait a week at an antiques centre to get as much footfall as one day at a car boot.

Car Booting Tips

  • Walk around the sale first without looking for specifics.

You can gauge what kind of stuff each seller has, what items are up for sale, and where the best stuff is. If you see something you like go and buy it, but don’t waste time at the beginning rummaging.

  • Stay until the end.

Sellers don’t want to take all their stuff home again so making a cheeky offer at the end of the day may get you a cheap score.

  • Be friendly

The seller can set the price. If they like you they can knock a few quid off. If you annoy them, they can add some money on. You are in the hands of the seller, so be nice!

  • Get there early.

Try to find the time it is starting and get there on the dot. Getting the first look in a box or stall can reap a lot of rewards. Otherwise, someone else could have bought that item.


Ricky Bobby was a big car boot sale fan.

I hope you have found this interesting. Car boot sales are my stomping ground and the place I like to pick up all my bargains. If you are from the UK you too should know the joys of a car boot. If you aren’t, get on over here and take a look!


Once again, I want to thank Jude for reaching out to me and providing such awesome information. Flipping in a completely different country looks to be fun. Check out Flips and Flops if you get a chance and tell Jude ‘Hi’!

Image Credit: Tim Greenfield, David A Olson

Comments 4

  1. That sounds so much better than driving from house to house for garage sales, although it does sound very similar to our swap meet. Unfortunately most stuff at the swap meet is crap.

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      Lol! Flea markets over here. They are not necessarily crap… more of a crap shoot. You need to get there early and need to go to the area that sellers who are only there for the day. Better deals than the regular stalls.

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