How to Barter as a Garage Sale Host

Knowing how to barter effectively is a valuable skill no matter what you do -- in the workplace, in a foreign country, at a farmer's market, or even with your children.  It is especially valuable as someone holding a garage sale, as many of the shoppers will not just pay you the listed price and go (unless they know you've put it much lower than it should be).  So here are five tips to help you be the best barterer and get the money your items are worth while not losing customers.

A 50% off price tag.Be Reasonable

Some yard sale items start at prices so outrageous that one look and a potential customer scoffs and walks away.  The first step in being a good barterer is not to set your starting price so high that no one wants to try and drive a bargain with you.  It's best to put the prices just higher than you're willing to take for them, and then allow people to talk you down.  And be reasonable when someone gives you their best offer; don't just turn them down right away -- consider whether it's worth losing the sale altogether to say no.

Be Flexible

Bartering involves a back-and-forth dialogue about pricing.  In order to even enter into that dialogue, you have to be flexible, willing to lower your price and make a counter offer.  If your item was priced at $3, and the shopper offers $1, consider going down by a quarter or 50¢.  Continue to barter until you reach an agreement, or (hopefully not!) the shopper decides it isn't worth the hassle and decides to leave.  To avoid losing sales, flexibility is key.

Be Firm

There may be some items you aren't willing to go lower on.  For these, don't be afraid to be firm and even a little stubborn.  Inform your customer that you could get a good deal for it at a pawn shop or secondhand store, and that you aren't afraid to set it aside and take it in if they don't want to pay a fair price for it.  Being firm also comes in handy if a customer becomes angry and starts to threaten you; a calm but firm disposition can turn them away better than becoming similarly enraged.

Be Savvy

If someone refuses to pay the price you've set for an item, but wants to purchase something else, consider making it a bulk rate: tell them they can have both items for X amount of dollars.  Throw in something else useful or beneficial, such as delivery, or tell them you'll hold the item for a few days for them.

Be Considerate

Garage salers come from all walks of life, all cultures, and all economical statuses, so it is important to treat all customers equally.  Some may be more demanding than others, but never let that get you worked up to the point that you are personally offended.  Stay calm and pleasant; keep your voice reasonable in tone; and don't resort to swearing or silly comments, even if a customer is.  In that case, just politely ask them to leave.

And don't forget to be smart when it comes to advertising your garage sale!  Join today to freely list your date, time, and location with the world's biggest online garage sale community.

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