Best early bird strategies

The early bird catches the worm. Serious garage sale shoppers, second-hand dealers and collectors know that you need to be at a garage sale early to snap up the treasures before anyone else can. It is very competitive and they will do anything to get in first. Some will arrive one to two hours before your advertised start time while some will try to see what you have for sale a day or two before your sale!

Do you allow early birds to "jump the queue" or do you have them wait like everyone else?

Reasons to allow early birds:

Reasons not to allow early birds:

How to foil early birds

If your garage is big enough, you may be able to set up most of your tables and displays behind the closed garage door or high fence. You haven't included your house number in the ads or signs, just the street name so early birds have no way of knowing which house it is. Then, right on your start time, open the garage door and quickly carry out your tables and displays for outside the garage and put up your sign/s at the front of the house so everyone can now see which house it is.

How to make early birds think twice

If your garage isn't big enough to allow you to set up behind closed doors, then if you decide not to allow early birds, include this in all your advertising:

"Early birds will be considered rude and inconsiderate and will be asked to leave the owner's private property until the advertised open time."


"No early birds allowed because it just wouldn't be fair to the other shoppers who waited until the opening time."

It won't stop them all but maybe it will make them think twice. You will still need to be firm with the ones that show early and not let them in. See the next tip.

Stand your ground

If you have advertised "No Early birds" then do not allow any early birds to even browse through your sale before the open time. If you weaken and let them in then this is rude and inconsiderate towards those who respected your wishes and waited. If these people see that you have allowed early birds, I wouldn't be surprised if they turned around and left without buying anything.

Ways to keep them waiting while you set up

If you can't beat 'em...

If your garage is big enough to have most of your inventory browsable before you bring the tables out and arrange things better, consider including in your ad that early birds are welcome but will need to pay a non-refundable $10 "early bird fee" to enter. This works best if you have people helping you set up while the early birds browse & buy. This way you still make sales, hopefully there will be a few early birds at the same time to generate some competition (ie they are more likely to pay your asking price before someone else snaps up the item) and you get a little extra bonus too.

If you still can't beat 'em...

I have 2 simple ways I have used to actually attract early birds and make them want to pay MY prices! You're sure to make sales at top-dollar prices that will put a smile on your face. For more details of this tip and other money-making tips, just download your own copy of the Best Garage Sale Tips ebook.


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