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Do You Need a Permit to Have a Yard Sale?

Yes, you will need a permit to have a yard sale, but it will all depend on your location and state. The cost of a permit is pretty inexpensive, but the cost of a fine can wipe out much of your sale profits.

According to reports, business owners in many cities are required to get a business license or permit to open a business. Some localities include garage sales as businesses. However, just like it was mentioned above, the requirements to get a permit for your garage sale depends on your locality.

For instance, all garage sales in Oklahoma City must have a permit. Other towns and cities might not be this strict, but check with your locality before you put your garage sale ad in the newspaper.

And be aware that your town or city might also regulate the placement of garage sale signs. If you have many more garage sales in a year, you might get a visit from a city official asking to see your business license. Again, it depends on the regulations of your city, so check before you start having a garage sale on a regular basis.

In addition, many places in the United States require permits for publicly advertised sales on private property. Before you get too deep into the planning process, always check with your city or county government website to determine whether you need one.

If you do, you can almost certainly apply online. Most locales may not even charge application fees, but don’t let that propel you into thinking the authorities look the other way at illegal garage sales. You could be looking at fines well into the three – figure territory if you are caught running an unpermitted sale.

In addition, if you live in an HOA community, check with the board about garage sale rules and regulations. Many HOAs don’t allow garage sales at all or have strict rules about timing, duration, location, and other aspects.

10 Essential Steps for a Successful Yard Sale in the United States

Organizing a garage sale is no easy feat. If you don’t plan and execute the event properly, there’s a huge real chance it will pass more or less unnoticed, leaving you with a bit less cash, a lot less self – respect, and a mountain of unsold inventory.

Howbeit, planning and pulling off a profitable garage sale doesn’t require a marketing degree or MBA. You will earn more and stress less when you follow this straightforward steps.

1. Choose Your Time and Date

Do not forget there are pros and cons to each season, but one of the best time for hosting your sale is early spring, when it is just starting to warm up. People don’t want to shop in the frigid cold or the heat of summer. If spring isn’t possible for you, early fall can also be a successful time of the year.

Also note that having your sale on a Saturday or Sunday will bring you the most customers, so these days are almost always the most profitable. The exception is if you have very high end merchandise. In that case, hosting a Friday sale is a better bet to attract antiques dealers and well – to – do retirees.

Additionally, if you are an early bird, open at 7:30 am to get those eager shoppers. But if you need to sleep in a little more, you can open closer to 9:30 or 10:00 am. However, it is definitely beneficial to open in the morning and get the eager shoppers.

Not only that, yard sale aficionados tend to arrive as early as they can, whether it is the advertised start time or not, so you may not get to sleep in even if you try! After your opening time is decided, you need to choose how long you want your sale to be.

If you have a small yard sale set up, you can keep it down to four hours. A larger yard sale should be around six to eight hours.

2. The Importance of Location

Always remember that your location is extremely crucial to the success of your yard sale. If you live in a rural area, consider asking a friend or family member in a more populated area if you can host the yard sale at their house. Foot traffic is very necessary to a yard sale’s success, so keep in mind that people won’t want to drive out into the country to shop at your sale.

3. Know What You Want To Sell

Take your time to go through your house room by room and pick out items you want to sell. Indeed you might be overwhelmed at what some people will buy, so everything in good condition is fair game.

Used but working tools and hardware, DVDs, unbroken dishes, gently used clothing, and furniture are just a few examples of what you can sell. However, while you want to sell as much as you can, don’t set out everything! Customers dislike rummaging through boxes of random items and they won’t buy anything broken. Pick out your nicer things to sell.

4. Be Prepared

When choosing or picking what you want to sell, it is necessary that you stay organized and categorize every item. It will be a hassle and a waste of your time if you have to sort through one big pile of stuff to sell, rather than categorizing as you go.

This can’t be stressed enough! Stay organized and be prepared! For instance, you can make a category for dishes, pots, baby clothes, adult clothes, toys, technology, etc. You’ll save time by staying organized throughout the entire process.

5. Choose the Right Price

Do not forget that your merchandise is expected to have clear prices labelled. Customers get shy and are less likely to buy things if they have to come up with the price themselves and bargain for it. Always be smart with your pricing and don’t sell an item for its original retail value even if it is brand new.

If you have something brand new, price it around 50 percent retail value so customers feel like they’re getting a deal. Something slightly used should be priced at 30 percent retail value and well used items priced at 10 percent retail value.

However, if you enjoy bargaining, price your merchandise slightly higher than the 50 percent, 30 percent, 10 percent rule. This way, if a customer really wants to bargain, you have a little room to bring the price down.

This is a risky move since most customers don’t like to bargain, so pricing your items higher may discourage them from buying. Ensure you have all of your prices round to an easily calculated number. Make them end in .00, .25, .50, or .75, which will make it easier for you to make change as well.

6. Advertise and Create Awareness

Have it in mind that getting the word out is a very important step to having a successful yard sale. Get your friends and family to spread the word, get an ad in a local newspaper, post on social media, make flyers, or post on Craigslist.

If you are cautious about giving out your address to Craigslist, give the location of a nearby street then tell them to follow the signs. When you post to Craigslist include some pictures of your biggest ticket items to entice buyers.

Also remember to make signs that have clear, visible, and bold lettering. Include bright colours to attract attention. Always make sure your signs have “Yard Sale” printed legibly on them, along with the date, time, and location. Spread the signs throughout your area with arrows pointing towards your yard sale.

7. Get Help

Do not forget that hosting a yard sale is hard work so enlist the help of family members or friends. They can help with lifting heavy inventory, working checkout, or running errands. Also, if you have kids it is hard to keep track of them and monitor the yard sale. Ask family, friends, a babysitter, or a nanny to take them for the day.

8. Create a Good Layout

Never put anything on the ground! Merchandise on the ground simply doesn’t sell because customers tend to find it hard to bend over or get on their knees to look at items. Also merchandise on the ground is associated with being dirty or of less quality.

You can borrow tables or set things up on shelves, just get it off the ground! To attract customers, you will have to place your big ticket items near the entrance. Make sure these items are also visible to cars passing by – if they can see items they want from the road they are more likely to stop by.

Also, when displaying clothes, it is advisable you try to organize them by size and gender. Hang clothes up and remember that customers can get overwhelmed if they see a rack overstuffed with clothes.

So, choose the nicer clothes to display and if some outfits get bought up you can restock the rack. Baby clothes and pants can be folded neatly on a table. Generally, have everything displayed by category, clearly visible, and looking clean.

9. Exceed Expectations

According to reports, entertainment is a wonderful way to keep customers shopping or make some extra cash. You can have your kids set up a lemonade stand or sell homemade cookies. No matter what you offer, customers will appreciate the offer and keep shopping while they eat.

Also note that a kids table will help keep the children occupied while their parents shop around. It is simple to set up – just place out a few colouring books and some crayons. Preoccupied children means the parents have more time to shop around!

10. Create an Easy Checkout

Always have extra cash on you at the start of your day because not everyone will have exact change. Have a considerable amount of ones, fives, and tens. Remember not to keep your money in a cashbox where it is easy to steal. Keep your hard earned money close to your person in an apron or fanny pack. For easy transport have plastic bags handy.

This will enable your customers carry everything they bought and they will deeply appreciate it. Newspaper is crucial for selling anything breakable. If a customer wants to buy a fragile dish, wrap it up in some newspaper to avoid it breaking during transport.


Note that having one garage sale or yard sale a year doesn’t make you a business. But it might make you subject to taxes and local regulations, depending on the state where you live and have that sale. However, it is always advisable you check with your city and county offices to understand the basic requirements of hosting a yard sale. Also consider the above mentioned tips to ensure you have a good and successful yard sale.