With car show season ramping up, a lot of us are looking forward to hitting a swap meet. The list of what you can find at a swap meet is endless. To the novice, here are a few tips that will help you at your first swap meet as a buyer:
1. Get there early (while they are setting up). You may not get the best deal but you may get the only grill for a ‘51 Hudson.
2. Prepare your wallet. Only take what you want to spend. You are dealing with cash transactions. Have enough to buy the things you’re looking for but don’t take too much. You might just end up with some junk you don’t need, and probably won’t be able to get rid of later.
3. Bring a vehicle with proper storing capacity. Don’t drive your Mustang or Firebird to a swap meet if you are looking for hoods, fenders, wheels, engine parts, etc.
4. Cart it. One of the best things you can do is pull a cart or wagon. When you end up buying something, it is easier to walk around and you don’t have to take repeated trips to the car.
5. Don’t be afraid to make an offer on something. It may have a price tag of $50, but you can offer $30. He may have been carrying that part around for years and is finally ready to cut it lose at any price. Or he may come back with a counter offer of $40. Then you can say, how about we split the difference and go $35?
6. Save impulse buys for the end of the swap meet. The worst thing you can do is buy something that you don’t really need, come across what you were actually looking for later and not have enough money to buy it!
7. Stay to the end! Some of the best deals happen at the end of a swap meet. People don’t want to load up all those parts, so they will cut a deal. Especially heavy parts. Make offers, you never know. Sometimes you can buy a bunch of parts at a bargain price. I don’t know how many times I have seen someone offer to buy everything that someone has left. That seller is usually ecstatic because that means they don’t have to load anything back up!
Hopefully you will enjoy swap meets as much as I do. Haggling on price, searching for that long lost part for your classic car or that vintage sign for your garage, all while hanging out with car people. It doesn’t get much better than that!