Did you know that there are now more phones on the planet than there are people? That's a bit wild to think about. But what that means is there's a huge potential to buy and resell phones for profit. Not everyone can buy Apple's latest shiny tech. So the next best option for millions of people is to buy second hand at a discount. That's where you – the phone flipper – come in to earn a profit!
The business of phone flipping is not complex per se. But it's not easy money, either. Like with anything you flip, whether it be houses, cars, or watches, the bottom-line strategy to flip items for profit is to buy low – ideally below the market value – and selling it higher. The margin doesn't have to be so big that you can't resell quickly. Flippers who earn consistently usually sell at fair prices, thus earning themselves a good reputation and possibly even repeat business. When you sell phones, you'll need to consider the type, damage, initial investment, beware of scams, and much more, which I will detail down below.
Here's a complete guide for how to make money flipping phones for profit in 2021 and beyond.
Table of Contents
How To Make Money Flipping Phones For Profit
Where To Find Phones To Flip
One of the first steps of flipping for profit is to find the product at a low cost. If you don't have any extra money to invest upfront on buying a used phone, consider your immediate circle. Chances are, even you have a few old phones lying around in a drawer somewhere.
If not, your friends or family will! You don't have to start out big for your first flip. Practicing the process from start to finish will help you gain experience so you can later flip phones for a bigger profit margin. So start in any way you can, even if it means only pocketing twenty bucks.
Beyond your inner circle, you could reach out to your community by posting on your Facebook. Instagram, or Twitter. More often than not, people would be happy to sell their old phones to you just to get rid of them. And they'll most likely undersell it or even give it to you for free. If you still have no luck, then widen your search by checking these best places to find phones to flip.
Letgo is an app that allows you to search, buy, and sell items locally.
Craigslist you know of already, and it's hands-down one of the leading places online to find used phones to flip.
Facebook Marketplace is another popular choice for finding phones to flip with options to search for used Apple, Samsung, and LG phones.
eBay is getting outdated for flipping as there are more scams and fewer gems to find, but you can still test it out.
Swappa is the place to check for buying secondhand, gently used electronics such as phones, computers, video game consoles, cameras, and more.
Gazelle is probably the best place to find a phone to resell since this company was founded for that purpose. On Gazelle, phones are certified so you don't get into trouble with buying and reselling anyone's stolen device.
Amazon might seem like an unlikely place to find buy old phones, but there are several Amazon Seller accounts in the business of selling old, refurbished phones which you can buy, fix up, and resell for a profit.
Pawnshops and other flea market-type stores possibly have great phones hidden on their shelves. You'll likely find battered phones in these places, but that's nothing a new screen can't take care of if you're willing to pay the fee to fix it.
What To Check For When Buying Used Phones To Flip
The best phones for flipping will be ones that have the cleanest history, much like a car report. So what does a good phone history look like? When scouring the market for the best phone to flip, make sure to consider the following:
- Zero water damage
- Legitimate serial number
- No company contract
It will be hard to discern if a phone has water damage, especially with phone models that you can't remove the battery from. Checking or asking for a serial number (or called an ESN or IMEI) ensures you're not buying a reported lost or stolen phone. Unlocked phones are the highest in demand because they can be reactivated with any carrier or SIM the new owner chooses.
Best Phone Brands For Flipping
Besides the condition of the phone itself, what are the best phone brands to buy for flipping?
As you may have already guessed, iPhones are perhaps the ultimate phone to flip. The company is always reinventing itself and releasing the latest phone that's lighter, shinier, and packed with new features.
That means last year's iPhone is already outdated in many people's eyes so they're often looking to sell it online to at least earn a buck or two to put toward the newest version. It's a win-win cycle for iPhone users and phone flippers. The ones who can't afford the newest still buy up, which gives you a chance to literally make use of the phrase, “one man's trash is another man's treasure”.
The best high-end phones to flip are as follows (any make or model within the last 5 years):
- Samsung Galaxy
If you have a budget or want to hustle out cheaper phones, then look for phones by:
Once you find a quality phone to buy that you think you can flip for a profit, here are the steps to follow to purchase it.
Things To Consider When Buying The Phone
When it comes to buying the phone, there are a few things to be aware of.
Scams: There is a small (but real) chance that you can get scammed online. But it happens every day. Whether you are the buyer or seller, it doesn't matter. To avoid scams, make sure to ask questions to the seller and especially check the serial / IMEI number online using the Swappa tool or by calling and asking a carrier to check for you.
Repairs: Do you plan to buy broken or cracked phones and fix them up? When you want to start a phone flipping business, you ideally want to buy and sell quickly. Phones that need repairing might take more time than you hope, not to mention money!
Payment: How much should you buy the phone for? To make a profit, you'll want to purchase the used phone for $100-200 under market value. That way, when you go to sell, you can still make a $50-100+ profit or more with an offer that's attractive to customers.
Phone Features: The best phones will be ones that satisfy the “4 C's”. In other words, look for quality Condition, Color, Capacity, and Compatibility. The color of the phone actually can help or hinder the final sale price. The same goes for capacity. The better the storage ability of the phone, the better resale value (look for 64G and up).
Flipping & Reselling The Phone
Now comes the fun part – reselling the phone and turning a profit! To flip and resell a used phone, you'll want to list it on the same platforms where you purchased it. Start with places like Swappa, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace first.
When listing your phone, make sure to take high-quality photos, and describe the phone's features and faults in detail. The more transparent you are as a seller, the more you will come across as trust-worthy which will increase your chances for striking a final sale.
Either meet your customer in-person (and I'll add, somewhere in public) or prepare the phone for shipment. Never hand over the goods before you see the cash in your hand or the deposit into your account. When you're acting as a Seller, remember to be upfront and clear about payment and expectations to avoid any trouble.
Can You Really Make Money Phone Flipping?
So, can you really make good money from flipping phones? Think of it this way. If you were to just only flip 10 phones a week at $50 a pop, that would amount to around $2,000 per month, which is a nice income for many people. Double the effort and you could end up earning over $48,000 a year just from flipping phones.
That said, it will take time, patience, and a business mindset to reach those numbers, but it's possible. The more you practice and learn, the easier it will be to bypass all the dirty work and go straight to the point. The faster you can flip a phone, the better the turnaround time and profit.
The key to flipping phones is balancing your cash flow and your inventory. If you manage to find a process that works for you, you could easily earn a nice full-time income each month (or just extra money whenever you need to). So yes, you can make decent money flipping phones since they are constantly getting recycled and upgraded to the latest model. If you find out you have a talent for flipping, why not branch out and flip other stuff for profit, like used bikes or sneakers?
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