How To Start An Online Business Selling Used Cell Phones

How To Start An Online Business Selling Used Cell Phones

Sell Phones Like This
Selling used cell phones online is a good way to begin making money extremely quickly. I began earning serious money buying and selling used sell phones within two months.

In this article I will talk about how to source used cell phones and where to sell them. I'll also tell you how to get free cell phones in order to start making money today. Yes, today!

Selling used cell phones is a very lucrative niche business. If you're serious and put in effort, you can have fun and earn a nice living in this niche. People buy used cell phone for different reasons.
  • For parts
  • As a second phone
  • For a child
  • To replace a lost/damaged phone
It doesn’t matter why people buy used cell phones. As long as they buy them. And people do buy used cell phones. I’ve had repeat customers and customer referrals but I’m getting ahead of myself.

I began selling used cell phones after reading an eBook a few years ago about the top 10 best products to sell on eBay. And I began making money right away.

I also began selling phones on Craigslist once I realized that people were really buying these things.

As with any business there is a learning curve. You’ll have to go through trial and error. You will make mistakes but don’t give up.

I made the mistake once of not testing a phone (more on that later) and the customer complained that the ringer didn’t work. I had to refund the money of course.

There are a couple of options for acquiring used cell phones to sell.

Researching The Value Of Cell Phones

You can research the value of a used cell phone very quickly. Usually in a few minutes. When you become proficient it will be a matter of seconds.

eBay is the best place to find the value of a phone or anything else.

You will need an eBay account (more on that later). And you’ll have to log in to your account to perform the search on the completed listings section.

The completed listings section displays auctions that have closed and it shows the final price of the auction. You will see exactly how much people paid for the phone you are researching.

Also research the value of the phone in ‘as is’ condition.

This is important because when you test the phone and find out it doesn’t work you may still be able to make money on it. People buy ‘as is’ cell phones for parts.

The profit margin is actually higher on ‘as is’ cell phones because you can buy them for $5 and easily make a good profit.


If a seller doesn't have the charger for a phone do not buy it. There is a good chance that the phone is lost or stolen.

I learned the hard way! If the person has the charger and other accessories you can be sure that they are the owner and buy with confidence.

Sourcing Used Cell Phones

You can begin this business with absolutely no money. How?

These days everyone has 2 or 3 cell phones that they don't use. The phones are just sitting in a drawer.

Ask your family and friends to give you these cell phones. Be honest with your family.

Tell them that you're starting a business buying and selling used cell phones. Ask for their support by giving you the cell phones that they are not using.

Or, you can offer them a percentage of the sale once you sell the phone.

You’ll be surprised at how much money you can make this way because there is no initial investment. It’s pure profit.

Asking family members for phones is the easiest way to start this business because once you have the phone in your possession you can post it on Craigslist immediately and have a buyer within hours (provided the phone is selling good).

That’s how you can make money today.

Grab a cell phone from a family member and post it on Craigslist today. But first finish reading the article.

You can also stock up on phones to sell by buying them, which is what I do.

Simply place an ad on Craigslist similar to the one below. Place the ad in the ‘Items Wanted’ category.

You can also place an ad in your local paper once you begin making money.

Need Money? I Buy Used Cell Phones [this is your headline]

[this is the body of your ad]

I will give you cash today for your used cell phones. All makes and models needed.

When you contact me please be sure to include the make, model number and carrier so that I can research the value of the phone and make an offer.

I've been very successful with this ad.

When you place this ad you will receive responses almost right away. People will send you emails telling you what kind of phone they want to sell.

For example, you may get an email from someone that’s selling a Cricket Ascend Android Cell Phone.

When you receive an email from someone wanting to sell a phone do not reply to them right away. First research the value of the phone.

 Contacting The Seller

After you performed the research and know what a phone is selling for contact the seller.  If, for example, a phone is selling on eBay for $80 offer the seller $40 or less.

You’ll want to at least double your money or triple it.  I once bought a $400 Nokia smartphone for $100 and sold it for $220 the next day.

A note of caution.  Some sellers will reject your offer because they know the value of the phone.

Simply tell them that you buy to resell and that you cannot offer any more money.  Most people will then accept your offer.

Do not spend too much time with people that won’t budge on the price or you’ll find yourself answering emails all day.  You don’t want to work that hard!

When you and the seller agree on a price it’s time to meet the seller and test the phone and view its condition.

Have the seller come to you.  This way you are not wasting time traveling. Buys Used Cell Phones


Testing The Phone

This part is crucial. Make sure that everything on the phone works. Here is a check-list to guide you:

  • Ringer
  • Display
  • Condition (phones with normal wear and tear sell well)
  • Turn on/off
  • Place a call
If the phone does not have service you can call 911 to test the phone for outgoing calls.

Most cell phones allow 911 calls even though there is no service on the phone. For phones with SIM cards place a SIM card in the phone and test for outgoing calls.

The seller should have a SIM card if you don’t have one.
After testing the phone and provided everything works well buy the phone to resell.

You’re ready to make money!


Selling The Phone

There are several ways to sell a used cell phone online but I’m going to talk about two, eBay and Craigslist. I’ve tried the other auction sites and classifieds websites and they don’t perform as well as eBay and Craigslist.

Let’s begin with Craigslist because it is free and you can set-up an account in minutes.

If you don’t have a Craigslist account it is easy to sign-up for one. Go to and click on open an account.

When you complete the sign-up process they will send a confirmation email to the email address you provided. The email will arrive in minutes.

Click on the link in the email that says confirm account registration. When your account is registered you are ready to post a phone for sale.

Sign in to your account and click on create a new post.

In the posting title enter the phone you are selling. For example, if you’re selling a Cricket Ascend Android Cell Phone you should enter:

Used Cricket Ascend Android Cell Phone

(it’s important to use the word ‘used’ because that’s how people will search.)

In the price box enter the price you’re selling the phone for. If you live in a major city you can list your location by neighborhood. I usually just enter the city as the specific location. This way more people will see the ad.

Writing the description of the phone:

Try to be as accurate as possible when you describe the phone. For example, if the phone has a few minor scratches mention that in the description.

You can also describe the phone as ‘fair’, ‘good’, ‘normal’, and ‘mint’ condition.  Include pictures.

People will want to see what they’re buying and you’ll receive more offers if you include good pictures. Make sure the pictures are in focus and have plenty of light.

When you’re done with the description click on post new ad and your ad will go live on Craigslist in about 15 minutes. If the phone is a hot seller you’ll begin receiving responses right away.


Using eBay To Make Money Online 

eBay’s system is a little harder and it takes a little longer to set up an eBay account.  If you don’t have an eBay account register for one.  You cannot begin selling on eBay right away.  eBay requires that you have at least a positive feedback score of 10 before you can sell. 

You can read about that when you sign-up for an eBay account.

When you post a phone on eBay you’ll want to follow the same steps as on Craigslist.  Enter the post heading and price, pictures and description.

End your auctions on Sunday nights.  That’s when most people are online and sometimes bidding wars escalate and you’ll receive a very good price for your phone.

To learn more about eBay please see Skip McGrath's Free Articles.
Skip is a good guy.  His articles and eBooks are what trained me to sell on eBay.


Buy Back World


Final Thoughts

You now know how to make money selling used cell phones. It’s not that hard and it’s a very good business to get into. After you begin making money with the phones you’ll want to sell everything online. I do! And I make a very good living.

I wake up when I want to and I work when I want to… but most importantly, I work from home. My time is my own and I don’t answer to anyone.

There are always people willing to buy what you are selling. I wish you success and if I can help in any way please send me an email.

Please be sure to mention this article in the subject line of your email so that I can give your email my attention right away.

Did you read the last post Traffic Report On Internet Marketing Efforts ?

Let's grow together,

Ramiro Rodriguez
Internet Marketer

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1 comment:

  1. Phone recycling is getting more popular across America every day. Companies such as aim to only compare reputable and trustworthy recycling companies so that users can make an impartial choice when they sell cell phone handsets. It is a great cause and the more we recycle the better it is for the environment.

    Keep on spreading the word!


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