Trade-In Tech
by on August 16, 2021

Have you seen some of the retail prices for brand new phones recently? It’s not uncommon to see these phones selling for hundreds or thousands of dollars. With that said, not everyone either can or wants to spend so much money on a brand-new smartphone. This is why the resale market for smartphones has become so popular.


By checking out previously used smartphones, customers can buy the latest technology for a fraction of the price compared to purchasing the same phone brand-new. This same market is also incredibly profitable for companies operating within this industry. 


Since people and companies want to save money on smartphones, there are lots of busy resellers working with them. If you’d like to start flipping cell phones, you can also enter this industry. But, you’ll need to complete several steps to complete this process. Fortunately, Trade-In Tech prepared a helpful checklist that you can use!


Here’s what you’ll learn about in this post:


  • How to find phones to start flipping

  • A closer look at the phone flipping process

  • Tips for posting your phone listings online

  • Strategies for how to follow up with your customers after a sale takes place


Part 1: Finding Phones to Start Refurbishing



Before you can start flipping phones, you’ll need to find them. This step is one that can be a little daunting, especially if they’ve never bought many phones in the past. With that in mind, we’re here to help make buying cell phones online an easy and understandable process.


Learn About Industry Prices


One of the smartest things you can do before buying smartphones is to learn how much they’re worth. You don’t have to look up prices for every single smartphone on the market. Instead, make sure you learn about current prices for the phones that you’re wanting to buy.


For instance, you wouldn’t need to know much about the price of Samsung’s Galaxy line of smartphones if your company only focused on buying and selling iPhones. But, where do you find these prices?


Fortunately, there are many ways to find the market value of a smartphone. We recommend checking out the Trade-In Tech marketplace, eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and any other large online electronics platforms. These platforms can show you the prices sellers are utilizing.


Become a Member of Trade-In Tech


When you need to find phones to start flipping, there are many great reasons to do this on Trade-In Tech. This company was formed by Hayden Howard, someone with a lot of experience working in many roles within the electronics industry. 


As Hayden continued working, he noticed that there was no real platform made specifically for electronics retailers, distributors, and wholesalers. In 2012, Trade-In Tech began as a way for people throughout the electronics industry to come together and connect with each other through buying and selling.


Soon, Trade-In Tech began rapidly growing its network of members. Now, we have tens of thousands of members throughout the world on our platform. Many of these members sell smartphones from some of the most popular brands on the market, such as iPhones, Google Pixels, and a wide range of Samsung phones.


See What You Can Find Locally


If you need another potential avenue to start finding phones that you can start flipping, it’s worth seeing what your local market has to offer. This doesn’t mean going to a large electronics retailer and paying top-dollar on retail prices. Instead, look for used smartphones from businesses like pawn shops, electronic retailers, and other companies.


It will take some time and effort to strike up these kinds of partnerships. Also, there’s no guarantee that you live near these kinds of businesses. However, your hard work can soon be rewarded by partnering with companies that have phones they’re willing to sell at a reasonable price.


These same companies might also be ones that want to buy back the phones you’re flipping in the future. As you get more comfortable speaking with and partnering with other electronics companies, you can continue expanding locally. Some of what are now major names in the electronics industry began their respective journeys by working locally.


Work on Making Lots of Connections


Another great tip, especially when you’re getting started, is to connect and network with lots of sellers. This crucial step helps you to avoid placing all of your trust in one seller. It can also help open up your business to a lot of phones from a range of popular companies, which means more choices for your customers.


Fortunately, it’s easy to find the connections your business needs on Trade-In Tech. This wholesale platform is home to tens of thousands of members. By joining such a large platform, your business can begin networking and working with these members. Whether you need phones to flip or electronics refurbishers to partner with, Trade-In Tech has it all.


See What Social Media Has to Offer


If you’re just getting started in the phone flipping industry, you might not have a large budget to work with. One thing that’s great about flipping phones is that you don’t need a huge budget to get started. 


If you’re strapped for money, you might want to start out by flipping one or a few smartphones at a time. To potentially find what you’re looking for, you might also consider seeing what’s available on social media.


Chances are, you have at least one social media account. While browsing such popular websites as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and others, you might find a few good deals on smartphones.


One of the main things to focus on when buying and selling electronics on social media is finding someone you can trust. Unfortunately, most social media platforms don’t utilize ratings and reviews. Because of this, it’s hard to get any proof that a seller has worked with other people in the past. 


If you do a little research on a seller, like seeing their posts in seller groups, you might have more peace of mind about working with them.


Part 2: Flipping Cell Phones



At this point, you should have one or several methods of building up your company’s inventory. Now, you can get to flipping your phones. To do this, you’ll want to check out the following steps.


Checking the Condition of Your Phones


After your phones arrive, one of the first things you’ll need to do is check their overall condition. Hopefully, the seller you purchased your phones from was accurate about the condition of these devices. However, you never want to assume that’s the case.


For instance, imagine that you received ten new phones that a seller told you were in like-new condition. Unfortunately, there was a mix-up with your order, and the phones you receive are in poor condition. If you were to take the seller at their word and ship your items directly out to your customers, it could create lots of unhappy people.


By checking out your devices before shipping them out, you can catch any potential problems that you’ll need to message your seller about.


Testing the Condition of Your Phones


The next step in the phone flipping process is to test the condition of your smartphones. These tests give you peace of mind that your phones are in working condition. It’s also an important step to let you confirm what, if anything, is wrong with your phones.


The types of tests you’ll need to perform depend on what types of phones you’re testing. With that said, there are general tests you can perform that apply to almost any kind of smartphone.


One of the first things you’ll want to check is your phone’s touchscreen. How you test this part of a phone is entirely up to you. Some people like to open and close apps from the home screen of their devices. Other people like to open up a calculator app and push each button to ensure the touchscreen works properly.


Another extremely important thing to test is your phone’s ability to charge. Fortunately, you only need a power source, charging cable, and phone to complete this test. Also, make sure to let the phone charge for at least a few minutes to make sure there are no slow charging issues.


You’ll also want to test the buttons on your phones. Again, the exact location of these buttons will depend on what types of phones you’re testing. In most cases, you’ll have a power on/off button as well as lock and volume buttons to test. 


Replacing or Repairing Any Damaged Parts


We now come to one of the most essential parts of the phone flipping process, which is repairing your devices. How much work you’ll have to do to repair your phones depends on the current condition of these items.


Some sellers like to purchase broken or otherwise extremely damaged phones. This strategy allows a buyer to typically get lots of smartphones at a low price. How they make their money is by repairing these phones and getting them into a sellable condition. Other sellers might buy items in lightly used condition and restore them to a like-new state.


If you partner with a professional electronics refurbisher, you can buy phones in almost any condition. However, some people prefer to do repairs themselves without hiring any extra help. The option you choose depends on how comfortable you are with repairing phones.


Cleaning Up Your Phones


With your tests performed, you can now begin physically cleaning up your smartphones. You don’t need an expensive cleaning kit or something similar to perform this action. Instead, you’ll only need a microfiber cloth and 70% isopropyl alcohol. 


Isopropyl alcohol is strong enough to clean dirt and grime. And, since it dries quickly, you’re less likely to accidentally damage your phones by using alcohol than you would by using water. Once you have these two items, lightly wipe the outside surfaces of your phone. You can also use these items to wipe down your phone’s touchscreen.


Removing Data From Your Phones


We’ve spent a lot of time talking about how to clean up the outside of your phones. It’s now time to learn more about the importance of removing any personal data from these items. Personal data can include information like call logs, texts, apps, login information, and other types of similar data.


Hopefully, the person you’re buying phones from wipes data from them before placing them up for sale. However, this might not always be the case. If you need to wipe data from your phones, this is a fairly simple process to complete.


One of the best ways to quickly get data off of phones is to perform a factory reset. Essentially, this action deletes personal data and restores a phone to its previous state.


While wiping data from your phones is an important step, it can also get incredibly time-consuming when you need to clean multiple phones at once. If you need a simpler solution to this problem, you might want to check out Phonecheck. This company created a tool that can automate the testing and data wiping processes.


Grading Your Cell Phones


After getting a closer look at your phones, it’s now time to grade them. Not every seller does this, but grading your smartphones is a great way to help out your customers. With a grading system in place, you’re removing a lot of guesswork for people or companies that want to buy your phones.


You can think of an electronics grading system as something similar to the grading system your teachers used when you went to school. Most sellers use a grading system that lists items in the following conditions, from good to bad:


  • Brand new

  • Like-new

  • Excellent

  • Great

  • Good

  • OK

  • Poor

  • Non-Working/Broken


Of course, you don’t have to use every aspect of this grading system when you grade your electronics for resale. However, you can use this system as an inspiration to create a grading system of your own.


By using a grading system, any person or company that is interested in buying your phones knows exactly what to expect when these items arrive.


Part 3: Posting Your Phone Listings Online



Now, we come to one of the most important parts of selling phones, and that’s posting them online. One of the most common problems that many new sellers face when listing items online is generating interest. Fortunately, you won’t have to worry about this problem after checking out the following steps below.


Taking Pictures of Your Phones


First, it’s important to spend some time taking photos of what you’re selling. In this case, it’s going to be your flipped phones. This doesn’t mean rushing and taking a couple of quick pictures. More often than not, you’re going to wind up with poorly lit and out-of-focus phones. Unfortunately, those kinds of pictures aren’t going to help your phones sell.


It’s understandable if you don’t consider yourself to be a professional photographer. Fortunately, you don’t have to be. Instead, follow these tips when you’re getting ready to photograph your smartphones.


Use Your Best Camera


The first thing to do is grab the best camera you have. Some people will have an actual DSLR camera. However, you’re probably going to be using your phone to take pictures as most people would.


Avoid the Effects and Filters


Many people love taking great photos and using a lot of filters and effects. This is great when you’re posting selfies to social media. However, it’s not the best thing to do when you need to take pictures of your smartphones. These effects and filters can actually do more harm than good, making it appear that you’re trying to hide how your phones actually look.


Fill the Frame With What You’re Selling


Another great tip is to “fill the frame.” This means that you want your phones to be the main focal point of your photo. Having extremely zoomed-out photos makes it hard for anyone to get a close look at what you’re selling. It can also make it look like you’re trying to hide something about your phones, even when you’re not.


Try to Take Photos During the Day


When you’re taking pictures of your phones one of your greatest allies is the sun. Whether you’re taking pictures near an open window or just letting a little sunlight in, this lighting can help ensure you’re taking bright and clear photos. However, not everyone will be able to take pictures for listings during the daytime.


If you can’t take any pictures during the day, make sure to have quality lighting. As long as it’s easy to see your phones, you shouldn’t run into any problems.


Show All Sides of Your Phones


The last tip regarding pictures is to make sure you’re taking pictures of all sides of your phones. This can include taking pictures of the front, rear, and sides of your devices. By completing this step, it’s easy for people to see exactly what you’re selling.


Creating a Great Title


The next step to take is to come up with a title. It’s also easy to rush this step when you’re wanting to start making sales. However, having a good title is far more important than you might think. So, what separates a good title from a bad title?


One key characteristic of good listing titles is that they describe what’s being sold. Sometimes, your customers will only want to look at listings for a specified amount of time. If they can’t understand what you’re selling from your title, they’re likely to skip over your listing in favor of another one.


Another tip is to think about and include any words someone would use to find your listings. If you are listing a Samsung Galaxy for sale, you’d want both Samsung and Galaxy in your listing’s title. You could also use your title to include words like smartphone, Android, and other relative words. Including relevant keywords can mean that your listings will appear in more search results than normal.


Adding Information to Your Listing’s Description Section


The next thing you’ll need to take care of is your listing’s description. This section is where you want to be as specific as possible about what you’re selling. Some platforms will let you select information about what you’re selling from a drop-down menu. Other times, you’ll have to type your product’s information manually.


What you don’t want to do is have a listing that contains little to no information about your products. When this happens, it’s unlikely for many potential buyers to have any further interest in your listings. It can also result in your inbox getting flooded with questions because buyers don’t have enough information about your products.


It’s also important to use your listing’s description section as a way to inform the reader about any potential defects your items have. Going the extra mile to provide honest and detailed information about your phones can help boost your sales.


Checking Your Accounts for Messages From Potential Customers


As you begin reselling electronics online, you’re likely going to start getting messages from interested people. This part of selling items can sound a little intimidating to some. If you’re selling a lot of items or ones that are popular, you can expect your inbox to start filling up fast.


At this point, it’s imperative to either reply back quickly to your messages or have a business partner take care of these responses for you. Since the phone flipping market is so popular, there are many people and companies trying to sell their products online. If another seller is responding fast to questions or concerns, they could wind up walking away with your customers.


However, the life of a business owner isn’t one with lots of free time available. With that said, you don’t have to sit at your computer desk around the clock waiting for a response. Instead of doing that, most platforms should allow you to set up alerts for your items. Whenever someone sends you a message, your phone or computer should receive a notification.


Don’t Delay When It’s Time to Ship Out Your Phones


You’re now in the final stretch of successfully flipping phones. With that in mind, it’s now time to ship out your items. During this time, it’s wise to ship out your items in packages and packing materials that weigh as little as possible while still adequately protecting your products during the shipping process.


It’s also imperative to focus on shipping your items out in the early stages of your business. By instilling this habit, you’ll always make sure to get your items out fast. While doing this can sometimes be a little inconvenient, it will pay off in the form of happy customers and positive reviews.


If people read from other customers that your company ships out items fast, expect lots of sales to start coming your way.


Keep Your Customers Updated With Tracking Information


It’s easy to get sidetracked after you’ve shipped out your orders. While it’s true that it’s now the shipping company’s responsibility to get your products to your customers, it’s beneficial to utilize and share tracking numbers.


Chances are, you enjoy the peace of mind that comes with getting tracking numbers after ordering something. With that in mind, your customers will also feel at ease knowing they can check when their orders will arrive.


Part 4: Following Up - Turning First-Time Shoppers Into Life-Long Customers



By this point, your company has made a few sales. During this time, it’s easy to spend all of your time and energy focusing on gaining even more new customers. While new customers are understandably important, make sure that your company’s current customers don’t feel neglected after they buy items from you.


Send a Quick Follow-Up Message


One of the most beneficial things you can do after selling electronics to a customer is to follow up with them. You don’t need to come up with something 100% new every single time your company makes a sale. Instead, you can come up with a general message that covers the following bases:


  • Thank the customer for making a purchase from your company.

  • Provide contact information if they have any questions or concerns.

  • Consider asking them to leave a review.


If you can include the three previous things in a thank you email, it can reap major benefits for your company. It also gives you a major advantage over companies that neglect to follow up with their customers.


Consider Asking for a Review


It’s important to remember that following up with your customers isn’t just for your business. When you follow up with your customers, you can also ask them to leave a review. With that said, there are many places for your customers to leave reviews about your business. However, most customers don’t have the time to post on your company’s website, social media pages, and other online destinations.


Instead, figure out where your company needs reviews the most. Some companies want to get positive reviews on Google’s local platform. Having good reviews on Google’s directory can definitely help ensure your company shows up in many search results.


Plus, reviews are extremely important ways to convince other people or companies to work with your business. For one, they are indicators that other people have purchased items from your company. Another benefit of reviews is that people trust them. One study found that 57% of shoppers will read online reviews about a product or service before buying it.


Share Content Your Audience Might Find Helpful


When you’re following up with your customers, it’s also important to not make the mistake of following up just once. Of course, you don’t want to bombard your customers with emails. Fortunately, you can get the best of both worlds by occasionally sharing useful content with your email subscribers.


Let’s say that you owned a phone flipping company. If this was the case, you could send out emails to your customers about the benefits of buying used phones or something similar. By sending out this type of content, your company is also staying fresh in the minds of your past and current customers.


Encourage Customers to Receive Emails in the Future


When you’re creating your post-sale email or message for customers, it’s also good to mention that your company has an email newsletter. Of course, you’ll need to have an actual marketing strategy in place before asking this question. Whether you’re planning out an email newsletter or already have one in place, the follow-up email is the perfect place to quickly mention it. 


You don’t have to go overboard or be pushy about getting someone to opt-in to receive future emails from your business. However, simply asking if a customer is interested and providing a link can rapidly boost the size of your email subscriber list.


Take Care of Customers Who Had a Bad Experience


While we hope it isn’t something you have to deal with, you’re likely going to encounter times when someone hasn’t had a great experience working with your company. Sometimes, this situation isn’t even something that your company did (such as shipping issues or something similar).


Regardless of what went wrong, it’s a good idea to respond quickly to any complaints you might see about your business. Other companies sometimes choose to ignore bad reviews in hope that they’ll go away in time. A better strategy is to respond publicly to a complaint and find out what went wrong.


This strategy goes a long way towards winning customers over, whether they’re the ones who had problems with your business or they’re other people reading about how your company solved someone else’s problem. Either way, responding to negative reviews and resolving problems are two great things for your company to do.


In closing, we hope that this information helps you start and grow a successful business flipping phones. If you want to make this process even easier, consider becoming a member of Trade-In Tech. On our platform, you’ll find electronics dealers from around the world selling popular electronics at great prices.

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