Trade-In Tech
by on November 18, 2021

You've probably heard a lot of information about both new and used smartphones. Buying either of these types of electronics can bring your business a lot of money. With that in mind, you might not have thought about buying and reselling broken phones.


While it might seem like a somewhat crazy idea, there's usually a lot of money to be made by finding broken phones. If all of this sounds strange, that's alright. We're going to walk you through the entire process of buying and reselling broken smartphones.


In this article, you'll learn:


  • Why it's a good idea to think about buying and reselling broken phones.

  • The differences between the various types of "broken" smartphones.

  • What you can do with a broken phone

  • Who buys broken phones?

  • Where you can find non-working phones for sale online

  • Examples of how much money you can make reselling damaged smartphones.

  • Why Trade-In Tech can help you scale your electronics business ASAP


Why Should I Resell Broken Smartphones?


As mentioned earlier, we told you that we would let you know why buying and reselling broken phones is beneficial. There are actually several beneficial reasons to start reselling broken phones.


Low Cost


One of the main things you'll notice (hopefully) is that the cost of broken phones is quite low. It doesn't matter whether you're looking at an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy device - a broken phone isn't going to be worth much. With that in mind, you can purchase a lot of broken phones for not much money.


As an added bonus, they are often easier to pick up than brand new smartphones. You don't have to worry about trying to find them at the right price or how easy it's going to be to ship them off - they're just there waiting for you!


Easy Access


Another benefit of buying and reselling broken phones is that it's quite easy to find these non-working devices online. You just need to shop around for the right websites that offer them up for sale at reduced prices. Once you find the right ones, it's just a matter of waiting for them to arrive.


High-Profit Margins


The main reason why broken phones are so cheap is that not many people or companies want them. After all, the average person isn't going to get much use out of a broken or otherwise non-functional smartphone.


Despite the low cost for broken phones, there's still a high demand. If you're serious about making money off of buying and reselling smartphones, then this is an important point to consider. It's easy to see how you can make a good amount of money with these types of devices.


While it might not seem like it, broken phones are rarely worthless. On the contrary, there are decently sized groups of people and companies that specifically want broken phones. There are lots of people looking to get their hands on older or otherwise used models; it doesn't matter if they're working or not.


Then, you have the various companies that are interested in buying broken phones to use for parts. This is especially beneficial for smartphone makers who want to create new devices out of old ones without wasting too much money.


The common thread between all of these buyers is that they're not concerned with whether or not the phones work. All they care about is if they can still be used in some way.


All you need to do is find them, which we will cover in just a few minutes below.


Excellent Profit Margins


One of the essential things to do when starting most companies is to determine how much your company will profit. If you're not making enough profits, it could mean having to shut down your business.


Surprisingly, the profit margins on broken phones are quite high. You may not believe it at first, but there's a reason why they're so popular amongst people and companies alike.


Broken smartphones don't have a very large price point to them - which means you can sell them for an increased price. In fact, even though broken phones only cost a couple of bucks, you can sell them to a person or company that wants these devices.


Also, think of things from the perspective of the owner of these broken phones. As soon as they find out that their phone is broken, they'll try to get rid of it as quickly as possible - which means you'll get a good and low price as a buyer.


Plenty of Broken Phones Available


The last benefit we wanted to mention is that you shouldn't have too hard of a time finding broken phones. Chances are, you remember accidentally breaking one of your phones. Or, you might be someone who feels like they break every phone they get their hands on.


Regardless of which option is true, people everywhere break their phones each day. This news is great for anyone who's interested in selling phones for parts or flipping phones for mega bucks.


What Kinds of "Broken" Phones Do You Want to Resell?



At first, it seems simple enough: broken phones are broken phones, right? Well, not exactly. There is actually more than one type of broken smartphone. If this sounds confusing, don't worry, we're going to break all of this information down below.


Phones With Excessive Cosmetic Damage


One of the most common types of broken phones you'll encounter is those with lots of cosmetic damage. To put it another way, these phones look like they're in bad condition. However, you don't always want to let a cosmetically damaged smartphone discourage you from buying it.


In some cases, getting these phones back to like-new condition might only involve one or a few minor repairs. For instance, one of the most common reasons why someone gets rid of a phone is due to it having a broken screen. As long as the device still turns on, you can easily sell this phone to a company or person that only needs the screen replaced.


However, many broken screens are easy to replace. So, make sure to check out phones with cosmetic damage. Some of it might be fairly easy to fix with replacement parts.


On the other hand, it's going to be more difficult to replace the body of a phone or clean up lots of scuffs and scratches. As long as you stick to buying broken phones you can fix, you shouldn't encounter any problems.


Non-Working Phones


If the phones you're interested in look great but won't turn on, you're dealing with non-working phones. Understandably, most people will classify non-working phones as being broken. However, these devices don't have to stay broken.


At this point, you could either learn how to fix these phones on your own or hire some assistance. If you can find a good electronics refurbisher, these smartphones could be working properly in a short amount of time.


Instead of looking at cosmetic issues, non-working phones will require more technical expertise. Fortunately, there are many companies and people that can professionally repair your non-working smartphones.


Plus, a lot of people and companies still think that these phones can be used as parts. For example, you might have a phone that has no screen, but the frame is in good condition. There's a company out there that will pay for this kind of device - even though it doesn't look like it works anymore.


The key to success with this is knowing you found a reliable repair person that knows what they're doing. So, make sure to find this person or company before you start buying pallets of broken smartphones thinking you'll make a quick buck.


Smartphones Mistakenly Classified as Broken


While you won't encounter these devices often, it is possible to find phones that people think are broken but aren't! Not everyone is what we would call knowledgeable with electronics. Because of this, it's not uncommon for someone to think that a phone is broken because it's not working.


But, when you get your hands on these phones, you'll find out that they turn on just fine. There are many reasons why this might have happened. Some of the most common culprits are listed below:


  • People with no knowledge about cell phones might think that a phone is broken because it isn't working after dropping it or otherwise damaging it.

  • The battery might have been drained before boarding a flight. In some cases, airlines will disallow passengers from bringing charged devices onto the plane with them. The result is phones turning off until their batteries are recharged after landing safely.

  • A phone's circuit board may be overheating due to overuse of applications or other problems that can be fixed easily.


Whatever the reason, it is possible to find seemingly broken smartphones with problems that can be easily fixed.


It’s also worth noting that, once many products get opened and returned by a customer, the business accepting the return has no choice but to sell it at a deep discount. If you can find these deals, you could end up buying a lot of smartphones that work perfectly for low prices.


Your Company's Options With Broken Phones



At this point, you might be wondering what can I do with the broken phones I purchased? Fortunately, you have some options to consider. With that in mind, here are three ways to make money with broken phones.


Phone Flipping


Hands down, the best way to make the most money from broken phones is by flipping them. Of course, we don't literally mean physically flipping them. That won't do much. Instead, we mean flipping in the sense that you're taking a smartphone in bad condition and improving it to be in either good or great condition.


Many of Trade-In Tech's members started what's now a large company from flipping phones. What's great about phone flipping is that you don't need a large budget to get started.


Some successful phone flippers started flipping one or a few smartphones at a time. As their respective companies grew, they simply continued this operation on a much larger scale. With that said, we could write entire articles on the subject of phone flipping. Because we have, think about checking out our recent article on how to start a phone flipping business.


Reselling As-Is


Another option to think about is reselling broken phones in an "as-is" condition. Essentially, this means that you're not going to make a ton of profit per device. However, it could be smart to find broken phones at a low price that works for your budget.


Even if you make a few dollars of profit per sale of these phones, these profits can add up if you're selling large quantities of smartphones at once. While you might not make as much as you would by flipping phones, it can still be a decent way to make money.


Scrapping a Phone - Reselling Individual Parts


Many people understandably look at a smartphone and see a single electronic device. However, it's also important to think about the many internal parts that power a smartphone.


In most cases, the average consumer isn't going to want to buy parts for smartphones. Instead, you'll want to sell your smartphone parts to either an electronics repair professional or a company that recycles electronics.


Understandably, scrapping a smartphone will require some knowledge of how to safely dismantle these devices without damaging anything. In most cases, a company that scraps smartphones won't want this device in pieces.


So, you can consider reselling to smartphone scrappers if they're not selling otherwise. Just don't worry about taking the phone apart if you choose this route, they'll do it for you.


Who Buys Broken Phones?



Another thing you might be wondering is who would buy the broken phones you're trying to resell? As it turns out, more people and companies than you might think. With that in mind, here's more information about parties that will be interested in your broken phones.




As you might be thinking about doing, there are also many others interested in repairing and reselling smartphones. With that in mind, electronics refurbishers could end up being some of your closest connections.


You could strike up a partnership with an electronics refurbisher that needs smartphones to repair. Pay this person for their services, and you could be the owner of a thriving phone flipping business.


However, you can also benefit from working with people who repair smartphones without having to pay them. In this type of arrangement, you would simply sell your broken smartphones in as-is condition to a repair professional.


Electronics Distributors


Electronics distributors might also buy your broken smartphones. Not every person or company who distributes electronics does so with smartphones in working condition.


Considering the many connections electronics distributors can have, it's possible for them to ship out broken phones to an electronics recycler or similar type of company that can use these items.


If you can find distributors with a lot of connections, you could move a lot of broken phones by working with these people or companies.


Where Can I Find Broken Phones?



Now, it's time to learn where you can find broken phones. After all, phones in this condition won't be so easy to find at a store like Walmart or Best Buy. Don't worry - we've got a small list of the best places to find broken phones online.




When it comes to finding all sorts of items on the internet, it's beneficial to consider checking out eBay. This website doesn't always have the best prices for used smartphones (for that, we recommend checking out Trade-In Tech.)


However, eBay can be a great way to find broken phones. Most people assume that their broken electronics are worthless. As you learned, this isn't true. Fortunately, some people know this and head to eBay to sell their broken electronics for a set price. Other people might take whatever a buyer offers.


Finding broken smartphones on eBay is relatively easy. All you need to do is visit eBay's website and type in what you're looking for in this website's search bar. We recommend searching for terms like 'broken smartphones' or 'broken iPhones' to get your searches started.


One of the best tips to keep in mind when buying electronics on eBay is to look at sold listings. To do this, you only need to use eBay's Advanced Search option. After that, you should be able to check "Sold Listings." After that, continue searching and what you'll find should only be listings for items previously sold.


Looking at sold listings lets you know the actual value of broken smartphones. Doing this is much better than buying broken electronics based on the first few listings you see. If you do this, it might result in you overpaying for broken smartphones.


Partnerships With Local Companies


Depending on where you live, it's also possible to start partnering up with local electronics companies. In most cases, these stores won't be your large electronics retailers like Best Buy.


Instead, you'll want to look for local (mom and pop) types of companies. A locally owned business is far more likely to work with you than a large-scale corporation. Unfortunately, that's just the way this industry is.


If you give it a little time and effort, you'll eventually find some local electronics companies that are ready to take on a new partner. An example of this would be if you contacted a local electronics repair person. If they needed more smartphones to repair and resell, it could be beneficial for them to pay you to find broken phones.


Local Buy/Sell Apps (Craigslist, Letgo, FB Marketplace, etc)


Speaking of finding phones locally, there are several other popular programs and services that are helpful when you need to find broken smartphones. Because most of these apps perform the same basic function, there's no real reason to dive too in-depth into each program.


However, we will give you a quick breakdown of each of these popular buying and selling services/programs.


One of the first apps you might think about trying is Letgo. This app is a popular way for anyone to sell their items in a fast and easy manner. It's not always possible to find lots of broken phones on this app. However, it's worth a shot as people sell just about anything on Letgo.


Another, more popular option would be to see if any broken smartphones are available on Craigslist. As you might imagine, Craigslist works in a similar manner to Letgo. All you need to do is search for broken phones and see what appears.


Lastly, there's also Facebook Marketplace. This service is a little different from the two we previously mentioned because it's able to utilize Facebook's intuitive social messaging system. Another advantage of this service is that it's incredibly popular since most people regularly use Facebook.


How Much Money Can I Make Reselling Broken Smartphones?



To get the answer to this important question, you'll need to do a little math (We promise it does not involve that much number crunching!) But we will be taking a look at a few examples of how much money you could profit by reselling broken phones.


Scenario 1: Buying a Broken Phone and Reselling It As-Is


The first option requires the least effort and time. Unfortunately, it's also likely to bring you in the least amount of profit. What you would do in this scenario is simple, you'll take a broken phone and try to resell it to another person or company at a higher price.


If you can find the right buyer, you might make a little profit shipping over broken phones. However, you would probably need to move a large number of phones to make decent profits from this strategy.


Example: You purchase a non-working iPhone for $5. After it gets to you, you price this same phone for $8. A company that specializes in fixing non-working iPhones needs inventory so they agree to pay you $8.


Scenario 2: Selling a Non-Working Smartphone for Parts


Your next potential option is to take the parts inside of your non-working phones and sell them individually. While this method can bring you more profit, it's also going to be more time-consuming. Also, it might be difficult to determine which parts inside of your phones are working and non-working.


That's why it's also beneficial to have an electronics repair professional in your corner. By doing this, you can send your phones to them and have them determine what parts are in working and non-working condition.


Example: You purchased a lot of non-working Samsung smartphones for $50. After receiving these devices, you find that they contain lots of working parts like cameras and motherboards. If you can find someone in need of these parts, let's say that you sell all of your phones and their parts for $200.


By putting in the time and effort to scrap phones, you make about $150 in profit from your lots of broken phones.


Scenario 3: Refurbishing a Broken Smartphone into a Working Phone (Phone Flipping)


Now, we're getting into the good stuff. Phone flipping is an amazing way to transform broken phones into devices that your customers want. Unlike selling broken phones as-is, you'll be selling refurbished phones. Plus, you won't have to spend so much time taking apart phones to sell them for individual parts.


In most cases, unless you're already a professional electronics recycler or repair person, you're going to need to make some connections. If you can find a person or company capable of repairing phones, you'll have the valuable connection you need.


We know that it's extra work tracking down and forming a partnership with another party. It will also mean taking in fewer profits since you're using part of your company's profits to pay another business for services rendered.


The good news is that there is plenty of room for personal profit after you successfully flip a phone. Here's a helpful example to help you understand how profitable phone flipping can sometimes be.


Example: You purchase a lot of 20 broken smartphones for $400. Next, you send these broken smartphones to a repair person to fix for $50 per phone (paying them a total of $1,000).


After this person repairs the phones, you can now sell each of them as fully working devices. Let's say that, after doing a little price research, you determine you can sell each of your flipped smartphones for $120 each.


If we multiply $120 by 20, we get a total of $2,400. Now, subtract this total revenue from your costs to get your total profit. $2,400 (total revenue) - $1,400 (total costs) = $1,000 (total profit).


As we mentioned before, flipping phones does take time and energy. However, as you can see, it's a great way to make a lot of profit in the electronics industry.


Grow Your Phone Flipping Business Fast on Trade-In Tech



If you're looking for the best ways to make money flipping phones and reselling electronics, you'll definitely want to check out Trade-In Tech. This company began in 2012 and, since then, has grown to welcome tens of thousands of members. If you haven't heard of Trade-In Tech or you have and want to know more, here are several reasons why joining this platform is so beneficial.


Build Your Network Fast


One of the most important things to do when starting a new company is to gain a large network. Of course, trying to build a network of electronics suppliers, distributors, and repair professionals can take a lot of time and energy.


If you don't want to exhaust yourself, there's an easier solution and that's to join Trade-In Tech. After you complete our verification process, you'll be able to start creating these valuable connections quickly.


Trade-In Tech is home to tens of thousands of members. After you join our wholesale electronics platform, you can visit our member directory and start sending them connection requests. Once that happens, you can stay informed about what your connections are doing.


In the business world, there's almost better than saving time and energy. Trade-In Tech makes this possible for the busy business owner.


Enjoy a Marketplace That's Full of Electronic Listings


Understandably, most business owners don't want to join a new platform unless they can make money on it. We hear you! That's why it's easy to buy and sell items on Trade-In Tech's electronics marketplace.


Unlike retail stores, our online marketplace is open around the clock. This marketplace is full of the most popular types of electronics, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, televisions, video game systems, and much more! Plus, our sellers also carry the most popular brands such as Apple, Samsung, Google, Sony, HP, and many others.


Create a Buyer's Request


By this point, you might be wondering if you can find broken phones for sale on Trade-In Tech. While most of our members prefer to buy and sell working phones, you can reach members with broken smartphones by using Trade-In Tech's Buyer's Request feature.


The Buyer's Request is a simple but effective way to reach our entire network. All you need to do is create your buyer's request and give our members a description of what you're looking for. In this case, it would be broken or non-working smartphones.


Considering the size of our membership network and the vast amount of electronics they move, don't be surprised if you get some interested people willing to sell you non-working smartphones.


If you want to spend a little more money, Trade-In Tech also has a massive selection of new and used smartphones that are in 100% working condition. If you ever feel like expanding what electronics you offer, we have plenty of items your customers want.


As you can see, it's absolutely possible to buy and resell broken phones. If you’d like to find out more about flipping phones, reselling electronics, and all sorts of other topics for electronics resellers, make sure to visit the Trade-In Tech blog.

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