How to Maximize Profit When Selling Your Phone

Buying and selling phones privately seems pretty straight forward. You find a phone you like, see a price you can work with, meet that person and exchange the money for the phone. Simple right?... Wrong! There's so many variables and things to look for and ways to maximize your sales to get the most out of your phone when it comes time to sell it, all the while keeping yourself safe from scammers.

This is my guide to help buyers and sellers alike.

Time and time again I've had people ask me, "How are you able to get new phones over and over without going broke?" It's really simple really and I'm going to show you how.

Knowing what you're buying (Security for buyers)

When buying a phone, you should always ensure the seller includes the box. This is important because the Serial and IMEI numbers are displayed on the box as well as under your phones battery (If applicable) . Comparing these numbers together to ensure they match will help ensure the phone is legit and not stolen, also by calling the carrier the phone in question belongs to with the IMEI number, they'll be able to inform you if the phone has been reported stolen or not.

With phone theft growing increasingly popular, you'd be foolish not to check to make sure you're pending purchase is all clear. If your phone is reported stolen and recovered by the police, you're NOT entitled to your money back, and good luck tracking down that seller you met in a parking lot weeks ago. Check those numbers!

BNIB (Brand New In Box) items are becoming popular sales, but they also hold some sort of risk. A personal friend of mine has actually fallen victim to this scam.
In this case, the seller had a BNIB factory sealed phone for sale. My friend bought it and took it home. When he opened the box, he discovered the phone that was inside was correct, but it was used and covered in scratches. 

You're easily able to purchase plastic and a heat gun and 'factory seal' any box with a little practice. If you're going to buy BNIB items, but sure to open the box immediately after payment while the seller is still present to ensure everything is the way it should be. These scams are rare as they require tools, but they can happen.

Increasing Profit (for sellers)

Above we talked about how important the box is. As funny as it sounds, it's also important for the seller other than just security reasons. Having the box in most cases with all accessories will increase the value by $50 on its own. It makes the seller feel they are getting a well taken care of device, rather than just a phone and a charger in a ziplock bag. Having the box also helps the seller identify the phone and feel safe with the purchase knowing they have the Serial numbers to prove the phone is not stolen. So open those boxes carefully and tuck them away some place safe, it's worth $50.

Accessories: by buying a simple $3 charging dock and case from eBay boosts the price of your device buy a little, and catches the eye of sellers over other ads only offering the phone with nothing else. Everyone loves package deals where you get the whole nine yards rather than just a phone, they don't need to know where the accessories came from or how much you paid for them. The $10 investment online is worth it, as it will come back to you in the end.

Don't wait too long!: The secret to flipping phones is knowing when the next generation is just around the corner. I flip my phones on a 2-4 month rotation. This ensures I'll get maximum value out of my phones, as they are still relevant on the market and popular. If your phone is a year or older in age, you've already lost half your investment and buying your new phone is going to hurt a lot more.

By selling your phone every 3 months or so with a couple cheap accessories, you're able to get 75%-90% of your total investment back. Then by flipping that money back into your next phone with little money out of your pocket, I normally spend $100 every upgrade which is about $300 a year. The average person gets a new phone every two years. If you buy the latest iPhone or Galaxy S you're out $800 straight up, or suffer a 3 year contract through your carrier.

spending that $300 per year seems kinda harsh right? well that money comes back too... After 2 to 3 years you're eligible for a phone upgrade through your carrier. Take the most expensive phone you can find, leave it factory sealed and sell it BNIB on Craigslist or other private sale place for $500 - $700. Now you've just recovered your yearly phone upgrade costs. Cool eh?

The perks of this is if you do not wish to be locked to a carrier, you can stay contract free with little money down per upgrade. Also by flipping phones every 3-4 months, you'll always be under warranty. If you drop your phone or scratch it, yah you'll lose a little value off it, but no sweat, you'll get a new one in a couple months anyways and all is beautiful again. 

Final Words:

Sellers need to do their parts by providing all evidence they can that the phone is legit and not stolen by providing the box and/or receipt. 
The buyers also need to be educated about what they're buying before running off with cash in hand.

The first phone purchase is hard, as it'll cost you the most money if you don't have a phone to work off of already, but once you have that first stepping stone of a popular new phone, the game begins and the ball starts rolling.

Good luck! If you disagree or wish to add something, feel free to post in the comments below