How to Make Money with Phones on eBay
There are lots of ways of making money with phones on eBay and you don’t always need tons of money up front – read on to learn how….
I will start from the easiest and most obvious ways and work my way to the more complicated ones, so make sure you read all the way to the end.
- Sell your old phones
- Sell sim cards with cashback deals
- Dropship handsets
- Buy phones and resell them
- Buy damaged phones and repair them to sell
Selling your old phone(s)
This might sound too obvious to some, but I am amazed at how often people tell me that they have mobile phones lying around at home in a drawer somewhere.
I spoke with a woman at work this week who told me she had 3 iPhones at home doing nothing! Even if they are the old iPhone 3 models, they are still worth good money.
When I told her that the phones could buy her a big night out or even a cheap weekend away she was thrilled!
For some people it is laziness, but for many it is the fact they just don’t know how much old phones can be worth. I sold two old Sony phones recently, both at least 4 or 5 years old and I got around £50 each for them.
I recommend selling them on eBay to get the best price , but you can always get quick cash by selling them to local phone repair shops, pawnbrokers or even to online gadget buyers.
But do sell them, especially if they are branded ones like iPhone, Sony, Samsung etc.
Some people keep a spare phone ‘just in case’ but in reality you can order a new phone for £11 and have it delivered the same day in the UK, so keeping old phones that are valuable does not make sense.
Selling Sim Cards with Cashback
This is a new method of mine for making money with phones, but it combines another of my favourites ways of making money; cashback bonuses. Here’s how it works:
- Sign up with a cashback site like Swagbucks, Quidco or TopCashback
- Find some pay as you go free sim only deals on their site
- List the same sim card for sale on eBay for pennies and wait for it to sell
- Sign up the buyer for a free sim card (which they have to top up)
- When they top up the card, you will get 3 pounds cashback
This might look a bit convoluted but bear with me, it is quite simple.
For step 1, I recommend that everyone is signed up to a cashback site like this anyway because they let you get cashback for things you buy regularly anyway. Here are my Quidco earnings for the year so far:
For step 2, check out the mobile phone deals on the cashback site right now, because they change all the time. As I write this, there are at least 5 companies in the UK offering a free sim card that they will post to your house for free.
Pay As You Go (PAYG) customers can be worth anywhere between £5 and £50 per month to a phone company, so it is worth them giving you a £3 to £5 bonus every time you find a customer for them.
If you list a sim card on ebay for 1p and it sells you will lose about 30p in eBay and Paypal fees, but as long as that customer tops up that sim card with enough money (usually min. £10 within 30 days) you will get your bonus £3 to £5 and still be £2.70 up after fees.
Once that customer wins your auction, you need to do the following:
- Go to the cashback site you have an account with
- Find the phone company and enter their site via the cashback site
- Apply for the free sim on behalf of the auction winner (you will now have their address and email)
- Wait for them to receive and top up their sim card
Dropshipping expensive branded phones can be risky because there is a lot of fraud risk involved, as with any high value, high demand product, but there are plenty of opportunities with lower value phones.
There are a few ways to approach this:
- Cashback offer phones
- Retail arbitrage dropshipping phones
- Online dropshipping phones
Cashback offer phones works in the same way as the sim cards, except that you need to find a Pay As You Go Phone and have it sent your customer, not just a sim card.
I found one phone which only cost £1 from Vodafone if you buy £10 of credit, and I also found this on sale on eBay too for £10, which means that people are selling them for £1 less than they buy them and still make money on them because of the cash back.
Selling phones from retail shops is not something I have tried, but it is theoretically possible if you find a shop or market stall with good prices.
An easier option (but more competitive too) is to find handsets on AliExpress and dropship them from China.
I have written quite a lot about dropshipping in other articles and the same principles apply here, so do check out these articles if this is something which interests you:
Buying Phones to Sell
Buying phones to sell is a fairly obvious idea but the reason I put it further down the list is because you need some spare money to hand in order to invest, which many people don’t have.
It is possible to start small and grow yourself a business with this method, but the profit is made when you buy a phone cheaply, knowing that you can sell it easily for a profit, not buying any old phone and hoping you can make money it.
There are two main ways to acquire phones cheaply:
- Buy in bulk
- Buy from individuals who don’t know the phones’ true value
Buying phones in bulk can be done but you will need a lot of money to buy anything at a good enough price to make it worth it.
Finding individuals who will part with phones and other electronics for a fraction of their value is a tried and tested model and one popular with many phone / laptop repair / vape shops near where I live.
All of these businesses have shops and/or advertising, which will attract customers and ‘suppliers’; but if you have to go hunting in auctions or social media for deals it can be very time consuming.
This brings me to the final method:
Repairing Phones to Resell
There is a roaring trade in damaged phones on eBay and even completely non-functioning branded phones can go for hundreds of pounds if they are the latest model, just because of the scrap value of the remaining parts.
This is something I have looked into and if you are handy with technology it can be very profitable and easy to learn.
There are videos on YouTube for how to fix just about any phone you can think of, but you may need to get yourself some tools and learn what is easy to fix and what isn’t.
I put this one last because not only does it require some money upfront to invest, it also requires some skill, spare parts and tools, plus learning how to fix things.
Overall there are lots of ways of making money with phones on eBay – if you enjoyed this post and want to know more about selling on eBay, check out this collection of posts here.