I had never tried to sell one before, but this time was going to be different. I had received a new cell phone to review and keep as part of a writing opportunity and my old phone, which I had purchased less than a year ago, was just collecting dust on a shelf.
My old cell phone had to be worth something.
There are people that have to have the latest cell phone and upgrade every time a new model is released. But, there is also a segment of the population that is more than comfortable purchasing last year’s model (or even the year before that) for the right price.
I was going to post my phone on Craigslist, since I use it often and am familiar with the process. Plus, it allows me to easily screen the respondents and deal only with local potential buyers. A successful sale of your cell phone on Craigslist really consists of 7 easy steps:
Sell Your Cell Phone For Cash
Determine An Appropriate Price:
The first thing I did was search Craigslist itself for the same model phone to see how much other people were selling it for. I found listings between $80 and $100, which seemed high to me since I had purchased the phone new from AT&T for $100. The listings were a few weeks old, which implied that other consumers thought the price was high as well. It at least put me in the ball park.
Next, I looked at usell.com which asks users to input the type of phone, the carrier it came from, and the condition. The website indicated that my phone was worth $40 in good condition, but only $8 if it was broken. The phone worked perfectly, but it did have a cracked screen.
Given this information, I listed my phone for $30.
Create The Listing:
I put a high value on pictures because as a consumer I like to see what I’m buying. I took pictures of the phone, as well as the fact that I had the original packaging and manual. I also took a close up to show the magnitude of the crack in the screen so potential buyers knew exactly what they would be getting.
Two weeks went by without any action on my ad. I was just about to “renew” my listing, which simply resets the post date, when I received emails from two interested parties.
Handling Multiple Buyers:
To be fair, I process the emails in the order in which they were received. I responded to the first email indicating I was out of town, but the phone was his once I returned home the next day. The second person was only offering $20. I told him I had an interested person already in the queue, but I would contact him whether I sold the phone or not.
The first person failed to respond to multiple attempts to contact him, so I moved on to buyer #2. I counter offered with $25, to which he said that due to the cracked screen $20 was as high as he could go. I accepted the offer, since the broken phone wasn’t doing me any good sitting on a shelf.
Clean Your Phone:
I don’t mean wipe it down with a rag, although that may not be a bad idea either. I offloaded all contact information and pictures, and then followed the manufacturer’s steps to reset the phone to factory settings. You don’t want to hand your personal information to a stranger.
Sealing The Deal:
I always, always, ALWAYS meet a potential buyer at a neutral and public place. There’s a convenience store about six blocks from my house that works great. I tell the person what I look like, as well as what color and model vehicle I’m driving. At the pre-arranged day and time, I stood next to my van in the parking lot of a convenience store holding the phone box in my hand. The guy showed up on time, with the cash in his hand. I made sure I showed him the phone, the cracked screen, as well as demonstrated that it turned on and functioned. We traded the cash for the phone and we were both on our way.
I don’t know if he was going to fix the screen, or what he was going to use the phone for, but I really don’t care. He got a cheap smart phone, and I got an extra $20 in my pocket. It’s not a lot, but $20 in my pocket is better than an old cell phone collecting dust on a shelf.