Interest in recycling and environmental sustainability is on the rise. As a result there has never been a better time start a business refurbishing mobile phones. Over 1.5 billion mobile phones are sold each year, with a similar number being discarded as customers replace their perfectly functional existing devices for newer and faster models.
With many phones being discarded annually or gathering dust in drawers, the market is vast and only likely to continue to grow. With the emergence of new technologies such as 5G spurring the desire to upgrade and customers understanding the value of their devices the availability of stock will only increase.
As with any business you will need to be knowledgeable about the product you are buying or selling. You do not need to be an expert but having a good working knowledge of mobile phones is immensely beneficial. This will give you the understanding necessary to evaluate what would be a profitable purchase and what would not.
When you start a mobile recycling business, consider the logistics of purchasing the phones you will be reselling. Some businesses such as CEX have high street stores that allow customers to drop off their devices in person. Other businesses operate E-commerce stores and have their customers post the devices to them. Another option is to obtain devices B2B by buying them from wholesalers of refurbished devices. There are pros and cons of each method so decide how you plan on operating your business.
Whilst most of your customers will be legitimate, you will undoubtedly encounter individuals who will attempt to use your business to fence stolen or lost devices. Network providers work closely with the mobile networks to maintain a database of devices that have been reported as lost or stolen and are referred to as “blacklisted”. Most people wondering how to start a mobile phone recycling business will have to deal with this issue.
Our MobiCheck service has direct access to the live database which is updated every 15 minutes, giving you the confidence to be able to check a device and know that it is safe to buy. Ensuring that you take due diligence as a retailer to prevent the purchase and sale of stolen goods is an essential and legally required part of protecting your business.
The last thing you want when recycling mobile phones is to buy a mobile phone that is faulty and that you are then unable to resell.
MobiONE is an ‘all-in-one’ PC-based application that delivers fast and consistent testing, with bespoke workflow block rules and with device checking, testing, wiping, and grading built in.
With MobiOne you can ensure you never buy a device that you are unable to sell again.
You may wish to consider if you want to purchase faulty devices. Faulty devices can be sold for parts, or you can repair these devices if the damage is not significant. Most large cities host many professionals who can repair these devices, either as one-man-bands or as larger professional repair centres. You may even wish to do this in-house by hiring engineers of your own. The benefit of this is that it greatly increases the range to devices that you can consider purchasing.
When considering how to start a mobile phone recycling business you will need to consider where you are selling. As with purchasing devices, there are many avenues available to sell the devices. You may wish to sell at a physical store location, you may wish to sell on an e-commerce store such as eBay or Amazon, or you may wish to sell direct to businesses. Business who may be interested include insurance companies who need Grade A devices for claims or businesses that sell airtime. You may also sell to other retailers who sell second-hand phones. Small chains always struggle to get a variety of models and are a good place to start.
Written by Nick Rose
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