Before proceeding, notice that none of the tips below is an absolute truth. These are techniques that I use, but each one has its own methods for setting the price of a smartphone. In the end, what counts is how much you want to receive.
Define what it’s worth
The first thing you should do before advertising your smartphone is to know how much it is worth. For this you can use two indices: the current value of a new device on the market, and the average value requested on sites like Mercado Livre or OLX.
To know the value of the new device, I usually do a search on price comparators like Zoom and Buscapé. I would say that a used smartphone, with a year of use, in perfect condition and with all accessories, is worth 80% of the current value of a new one. Emphasis on “perfect conditions”: no risk, scratch or significant defect.
Now take a look at Mercado Livre, and see when you are being asked for devices with configuration and conditions similar to yours. Make an average of the first 10 or 15 results, discarding those that are too high. It is not because someone is asking for $ 3,000 on a Galaxy S6 that yours is also worth it. If I want to sell fast, I take this average as a base and take about 10%.
An important tip is to include a “trading margin” in the advertised price (for example, 10 or 15%). So, if the buyer asks for a discount I can serve him without receiving less than I expected.
Who to sell to?
Before advertising your smartphone on a website like MercadoLivre or OLX, visit a kiosk from the manufacturer of your next device and see if they accept the old one as part of the payment. Many manufacturers have partnerships with companies like Trocafone and do this type of business. But first, find out the market value of your device to not make a bad deal, because the value offered, even for recent models and in good condition, is usually low.
For example, on the Trocafone website a Galaxy S8 64 GB in silver in good condition is worth R $ 645. But at Mercado Livre the average price of this model is around R $ 1,500. In that case, advertising the device is more advantageous. But companies like Samsung sometimes offer a bonus, in addition to the exchange value, on certain models. In such cases, using the old device as part of the payment can be advantageous.
Up or down?
There are some things that can make a smartphone’s resale value go up or down. Take a look at the most important ones:
▲ Go up: Box and accessories
A smartphone “in the box, with accessories” is worth more than a loose device. I always keep the packaging of all the electronics I buy (you should see the cabinet at the back of my house), including manuals, quick guides, plastic bags, warranty cards and even the «little wires» used to tie cables and headphones. So, if the device is well taken care of, you can sell «as new».
▲ Go up: Warranty
An appliance under warranty is extra security for the buyer that, if there is a defect, it will be covered and their investment protected. Always mention in the ad description how much warranty time is left.
It is very important to keep the original invoice and deliver it to the buyer, because without it many manufacturers refuse to repair an appliance (even outside the warranty). And if you’re buying: never buy a smartphone without an invoice. At best, you will be left without technical assistance if you need to. At worst, you may end up buying a stolen device and get in trouble.
▲ Go up: Updated software
I always do all possible software updates before reselling a device, and make sure to mention the system version in the description. Yes, I know that the buyer can do the update on their own, but a lot of people don’t know how to do this, or even know that an update is available. And mentioning the most recent version of the system in the description helps to draw buyers’ attention. What is more attractive «Galaxy S8 64 GB» or «Galaxy S8 64 GB with Android 9»?
▲ Go up: Good condition
Once you buy your smartphone, put a cover and film on the screen. Thus, the device will be more protected against accidental damage, and when reselling it you can remove these accessories and present the device in great condition. It is a small investment, which pays off in the long run.
▲ Go up: Extra accessories
Extra accessories always value a device, especially the most expensive ones. I will not pay R $ 50 more because you put a R $ 20 cover in the package, but I can pay R $ 70 more for a turbo charger. Consult the value of the accessories separately and add it to the price of the device.
▼ Down: Cosmetic defects
Visible scratches, peeled corners, cracked plastic all diminish the value of the device. Be honest and list all possible defects of the device, with photos. This way the buyer will not be taken by surprise, and you will not have to deal with an unsatisfied customer and a refund later.
▼ Descends: Cracked screen, bad battery, bad contact
I don’t even have to say it, right? A cracked screen or stuffed battery takes at least 50% of the device’s resale value, if not more, according to the cost of replacing the part. I would deduct from the base price that you calculated up there the cost of changing the screen (search at an authorized store or workshops in your region), plus 15% for the «inconvenience» that the buyer will have to take the device to the workshop, wait the repair, etc.
The same is true for devices with a bad battery (which no longer holds the charge for a long time) or bad contact on the USB port: discount the average repair cost + 15%. And never, ever, under any circumstances send a device with a battery stuffed by the post office. There is a risk that it will ignite during transport (or in the hands of the buyer) and cause serious damage. In that case, remove the battery before selling.
▼ Go down: device alone
In my opinion, a smartphone alone without the cable, charger or accessories is worth less. First because without some accessories (like the original charger) you can lose features like fast charging. Second, because it gives me an impression of carelessness: the seller did not bother to keep the accessories, who guarantees that he took good care of the smartphone?
Before selling your device, take some basic precautions. The first is to clean it well. Use a soft brush to remove dust from all corners, and a cotton or microfiber cloth lightly moistened with isopropyl alcohol (or a half-and-half mixture of water and white vinegar) to clean the outside. If so, use a little contact cleaner spray on the USB port and headphone connectors to remove rust.
After, make a backup and format your device. A smartphone is a huge repository of personal data, and you don’t want it to fall into the hands of strangers. Some people think «Ah, but I don’t have anything important on my smartphone». Are you sure? I bet you have at least the bank app and an e-mail account, which can be filled with information like your name, address, social security number, credit card numbers (on receipts for online purchases) and things like that.
Finally, charge the device’s battery up to 50% and turn it off. Why 50%? Because this is the point where lithium-ion batteries are most stable, and therefore the chance of accidents during transport is less.
Do you have any tips for selling a used smartphone? Share your experience in the comments below.