I was originally approached to write something about how to sell your gadgets on the web, but thought that was a little boring, after all, most Gadgetell readers know how to sell something on eBay or Craigslist. So instead I am going to focus on getting and staying on the bleeding edge. Why? If for no other reason than because most gadget geeks want the latest and greatest.
Older doesn’t mean bad to everyone
This works especially well with phones, because while some will want the latest there is still a great secondary market because lots of people are willing to buy a 6-month or 1-year old phone for the simple fact that they can buy and use it contract free. They are also usually willing to pay a premium for that. Just as an example, a few months back I sold my year-old 16GB iPhone 3G with a low-cost case bundled in for $399.
Another good thing to consider when selling is when companies remove certain features such as with the Kindle. Although I kept my original Kindle, I had more than a few offers due to the fact that the Kindle 2 does not have a removable battery or SD card slot.
Here are some personal experience tips that I can offer on how to buy, use and sell your gadgets. I have recently been able to purchase an iPhone 3GS and Zune HD (just to name a few) without spending much money out of pocket. Well, truth be told I did spend the money first, but was later “reimbursed” thanks to eBay. I have been doing this for years now staying up to date with items such as the Zune, iPod, iPhone and even more recently with netbooks.
This one pretty much speaks for itself, you have to buy the gadget first. This part will require some money up front if you are just getting started, however as long as you follow some common sense tips when using that gadget you purchased, then you should later be able to sell it and get a decent return, which means you can stay bleeding edge.
This is the most important part, and it does come with some concessions. The biggest issue is that you are going to need to protect your investment. That said, the number one thing that I can suggest is to use protection. Spend a few extra bucks and invest in a case. Notice I said “invest” because when it later comes time sell that gadget you will be able to include that case as a “free” bonus or possibly even re-use it such as with an iPhone 3G to iPhone 3GS upgrade. I would also suggest getting a screen protector of some sort, personally I use the invisibleSHIELD from ZAGG.
Again, this one sounds pretty simple, and in reality it is. That said, there are a few tips that can help to get the most money for your gadget. Of course, there is always the possibility of getting burned, but that goes with selling and sometimes even the best deal can go bad if the buyer turns out to be a dirtbag.
Keep it clear
Selling your items will require a few things such as having a clear description, a fair starting price and perhaps most important — plenty of pictures. And for the pictures, those Mr. Blurrycam style shots are not going to work. And remember that case, or screen protector that you invested in? Those are now perks that you can bundle in with your sale. Just from personal experience, people will buy something that comes with free extras. Those can be simple items such as a case or screen protector that is already applied and in place, it can even be other items such as an SD or microSD card.
What to sell
Of course, this should go without saying, but the gadgets you are selling should be as recent and as current as possible. In other words sell them while they are popular. For example in the case of the iPhone, I sold my iPhone 3G when everyone was still hyped up about the iPhone 3GS, and I sold my Zune 80 just after the Zune HD was released. This will allow you to get some built-in traction and in my experience will help drive your selling price up a little bit.
Finally, one thing I would suggest in regards to eBay it to trust what you have and trust the system. In other words do not use a high reserve and do not set a high starting price. Those two items are likely to scare many people away. This does involve a little risk, but I recommend starting your auction at $0.99 with no reserve. Additionally, you can also set a Buy It Now price and hope for the quick sale, but that does require a little additional research to make sure you are asking a fair price.
And just to close this out, personally I almost always use eBay, well that or a personal sale to a friend or family member. Of course, I tend to get more money when selling on eBay, because I will usually give a friend or family member a slightly better deal.
Alternatives to eBay
That said, eBay is certainly not the only game in town. You can also use Craigslist, but for me that comes with a good and bad point. To begin with, you generally have more expectation to speak on the phone and show something in person. More calls and more appointments lead to more wasted time.
In general I find that people who buy on Craigslist also tend to want to pick things up and that means another appointment and more wasted time. For me, eBay works best — list the item and deal with questions by email. When complete, simply box it up and ship it. A tip in regards to shipping: always use a service with a delivery confirmation and make sure you save the receipt — this will help if the buyer is a dirtbag and decides to do a chargeback down the road. Overall this means less of a time investment on my part and as a freelancer I truly believe that time is money.
A few other resources that you can use, or at least consider when selling a gadget are sites such as Gazelle.com or NextWorth.com. These are generally quick and easy and will offer you a fixed price, making for an easy sale. Additionally, other places that you can consider are big box retailers such as Radio Shack, Best Buy, and Costco as they all offer some sort of trade-in program. That said, those trade-on programs, along with the previously mentioned sites such as Gazelle and NextWorth are most likely going to give you less in return for your gadget than selling on the open market.
Your profit a.k.a. the Gadget Fund
Another tip would be to begin and keep a gadget fund. For example, I sold my iPhone 3G for $399 and in turn my new iPhone was a little over $300 after tax was included. Given that I made a nice profit. Now I could have just spent that money on anything, but instead it went directly into my gadget fund for a future purchase, which in my case was the Zune HD. I then sold my Zune 80 for $120 bucks, which combined with the previous (approx) $85 from the iPhone meant I now had about $200 toward my Zune HD purchase.