How to Buy Broken Phones for Your Cell Phone Repair Business
Before starting your cell phone repair business, you should first buy a few practice phones to help you learn the craft. However, it is important to know that you want to purchase broken devices and not fully functioning ones—this brings your costs down and will keep you from having to worry about breaking devices due to lack of experience with hardware repair.
First, make a list of the types of phones that you want to repair. It's usually not necessary to purchase one of each device that you plan on fixing—multiple generations of one type of phone may be very similar, so you can just buy one device from each brand. However, make sure to do your research beforehand, because certain generations of smartphones have vastly different features from previous ones.
Where to Buy Broken Phones
When buying a broken device, the most important thing to keep in mind is that, though the phone you purchase may have a cracked screen, a damaged charging port, or malfunctioning buttons, it must be able to turn on. If a phone doesn't turn on, you won't know if the repair that you just finished actually fixed the problem or not.
Here are a few places you can find phones eligible for repair:
Amazon has many options for cheap, used, and broken phones. There is also a rating system for each seller, which offers some type of credibility. This will help you make sure that you don't get lied to, sold the wrong device, or sold a device that doesn't turn on. You can bookmark the Amazon page for each device that you want to fix and monitor the fluctuation of the prices.
eBay is a great option because it allows you to either bid on a broken phone or buy one directly. There is a huge selection of items from all around the world to choose from. It also has a money back guarantee; if the product you ordered doesn't match the description, eBay will refund your money with absolutely no need for communication with the seller. This is what brings me to eBay every time. Bookmark a few search queries for the devices in your niche and monitor the prices.
Craigslist is a great option if you want to stay local or need to buy phones on short notice. You can pay cash and negotiate prices with the seller. However, it does have its downfalls; you aren't exactly sure of the quality of the product you are buying, and the seller can leave you in the dark and disappear shortly after the sale. Be cautious with this route—you might either find garbage or find gold.
Don't Buy Too Many Phones at Once!
Make sure to purchase one phone at a time and master the repair process for each one individually. This way you are not hit by a significant loss if you find that the cell phone repair industry is not for you. Having three or four devices in your inventory means that you can easily get sidetracked once you get stuck on a particular problem. Remember not to give up and to continue researching if you have issues with a particular repair.
Repair Old Phones for Friends and Family
This is a pretty neat trick. If you have friends or family with older smartphones that are in your niche, you can offer to fix their old or broken devices for free. This not only gives you a free device to work on, but also gives you the chance to experience the entire process of working with a customer, from start to finish. Make sure that the person giving you the phone will not be upset if things go wrong; if their phone only has a broken screen and you mess things up to the point where the phone doesn't even turn on, it's better that they don't get mad at you.
Make Sure to Test Everything Beforehand
I cannot stress this process enough. Whether you are purchasing a phone from Amazon, eBay, Craigslist, or a friend, make sure to test everything before you start a repair. This includes testing all of the buttons and seeing if the microphone, speakerphone, headphone jack, ear speaker, and charging port work or not. It also includes checking whether or not the device can read a SIM card or make a call. Make sure features such as WiFi and Bluetooth are functioning, and keep in mind issues with small, lesser-known features, such as the proximity sensor (this is what locks the phone when you hold the phone up to your ear to make a call).
Gather Your Equipment Together and Get Started
Once you have purchased your first practice phone, it is time to get started! Just make sure that you have the right parts and equipment to begin your cell phone repair business.