How to Make Money Flipping Phones for Major Profit (Make $14,000)

Want to make over $14,000 a year by buying and reselling cell phones for a profit? Get started flipping phones and start making extra money this weekend.

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One thing we can all agree on: Making extra money is always a good thing.

Are you looking for another money-flipping strategy to flip your money today? Then you'll love this advanced step-by-step guide on how to make money flipping phones, or iPhones specifically.

In fact, did you know that you can make $13,653.48 (or more) extra a year just by flipping cell phones on a monthly basis? I'll detail how I did it and you'll learn how to make money simply by buying and reselling cell phones for a profit.

(I’ve got a long cell phone flipping guide here but read to the very end and I promise you it will be worth it.)

There are a lot of ways to make supplemental income outside of your 9-5 job, trust me, I have looked into over 100 different creative side hustles to make money and stop being broke. One of the more profitable ways I've found is buying and selling iPhones for a profit. The concept is really simple, buy low and sell high.

In November, I flipped 10 iPhones at an average of $103.44 of profit per cell phone. That netted me a profit of $1,137.79 of profit for 1 months work. That's enough to pay for rent or your mortgage in most places in the US.

At that rate, an extra $13,653.48 per year is great supplemental income.

Not bad, right?

As with anything in life, it's not an easy thing to do and is at times very challenging.

I will get more into this later in the article, but my general technique for this one month was buying cell phones from Amazon and reselling them for a profit on Craigslist.

1) Search and Buy iPhones on Amazon

You can purchase used phones from a variety of sources such as Craigslist, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, and countless other smartphone buy/sell apps.

Generally, you would find the best deals on Craigslist because you can negotiate down the price and get great deals on cell phones.

For this month, I found some great deals on Amazon for used iPhones so I used that source. I also was able to use my Discover it Credit Card which netted me 5% cash-back on all purchases on Amazon. Boom!

I searched through Amazon and found the following phones that met all my criteria and I knew I could sell for a profit of $100 per phone. If you wanted to follow along with my process, click here to search for used iPhones currently selling on Amazon.

Exclusive iPhone Flipping Amazon Search Tool

iPhone XiPhone 8 PlusiPhone 8iPhone 7 PlusiPhone 7iPhone 6s PlusiPhone 6siPhone 6 PlusiPhone 6
For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone X (64GB) for around $550-650.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 8 Plus (64GB) for around $400-550.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 8 (64GB) for around $300-400.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 7 Plus (32GB) for around $330-450.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 7 (32GB) for around $200-310.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 6s Plus (16GB) for around $150-210.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 6s (16GB) for around $100-150.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 6 Plus (16GB) for around $100-160.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 6 (16GB) for around $100-150.
Cheap: iPhone X
Cheap: iPhone 8 Plus
Cheap: iPhone 8
Cheap: iPhone 7 Plus
Cheap: iPhone 7
Cheap: iPhone 6s Plus
Cheap: iPhone 6
Cheap: iPhone 6 Plus
Cheap: iPhone 6

I am very familiar with iPhone products, so I felt comfortable buying and selling them only. iPhones are easy to resell, and when searching for them on Amazon I have a target price that I am willing to pay. I figure out my target price after I know what the phone is worth.

If it is selling for $300 on eBay, that is how much it is worth.

Don't worry, it's simple.

To figure this out, I search for the cell phone model I am considering buying on eBay and scroll down to “Show Only”. I check the “Completed Listings” box, and then I see all completed auctions for that search.

I know that the phones with green prices sold at that price, while the phones with red prices didn't end up selling. This gives me a good idea of how much the phone is likely to sell for.

To find how much a phone is worth, check how much the phone has sold for on eBay using “Completed Listing” searches.

So do a quick search and see if you can find any deals:

” text=”iPhone X on Amazon” ]

” text=”iPhone 8 Plus on Amazon” ]

” text=”iPhone 8 on Amazon” ]

Only buy cell phones that you know can resell for a profit

My goal is to buy iPhones on Amazon for $100 less (so I can make $100 profit per phone when I resell) than what it is selling for on eBay. While buying on Amazon I do realize there is some risk involved.

Tip: Amazon provides better protection over buying on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Amazon provides protection for buyers, because if you never receive a phone purchased or it is not working then you can submit what is called an “A-to-Z Guarantee Protection claim”.

This is a very simple process of making a claim against the seller, and then Amazon will refund me completely and immediately. They will then go after the seller themselves. It really does give me some peace of mind since I was about to purchased 11 phones totaling $2,181.54 in costs of goods.

You can find what the iPhone is selling for and then use eBay completed listing search to see if there is an opportunity for profit.

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How I Find Cheap iPhones To Resell

I should mention that this case study was done in early 2015. Therefore, as you probably should know, Apple releases new iPhones every year generally in early September.

So you might want to target newer phones than the ones that were available to me at the time. I would suggest searching Amazon for used iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 6s Plus.

Why?

You can usually find a better deal on the model that is prior to the current newest model. People generally toss their “older” phone on Amazon for semi-arbitrary prices as they are just looking to sell it quick.

Generally, the higher storage (GB amount) the phone has leads to funky pricing because people do not know the phone's true value, so you can usually get a better deal on those.

Tip: Based on my experience, I find it easy to buy AT&T phones, so you can unlock them, and that will increase your profit potential by 20% on average.
 
 
Remember, buy cheap used AT&T iPhones on Amazon (check what it's selling for on eBay), unlock the phone, sell it on Craigslist, eBay or anywhere where you can sell electronics for a profit.

It's possible to make money by flipping iPhones!

Here's my haul:

Purchase iPhones

iPhone & DescriptionTotal Costs
1. iPhone 5 16GB White Condition: Used-Acceptable, Needs home button fixed. Apple can do it, or cell phone repair shops will for about $50. Functional without it by using assistive touch and top button. 4/5
Charger: No
Box:Yes
Headset: No
Cost: $119.99
Extra Costs: $37.85 ( Replaced Screen + Factory Unlock)
Total Costs: 157.84
Total Costs: $157.84
2. iPhone 5 16GB White Condition: Used - Good CRACKED SCREEN, functions perfectly. Original box. No charger or headphones. 4/5
Charger:No
Box:Yes
Headset: No
Cost: $154.99
Extra Costs: $7.85 (Factory Unlock)
Total Costs: $162.84
Total Costs: $162.84
3. iPhone 5 16GB Black Condition: Used - Good This phone has been tested and is 100% working. Phone and Charger only, no case. This phone has 1 small dent and a few minor scuffs along the rim of the case. Screen has minor scratches not noticeable when looking directly on. Price has been reduced over scratches. IMEI has been checked and is clean and ready for activation through AT&T. Listed as iPhone 5s, actually turned out to be an iPhone 5. 4/5
Charger: Yes
Box:No
Headset: No
Cost: $175.00
Extra Costs: $7.00 (Factory Unlock)
Total Costs: $182.00
Total Costs: $182.00
4. iPhone 5 64GB Black Condition: Used - Acceptable, ~ Item is in functional working condition and in acceptable cosmetic appearance. Item may have some major scuffing and/or wear on the screen, front and/or rear casing. All accessories may NOT be included and will be delivered in a non-retail box. 3/5
Charger: Yes
Box: No
Headset: Yes
Cost: $182.14
Extra Costs: $7.00 (Factory Unlock)
Total Costs: $189.14
Total Costs: $189.14
5. iPhone 5 64GB Black Condition: Used - Acceptable, ~ Item is in functional working condition and in acceptable cosmetic appearance. Item may have some major scuffing and/or wear on the screen, front and/or rear casing. All accessories may NOT be included and will be delivered in a non-retail box. 1/5
Charger: Yes
Box: No
Headset: Yes
Cost: $182.14
Extra Costs: $7.00 (Factory Unlock)
Total Costs: $189.14
Total Costs: $189.14
6. iPhone 5 64GB Black Condition: Used - Acceptable, ~ Item is in functional working condition and in acceptable cosmetic appearance. Item may have some major scuffing and/or wear on the screen, front and/or rear casing. All accessories may NOT be included and will be delivered in a non-retail box. 2/5
Charger: Yes
Box: No
Headset: Yes
Cost: $182.14
Extra Costs: $7.00 (Factory Unlock)
Total Costs: $189.14
Total Costs: $189.14
7. iPhone 5 16GB White Condition: Used - Very Good PLEASE NOTE CONDITION BEFORE PURCHASE: This iPhone is in overall good condition. Shows signs of wear from normal use. The iPhone has been professionally tested and passed a multi-point inspection for complete functionality. This listing will include only the iPhone itself 4/5
Charger: No
Box: No
Headset: No
Cost: $186.76
Extra Costs:$8.99 (Factory Unlock)
Total Costs: $195.75
Total Costs: $195.75
8. iPhone 5s 32GB Black Condition: Used - Acceptable, ~ Item is in functional working condition and in acceptable cosmetic appearance. Item may have some major scuffing and/or wear on the screen, front and/or rear casing. All accessories may NOT be included and will be delivered in a non-retail box.
Charger: No
Box:No
Headset: No
Cost: $318.38
Extra Costs: $8.99 (Factory Unlock)
Total Costs: $327.27
Total Costs: $327.27
9. iPhone 5 16GB White Condition: Used- Good. Phone only, decent condition. 4/5
Charger: No
Box: No
Headset: No
Cost: $160.00
Extra Costs: $8.99 (Factory Unlock)
Total Costs: $168.90
Total Costs: $168.90
10. iPhone 6 Plus 16GB Black Condition: Brand New iPhone 6 Plus 5/5. Cannot unlock.
Charger: Yes
Box: Yes
Headset: Yes
Cost: $520
Extra Costs: None
Total Costs: $520.00
Total Costs: $520.00

What I Paid in Total:

(10) iPhones: $2,050.87
(10) Factory Unlocks: $100.67
(1) Screen Replacement: $30.00
Total Costs: $2,181.54

Pro Tip: Learn How To Fix Cracked Screens

While flipping cell phones you can benefit from buying phones with cracked screens.

As detailed above, you can see I purchased one cell phone with a cracked screen. You can get better deals on phones with a damaged LCD screen, and they aren't difficult to replace.

You can follow along instructions that you can find on YouTube or on the web in order to fix cracked screens. It's also easy to find to find replacement screens on Amazon.

Replacement screens on Amazon:
iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus / iPhone 6s / iPhone 6s Plus / iPhone 7 iPhone 7 Plus

2) Sell the iPhones on Craigslist

Now having spent $2,181.54 in inventory I needed to sell the iPhones. So I took really great photos of each of the phones because if you don't include pictures, 90% of the time your post will be looked over.

So I made sure to take great quality photos of each phone and used brief and accurate headlines of the phone.

Follow these tips to sell your iPhones on Craigslist

1. Be Honest

I was upfront about the condition of each phone and was honest about each phone.

2. Use Google Voice

I used Google Voice phone number in all my Craigslist posts, which makes potential costumers feel more at ease knowing they can contact me. I don't like disclosing my personal cell phone number or have someone calling my real phone number 3 months after I sold them a phone.

3. Create a Craigslist Email Address

Having a Craigslist-only email address keeps all your Craigslist selling activity separated from day-to-day life.

4. Be assertive, yet friendly

My time is probably the more expensive thing I have. I let the buyers know I won't stand for low ball offers, and that they will be simply ignored. I post that in all my ads. Just don't be a pushover.

5. No Trades

Trying to make money here, and I only deal with cash.

6. Use a brief and accurate headline

I use a concise headline, for example, it would be- “iPhone 6 Plus 16GB – AT&T (Black)”

7. Pricing

I price my phones so I have a little wiggle room to price haggle.

With these strategies in mind, I ended up selling all of the phones as you can see my profit/loss report below.

iPhone Flipping Profit/Loss Report

iPhone Model

Total Costs

Sold

Profit

 iPhone 5 16GB White $157.84 $280.00 $122.16
iPhone 5 16GB White $162.84 $295.00 $132.16
iPhone 5 16GB Black $182.00 $280.00 $98.00
iPhone 5 64GB Black $189.14 $345.00 $155.86
iPhone 5 64GB Black $189.14 $300.00 $110.86
iPhone 5 64GB Black $189.14 $300.00 $110.86
iPhone 5 16GB White $195.75 $300.00 $104.25
iPhone 5s 32GB Black $327.37 $400.00 $72.63
iPhone 5 16GB White $168.99 $270.00 $101.01
iPhone 6 Plus 16GB Black $520.00 $650.00 $130.00
Total Profit: Sold all phones for $3,420 which left me with $1,137.79 of net profit for 1 months work.

 

What if you needed cash right away?

If you ended up getting too much inventory or have an old phone laying around and need cash now then you can easily sell it on Gazelle for cash. This is the easiest way to sell it quickly. If you’d like to get an extra 3% bonus on your trade-in, use my Gazelle 3% bonus link by clicking here.

Amazon also has a trade-in program for consumer electronics.  You can access the Amazon trade-in program by clicking here.

Another option is to bring your old phone to Best Buy, Walmart, or your wireless provider, to see what kind of trade-in value you can get for something else.

You can make money flipping iPhones or buying and reselling cell phones!

I ended up with $1,137.79 in profit for a months work of flipping cell phones because I bought these phones at a good price and I was able to get them factory unlocked which increases the value of the phone by 20%.

Also, since I purchased them on Amazon and was able to get cash back by using my Discover Card, I profited $109.08 in cash-back.

I didn't use this in calculating my total profit above because not everyone has a Discover it credit card. I wanted to mention though because it's my favorite go-to card and I would recommend it.

I have a special offer with Discover and if you sign up through this link, you can get a $50 cash sign up bonus! Yes, seriously! Also, if you plan on buying these phones on Amazon, you can get extra cash back through Rakuten.

If you're looking for a side hustle gig, why not try flipping cell phones. Check the value of the phone on eBay and see what sellers are selling their used phones on Amazon or Craigslist.

The key is finding an arbitrage in pricing: buy low, sell high. Selling phones requires some work, however, it is very possible and anyone can do it using the steps outlined here.

Take a look what is available now, there is money to be made! I'm proof that it is possible and this is a great way to pay off your debt. I would suggest buying iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus for AT&T on Amazon, unlocking them, then selling them on Craigslist.

What's next? Try it for yourself. I have made a custom search that I use which finds the lowest price for all used iPhone's on Amazon. This includes all iPhones of all colors and sizes, sorted by lowest priced first.

Try it Yourself: Find Cheap iPhones Now to Resell

iPhone XiPhone 8 PlusiPhone 8iPhone 7 PlusiPhone 7iPhone 6s PlusiPhone 6siPhone 6 PlusiPhone 6
For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone X (64GB) for around $550-650.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 8 Plus (64GB) for around $400-550.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 8 (64GB) for around $300-400.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 7 Plus (32GB) for around $330-450.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 7 (32GB) for around $200-310.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 6s Plus (16GB) for around $150-210.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 6s (16GB) for around $100-150.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 6 Plus (16GB) for around $100-160.For reference: You can sell an unlocked iPhone 6 (16GB) for around $100-150.
Cheap: iPhone X
Cheap: iPhone 8 Plus
Cheap: iPhone 8
Cheap: iPhone 7 Plus
Cheap: iPhone 7
Cheap: iPhone 6s Plus
Cheap: iPhone 6
Cheap: iPhone 6 Plus
Cheap: iPhone 6
Tip: Save the iPhone Flipping Tool to your bookmarks bar. This makes it easy to search for new phones on the daily. You can find the iPhone search tool here.

Now get out there and make some money. Have you thought about flipping cell phones or iPhones? What's stopping you or have you had success? I'm interested in other people's experience, leave a comment below if you have questions!

Other Easy Ways To Earn Extra Money

In addition to flipping phones, I've found other ways you can consistently make money on the side. They include:

          1. Survey Junkie: This is a free survey app for your phone. I really mean free all around – free to join and they don’t charge anything to be a member (they will actually pay you). You can get a free registration bonus for free when you join through this link.
          2. Upside provides users with a variety of helpful information. First, it gives you 25 cents back on every gas station receipt you submit. It also shows you the best gas station deals and the cheapest gas. Download it for free here.
          3. Download the Nielsen app and claim $50 this year. This is an easy way to make money from home. By using the internet as you do every day, Nielsen invites you to make a difference – and you can make money too. You don’t even have to do anything other than registering your computer or phone. Nielsen will pay you $50 a year to keep their app on your favorite internet browsing device and they also give away $10,000 each month. So you can possibly make more than $50 for no effort at all.

…READ THE REST OF THE LIST HERE

Don't forget to check Amazon for cheap phones

” text=”iPhone X on Amazon” ]

” text=”iPhone 8 Plus on Amazon” ]

” text=”iPhone 8 on Amazon” ]

Tip: Save the iPhone Flipping Tool to your bookmarks bar. This makes it easy to search for new phones on the daily. You can find the iPhone search tool here.

Stop Searching Google for:

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Here are countless other ways you can make money online:

About the author

Brian Meiggs
Hi, I'm Brian Meiggs! A personal finance expert, entrepreneur, and the founder of My Millennial Guide. My drive is to help others unlock the wealth of freedom and pave the path to financial success. With my bachelor's degree in finance, I help millennials follow the smart money in order to increase their earning potential and start building wealth for the future. I write regularly about side hustles, investing, and general personal finance topics aimed to help anyone earn more, pay off debt, and reach financial freedom. I have been quoted in major publications including Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, NASDAQ, Discover, GoDaddy, BiggerPockets, Fox News, Debt.com, Quick Sprout, Money Geek, MSN Money and many more!

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