How to maximise the resale value of your company’s used mobile phones

In an earlier blog post we revealed why businesses consider mobile phone leasing to be the smarter and more cost effective way of upgrading employee handsets, particularly when compared to traditional network contracts.

The aforementioned blog post highlights the potential savings offered through smartphone leasing and why many companies have embraced bill separation in favour of driving down the overall costs of mobile deployment.

So if lesson one in maximising the cost effectiveness of your company’s mobile budget is to ditch the traditional network contract, lesson two looks at how you can leverage the value left in your handsets at the end of the contractual period.

What are my used smartphones worth?
It may come as a surprise to you that flagship Apple and Samsung handsets generally hold their value pretty well. Studies of the past decade have shown that a 2 year old iPhone has a resale value of 25-30% of the original invoice value, with Samsung holding 20-25%.

This means, that once your lease contract has been terminated, it can be very beneficial to explore handset recycling as a way of driving down the cost of your mobile spend even further.

Smartphone leasing contracts offer a number of options at the end of the contractual term, one of which is to pay the leasing company or handset supplier a nominal title payment to keep the equipment indefinitely.

Taking advantage of said ownership options gives you the freedom to explore trade-in and recycling programmes, so you cash in the residual value of your used devices, but usually once you’ve been furnished with your fleet of new smartphones – as part of your contract renewal.

How should I go about recycling my smartphones?
The second-hand mobile phone market is big business, so you should find a multitude of options available to you once you’ve taking title at the end of the lease contract. Many businesses we work with value the green-credentials of their recycling provider very highly, so you may similarly wish to scrutinise the environmental impact of selling handsets to recycling company A over recycling company B.

Possibly the easiest place to start is to ask your existing mobile phone handset supplier whether or not they recycle used handsets. Many Lease Telecom Partners offer this service and manage everything including equipment pick-up, data-wiping, handset grading, environmental disposal and payment. Proactive Suppliers may have even recycled your handsets as apart of the contractual renewal, and cashed out a re-sign bonus or provided a discount on your new devices.

How should I ready my handsets for recycling?
Firstly, you’ll need to ensure all handsets are fit for re-sale, otherwise you’ll simply incur financial penalties. For example, re-packaging your smartphones back into their original boxes along with the original charges and accessories will help to maximise the value in your sale.

Be sure to 100% data wipe your devices and restore them to their factory default settings. As a business you shouldn’t risk anyone coming into contact with your sensitive data – not in the time of GDPR. To save yourself the admin, make it mandatory that employees return their handsets to you with all data and settings wiped.

Don’t make the mistake of selling your handsets with Google and Apple lock screens still in place. Account locks essentially deem second-hand devices worthless, as everyday users cannot bypass lock screens without consulting and paying for screen-unlocking services or purchasing software such as this Screen Unlock for Android Windows programme.

Cracked screens typically reduce the market value of second-hand devices by 60%, so you may wish to introduce a ‘Mobile Phone Condition Policy’ in your workplace if you haven’t done so already. Robust cases and screen protectors are a worthwhile investment when acquiring and deploying company mobile phones and can limit the number of cracked screens during the contract term.

What should I look out for when selling the handsets myself?
Taking charge of the recycling process yourself can have it’s advantages, such as getting a higher price for your used equipment, but you’ll need to be wise to a few things first.

When selling second-hand devices yourself you should be aware of the additional time and effort this involves. Recycling services can make the process of cashing in used handsets fairly hassle-free. Some services include secure courier pickup as part of the process, so all you need to do is box up the goods and await your cheque to arrive in the post.

Selling used handsets yourself means you potentially need to find multiple buyers, many of whom will be from consumer markets with associated buying behaviours. Fortunately online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay have made this a simple process and allow you to quickly reach a wide audience in exchange for forgoing a small percentage of your profits.

But you should be prepared to have to speak with lots of potential buyers, answer support queries and in some cases, process returns and dispute refund requests and reviews from disgruntled and even unreasonable shoppers. Selling handsets one by one can also see an escalation in postage and payment processing fees, with the likes of PayPal taking a % of your sale.

Do not write off the High Street
If speed of transaction is important, you should seriously consider the likes of CEX and Cash Converters, where you can hand over your used devices and receive money on the spot. Corporate Recycling solutions make the process of disposing handsets very easy, but the main downside is payment can take 28 days plus. We trialled Cash Converters to see how the service compared both on process and price and we were actually very pleased with the results. We’d be happy to have a chat with you sometime about our findings – or anything relevant to your next telecoms or mobile handset upgrade.