Turning Recycled Electronics Into A Real Business

April 26, 2012
Editor-in-chief Joe Desposito blogs about a company called Guzu that pays you for old electronics and then sells them at a profit, creating a nice litte business for itself.

I was paging through Newsday, my local newspaper here on Long Island, when I came across an article about a company called Guzu (guzu.com), which sells recycled/refurbished electronics. The article caught my eye, because my brain said, “no way.” Three guys, Hesam Meshkat, Pano Sarvarkas and Cam Amir started their company in Deer Park, New York, which is in Suffolk County on Long Island.

The author of the article, James Bernstein, said revenue has been growing at Guzu 17% or more each month. The company makes its revenue by refurbishing consumer electronics like BlackBerrys and iPads and reselling them on eBay and Amazon.com. (If the Guzu guys can’t refurbish a product, they sell the parts to domestic refurbishing plants.)

The Guzu web site is set up such that you can easily sell your old electronics. I prefer selling old electronics on eBay, but I guess it’s not for everyone.

Whatever the attraction of selling electronics to Guzu or similar web sites, Guzu is certainly getting them back into circulation after some sprucing up. Guzu CEO Stavarkas said over 5,000 orders have been processed on the site since they opened for business. Remarkably, the company, which began with four employees, now has 14 and expects to have 30 by the end of this year.

Naturally, I had to try out this way of cashing in on older electronics. As I mentioned, I prefer eBay and have sold lots of electronics there, but nothing lately. In the Guzu scenario, you enter information about your electronics and they give you an immediate price quote. I decided to find out how much Guzu would pay me for the company laptop I use, a Dell Latitude D630.

I went to the Guzu site, clicked on “Select Your Device,” and clicked again on Laptop. Eventually, I came to a page with a bunch of dropdown menus that you can use to describe the components and condition of the laptop. For a working laptop, Guzu offered me $9.00. If the laptop had been broken, the price dropped to $8.40. I checked on eBay and saw the same laptop, reburbished, selling for a “Buy It Now” price of $260.99. Looks like there is plenty of room to maneuver with such a big price differential.

But this is probably a bad choice of electronics to sell. How about if I sold my 32 GB iPod Touch (4th Generation) to raise cash to buy the new iPad. For the iPod, Guzu would pay me $78 for a working model (which mine is) or $31.20 for a non-working one. I don’t think I would sell at this price.

But apparently, the buy-refurbish-sell formula is working well for Guzu and other companies like it. I checked out the aforementioned items on other web sites. Gazelle (www.gazelle.com) was willing to part with $97 for the iPod Touch. And a site called Cash for Laptops (www.cashforlaptops.com) offered me $61 for my (actually Penton’s), Dell laptop. So it does pay to shop around.

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