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How to Sell IT Equipment for the Most Money While Keeping Data Safe

How to Sell IT Equipment for the Most Money While Keeping Data Safe

Your servers, laptops, phones or networking equipment eventually become too old or outdated to keep up with your business needs. But don’t look at those IT investments as lost money!

In fact, your excess IT equipment is often surprisingly valuable and selling them once they’re no longer useful is a financially savvy and environmentally friendly solution. It puts money back in your budget without requiring large time investments.

And, of course, it’s always better than letting your equipment sit in storage where it only depreciates further.

However, selling IT equipment isn’t always easy or straightforward—and many people fail to get the maximum value possible because they make a few mistakes along the way. From not knowing how to properly erase data to putting themselves at risk for e-waste fines to working with IT disposition vendors that charge high fees for necessary services, there are barriers to earning back your investment.

Fortunately, when you know what to look out for and avoid, you can maximize your return, using that money to invest in new equipment or other parts of your business. Here are the steps you can take to come away with a nice payday for your IT equipment—without risking your data’s safety!

How can I earn the most money from my unused IT assets?

For savvy IT equipment sellers, there are a few simple steps they can take to maximize the value they earn for their IT assets when they’re no longer useful. This begins with knowing exactly what you have to sell, including the brands, model numbers, quantities, serial number and more; in this case, the more data you have available the better because it ensures you get an accurate price for your items.

Next, you’ll want to take clear, well-lit photos of your equipment using a cell phone or quality camera, shooting photos from multiple angles. Include photos of damage, serial numbers and anything that you feel may impact the value of the items—good or bad. When selling, you always want to present your IT equipment in a fair and accurate way to avoid disputes with buyers. And, don’t forget: you may want to give equipment a quick wipedown so dust and surface dirt don’t downplay the condition or value of the items.

By far the biggest opportunity to regain maximum residual value from IT equipment is acting now and moving quickly. As new versions and updated hardware hit the market, your used IT assets lose significant value with each generation of new technology. Unfortunately, this can lead to dramatic drops in buyback value. The best way to prevent further depreciation is to always avoid putting items in storage and, as soon as IT equipment has reached the end of its useful lifespan, begin working to sell them. If you have items that you’ve already inventoried and photographed, don’t wait!

Next, it’s time to consider how you’ll sell these items and that means choosing the right ITAD partner to sell your IT equipment. Our best advice: ask the right questions! When choosing a company, ask about every fee and get an estimated buyback total—with fees included. Since many IT asset disposition companies charge high prices for services like data erasure, inventorying and transport, clients are often surprised to find just how little they earned from their valuable equipment after the fees are taken out.

Ultimately, if you have questions about what can be sold, what may be e-waste and how to best capture the most value, the GreenTek team can provide helpful, transparent advice and accurate pricing (with value adds like data destruction and transport at no-cost). We’re also happy to lend our expertise to keeping your data safe during the sales process.

Why is it important to keep data safe when selling IT equipment?

Over the course of its use, your hardware and IT assets have likely contained sensitive data about customers, patients, finances, product designs or other information that should only be seen or accessed by your team. Data breaches are costly for businesses because it can lead to massive regulatory fines, legal fees and reputational loss.

The stakes for data security are high. For example, Equifax paid $575M in fines for a 2017 data breach. And regulators are cracking down on sloppy data handling with Marriott, Uber and others all joining the list of multi-million dollar penalty recipients. 
When handled improperly, data can be at-risk while selling IT equipment, especially as it may be handed, inventoried and transported off premises and without supervision. This is why having a chain of custody report is so important; it’s a ledger of every move IT equipment makes during the sales process, including who had it, where it was and where it ultimately ends up. Ask your ITAD provider if this is something they offer!

In addition to data handling errors, there are other mistakes people make when trying to sell IT equipment for the most money possible.

How can I keep my data safe when selling my IT equipment?

When selling your IT equipment, it’s important that you do more than just a quick “delete” of data; there is plenty of software out there that can restore data from hard drives, servers and other data containing hardware. What looks like a “clean”, blank laptop may, in fact, still be able to reveal data. It’s important to have proper data erasure conducted before ever selling IT equipment, something that typically only ITAD providers can perform.

However, especially for organizations that handle sensitive data in finance, government or healthcare, data erasure may not go far enough. That’s where hard drive shredding and data destruction becomes useful, physically destroying the data containing devices so they can never be reassembled or restored. For organizations with strict data handling procedures, they may also request on-site destruction so they can have witnesses verify that every data containing device has been destroyed. Immediately after, request a certificate of data destruction, a document that proves your data has been destroyed properly—and may absolve your organization of liability should an unlikely data breach occur.

Keeping data safe is where choosing the right ITAD partner may be most vital. Not every IT equipment buyback partner will take these proper steps because they can be both time and resource intensive when done right. Always ask about certifications, training and insurance. If they’re HIPAA compliant and a NAID member, it’s a good sign they take data security seriously but consider inquiring about their specific experience within your industry or similar organizations.

What mistakes do most people make when selling their IT equipment?

Often when it’s time to sell IT equipment, there are other priorities in mind: setting up new equipment, starting or shutting down a business and trying to figure out what to do with the unused assets. Among all this confusion, even savvy IT experts make small mistakes that lead to massive problems.

Data loss is, of course, a concern but there’s one more that most people won’t think of: improperly disposing of e-waste. Comcast and AT&T were fined a total of $77M for improperly disposing of e-waste and regulators are happy to prosecute e-waste offenders because, when old laptops, broken monitors and outdated servers end up in a landfill, they leach toxins, mercury and lead, leading to major health issues for people in nearby communities.

Another common mistake is not knowing exactly what you have to sell, down to the last detail. Be sure to collect all the information that you can including serial numbers, model numbers, manufacturer names and condition. Defining the exact equipment you have matters because equipment released a year apart or under a different model name may have vastly different values—and whoever you sell to will absolutely need to know this information!

With real risks of data loss and environmental damage associated with selling IT equipment, companies may consider getting insurance coverage for data breaches and environmental impact. These policies can bring both peace of mind and a reduction in liability should something unexpected occur. Of course, a professional ITAD provider like GreenTek will already carry extensive insurance coverage for everything from data breaches to general liability to environmental impact. By working with a partner that is already covered means one less cost and consideration to take on.

And, when it comes to ITAD partners, consider looking for someone who can handle the entire process, not just bits and pieces. Not only does this save time and prevent too many people from having access to data sensitive devices, it’s typically more cost-effective to have one vendor take care of everything from inventorying items to removing equipment to handling data destruction or hard drive shredding. When you get an initial quote from one ITAD vendor, you’ll know exactly how much you can expect to earn back for your IT assets, letting you make an informed choice of who to work with.

How much can I earn by selling my IT equipment?

How much you can earn when you sell your IT assets is connected to quite a few variables, from the quantity of the equipment to its age or model to current market demand. There are quite a few factors to consider so the only truthful answer to how much your IT assets are worth is: it depends.

However, that’s why GreenTek Solutions provides no-cost, detailed quotes. By providing a list of the items you have and some detailed photos, our team can give you an exact buyback valuation—including all services like inventorying items, transport, data destruction and more, which are free to our clients.

When you work with us, you’ll work with a team of insured, well-trained and certified IT experts who have handled complex and simple IT buybacks across most industries and locations, earning the distinction of a company our clients rely on year after year.

To learn how much your IT equipment is worth, discover how to earn back the most value possible for your IT equipment or receive answers to your questions, get in touch with us here or call 713-590-9720.

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