Show Me The (LCD Recycling) Money!

June 01, 2014 3 Comments


We've all seen Jerry Maguire, right? We can all identify with Tom Cruise here, can't we? As business owners, we just want to be shown the money. As professional distributors of money in exchange for LCD screens, this is a service we are pretty good at offering here at LCDcycle. But first, let me fill you in on how it all works...

A question we often get asked goes along the lines of, "Why can't I get more for my broken LCDs? I got an email from a company in China paying $8/per! Why are you only paying $5?"

The life of an LCD screen is a thankless one, and it can be quite brutal. Let me explain.

As an example, the average repair shop will fix around 100 4/4S screens per month. Therefore at the end of the month you've got 100 screens to unload that will pay for a weekend road trip to the beach and maybe dinner with your girlfriend at Carabba's. Here's where we come in.

When you ship us those 100 LCDs we can only pay for the ones with working LCDs. What happens when we receive the LCDs occurs in this exact process:

  1. Your box arrives via FedEx or USPS and is placed in one of our testing rooms. It is then opened, counted and notated on our incoming form by one of our testers.
  2. One of our six testers will carefully test each one of your screens. Our testers do not know what we are paying for your screens or the background of the customer. They simply copy information from the shipping label, count the screens and fill out the form.
  3. During testing the screens get sorted by model and condition: working and nonworking.
  4. Upon completion of testing the incoming form goes to Emily's office and gets paid out according to your quote.
  5. Once the screens are paid out, the working ones get re-wrapped and placed in the outgoing pile to be shipped to China.

This is where the real fun begins.

Once we have a certain number of screens we haul them all off to China. These thousands of screens need to be carefully wrapped and packaged with the utmost of care to reduce the amount of damage they are sure to undergo throughout their trip from Huntsville --> Birmingham --> Miami --> Hong Kong.

Back to those 100 screens/month. According to our data, of those 100 screens in your shop the breakdown is like this:

75 OEM - about 65 with working LCDs

25 non-OEM - about 15 with working LCDs

Once these screens arrive to us, more will likely be broken due to shipping conditions. Although we pay for anything with a working LCD, we get dinged by the factory for LCD assemblies with the following problems:

  • Dust under the glass
  • Dead pixels
  • Bad digitizer
  • Dead spots
  • Cracked/bleeding/unresponsive LCD
  • Bright spots
  • Broken during shipment

Therefore, the percentage of screens we actually get paid full price from the factory is shockingly low. This is true across our cooperative factories in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. I've personally been at these factories and sat alongside the testers as my boxes arrived, were unpacked and tested. A screen with one dead pixel is worth considerably less, yet we pay full price for LCD assemblies with all of the above problems except cracked/bleeding/unresponsive LCDs.

Aside from the decreased prices we also deal with the following costs:

  • Freight and forwarding charges to China
  • Packaging supplies
  • The constant threat of a market price drop happening between the time we ship and the time the screens arrive
  • The very real threat of the freight never reaching the destination
  • Costs associated with currency fluctuations
  • Tying up cash flow for weeks at a time

You need to ship thousands of screens to China per week in order for the costs and risks of selling to China to have a hope of profitability. Next time you get an email from China offering more than us, give it a shot and see what we mean. If you actually enjoy the experience I'll be so surprised that I may even buy you dinner at Carabba's. :)

3 Responses

Chris Koerner
Chris Koerner

June 18, 2014

Please check your email Yama and Sanjay.



June 08, 2014

i do have cracked iPhone & samsung lcd 80pic i won recycling


June 06, 2014


I would like to know the price list for iPhone lcds.

Thank you.

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