How to sell your old drone

Drones, like other high-tech products, change often. With every new model, there’s some incentive to upgrade. And selling your current drone is a good way to gather up some scratch to buy that new model. Just remember that selling can involve a fair amount of work. There are some steps you need to take before you are ready to sell your old drone.

If you are upgrading from one DJI drone to another, the easiest option for your old drone is to use the company’s Trade Up service. A lightly used Mavic Air will net you about $200 in store credits toward the purchase of a new Mavic Air 2, for instance. You could probably get more on a site like eBay. Just know that there will be more work in getting the product ready and dealing with buyers.

DJI Trade Up

If you don’t go the Trade Up route, follow these seven steps to get your drone ready for sale.

1) Remove your FAA registration

If you have only a very small drone, like the DJI Mavic Mini, you can skip this step. But any drone weighing over 0.55 pounds requires that the owner register with the FAA. As a recreational pilot, you are actually registering yourself, not the specific drone. Once you got the registration number, you will have affixed it to the outside of your drone somehow. You don’t have to cancel the registration itself, just remove the number from the drone you are selling.

2) Format your SD card

Your photos and videos are your property. Keep them that way and protect your privacy by making sure to format the SD card, if you plan on including it with your drone. (And it’s a good idea to include a card. Buyer’s value complete packages.) For good measure, follow these steps: Format the card, then record a few new images, then format a second time.

3) Record cumulative flight data

If you’re up front with your buyer from the beginning, the sale is more likely to go smoothly. Part of that is being honest about how much the drone has flown. From your flight app, such as DJI Fly or DJI Go Fly, navigate to the screen that shows usage details like total number of flight hours and miles. Provide this info in the ad for the drone and your conversation with the buyer.

4) Gather up your accessories and packaging

Accessories generally aren’t interchangeable among drone models. So if you have bought any extra components like spare batteries, include them with the drone to make a more appealing bundle. If you saved the original packaging for the drone and its accessories, gather that up as well.

5) Clean up your drone and accessories

Looks mean a lot. If your drone has picked up dirt, give it a wipe down with a damp microfiber cloth. If some stains don’t come out with just water, try a little bit of isopropyl alcohol. For hard-to-reach nooks and crevices of the drone, use a can of compressed air to spray out the dust and dirt. This is also the time to remove any stickers you may have attached to the drone, including your registration number. The more your drone looks like it did when it first came out of the box, the more appealing it will be for a buyer.

6) Take photos

Aside from DJI Trade Up, every means of selling your drone will require that you make a good showing. Lay the drone and its accessories out on a table that’s well-lit, but not overly bright so as to avoid glare. Err on the side of taking more photos. Capture the drone from various angles, unfolded and folded up. Photograph accessories like camera filters on their own. Also arrange the drone and accessories neatly for group photos. To get a good idea for the shots you want, look online to see how vendors sell new versions of your drone or similar models.

7) Pick a marketplace

eBay is the most popular venue for selling just about anything used. It has robust listings for drones, meaning that buyers and sellers see it as a valuable marketplace. Just check the fine print on seller’s fees and reckon on shipping costs to get a clear idea of how much you could net. Then there are the usual caveats. There’s no guarantee that your product will sell. Plus, you are dealing with unknown parties that may end up giving you a hard time, such as claiming the product isn’t in the condition that you specified and trying to get their money back.

There are also drone-specific marketplaces, some of which may let you list your gear for free. Here you will likely find more sophisticated buyers who understand drones and what they are worth. Some of the popular sites are Flyhum, Dronesflip, or DroneTrader. (DroneDJ has not evaluated these sites.)

If you don’t have luck selling your drone on any of these venues, there’s always DJI Trade Up.

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