If you’re looking for a way to trade in your old drone, that most likely means you’re ready to upgrade to a newer, more sophisticated craft. Congratulations! You’re not alone.
The use of consumer drones has skyrocketed and every new model that is introduced to the market brings great incentives to upgrade your quad to keep up with the latest technology and advancements.
That old drone isn’t doing any good sitting in the back of the closet collecting dust. Drones are expensive so it makes sense to sell your old quad and put the cash toward a new drone with upgraded technology and better features.
The best way to trade your old drone for cash is by selling to a trade-in program such as BuyBackWord, listing your drone for sale on platforms such as eBay and Drone Trader, or selling your drone locally on Marketplace.
The longer you wait to sell your old drone, the less it will be worth, so it’s best not to delay getting to business and putting the quad up for sale before more technology advances make older models obsolete.
6 Steps to Get your Drone Ready for Sale
1. Remove FAA Registration
If your drone is registered under Part 107, you need to unregister your craft with the FAA before selling your drone. This is an important step because you don’t want any trouble if the new buyer flies the drone in an illegal manner or has a crash. You obviously don’t want the drone to trace back to you once it’s out of your hands.
To unregister your drone, log in to your FAA account and click on Manage SUAS Inventory. This will show you all of the drones registered under your account. Look for the drone you want to unregister and click the Cancel option.
2. Save your photos and footage
Save all your photos and footage that may be on the internal storage and SD card. Once you have your footage saved it’s safe to format the SD card to get it ready for sale.
3. Clear the cache on the drone
To clear the cache on your drone, connect your drone to a mobile device using the RC cable, and open your drone app. You must format your device to delete all media stored and reset the gimbal back to factory settings.
For a more detailed guide about how to reset your drone to factory settings, you can read our article about it over here.
4. Include all accessories and packaging
Don’t forget to include any accessories you have for the quad such as extra batteries or propeller guards. Including the extras and any original packaging will fetch you a higher price for your quad. And there’s usually no reason to keep them either, as they most likely won’t work with your new drone.
5. Take a bunch of good photos
It’s important to take very clear photos of the drone when creating your for-sale listing. Do not use stock photos. Include at least 5-10 close photos of all sides and angles of the drone and equipment. The more photos you include the better.
6. Write a listing describing your drone in detail
Include any damage to the drone such as scratches or wear, include information such as flight time, and any accessories that are included, and information such as if there is any warranty remaining. The more details you include in your listing the more buyers will trust you.
Best places to sell your drone
1. BuyBackWorld (Most convenient)
If you’re a busy person and don’t want to deal with the hassle of answering questions or meeting your buyer and are just in a hurry for the quickest, easiest cash-out, BuyBackWorld is one of the more hassle-free, convenient ways to trade in your drone for cash. You will not net as much of a profit as selling your drone via other avenues, but the prices offered on the trade-in program are fair.
BuyBackWorld is a trusted business with great reviews on Trust Pilot and boasts 4.4 stars with many happy customers. This is important because after all, you’ll be trusting them with the value of your drone.
This type of trade-in program does have its drawbacks though. Let’s explore.
I went to the site to see what they would offer me for a Mavic Mini 2. The offer for my quad in excellent condition was $175.00 which isn’t too bad considering there are no fees or shipping costs involved.
They also have an option to sell my intelligent flight batteries for the Mini 2 at $6.00 each so I added all 3 of those to the deal too. I thought that quote was a little low for an intelligent battery considering how much they cost new, but I suppose even at that price if one is selling the drone anyway, they’d throw in the batteries too.
This brought the total offer for my Mavic Mini 2 and 3 intelligent flight batteries to $193.00. At this point, they prompted me to print a free mailing label, or the option to be sent a mailing kit to pack up all the equipment and send it in.
Once they receive the drone and inspect it, they will issue payment within 48 hours. They have several forms of payout you can choose from to receive payment for your drone including check, direct deposit, Paypal, or prepaid debit card.
Overall Review: The process is relatively painless, making it easy to exchange an old drone for quick cash without the hassle of listing it online and dealing with prospective buyers. However, the one drawback I see is once I’ve sold them my drone and batteries, I’m still stuck with all the accessories like prop guards, lens filters, and carry case that would bring a much higher dollar amount if sold in totality on a different platform.
Pros: Quick and easy process, no seller fees, free shipping.
Cons: They only purchase DJI drones, they don’t pay extra for accessories, anything can happen in shipping.
2. Sell on locally on traditional online marketplaces (will net the most money)
Selling your used quad locally is one of the best options there is for netting the biggest profit from the sale of your old drone. Online platforms like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist will allow you to list your used quad in your local area and meet your buyer in person to exchange cash for the product.
Some buyers may be leery of buying a used drone from a stranger on the internet, and selling locally allows you to meet with your buyer which gives you the opportunity to show them that the drone works properly. This is a plus for many buyers, and the convenience of selling to someone local will enable you to exchange the drone and accessories for cash without the hassle of shipping.
Pros: No need for shipping, no fees, cash on the spot.
Cons: Some people aren’t comfortable meeting in person to sell their items.
3. Sell on drone enthusiast groups
When selling your drone on Facebook Marketplace, you can simultaneously market the listing to drone enthusiasts in those groups. Targeting your listing to people who are interested in drones will result in a quicker sale.
You can also find many drone buy/sell groups on Facebook as well. Listing in drone enthusiast groups will help you connect with a buyer who’s actually looking to buy a drone like yours, increasing the chances of a quick sale.
4. Drone Trader
Drone trader is a free drone classified listing service for USA and Canada. Not everyone uses social media such as Facebook or Marketplace, so you may have a quicker sale if you list your drone for sale on multiple platforms.
It is free to list your old drone on Drone Trader and is also another avenue to target people specifically looking to purchase a drone.
5. Sell on eBay
Selling your drone on eBay can reach a broader market of worldwide buyers but does come with some drawbacks. Aside from the eBay fees involved with listing and selling your used drone on the platform, there is also the issue of returns.
eBay now allows buyers to return merchandise for a full return within 90 days of purchase, which can put you in a rough spot when it comes to selling electronics such as a flying camera. However, eBay is still a viable option for selling your used drone.
To figure out what the price of your drone is currently going for on eBay, you can go to the ‘search’ feature and enter your drone model in the search bar and then click the box to show ‘sold’ listings in the results. This will give you an idea of what a fair price to ask for your drone would be.
eBay allows you to sell your drone for a fixed price or put it to an auction. Never start your auction price lower than you’re willing to accept. Keep in mind, when selling on eBay, there are many fees associated such as selling fees, final value fee on the amount of the sale, PayPal fees, and shipping costs.
Bearing all this in mind, the price you ask for your drone should reflect the cost of selling so you still end up with an acceptable amount of money in your pocket at the end of the deal.
Pros: Marketing to a larger audience which may bring a higher payout amount.
Cons: It may not sell; you may be forced to accept a return in the future.
6. Donate your drone for a tax write-off
Donating your drone to a charity such as a school or camp, or other non-profit organization can net you a tax write-off for the value of the drone. This is also a hassle-free way to turn your drone into a profit while also contributing to a good cause.