So you have a drone that you’re not using any more? Rather than let it collect dust, you have some options to make money off it. There are a variety of options, ranging in an effort. An in general, the more effort you put in, the more payoff. We’ve sorted your options for selling your previously used drone from “easiest” to “hardest.”
The easiest option: DJI Trade Up
If you’re fine with DJI Store Credits in lieu of cash, DJI Trade Up makes it easy to exchange not just DJI gear, but a multitude of electronics. DJI Trade Up is a service where you can ship them your old, unused gear, whether it’s DJI drones or other tech products like Apple iPhones and Google Pixels, in exchange for a DJI store credit.
According to the estimator on DJI’s site, a 64GB iPhone X in “new condition” could net you $490, while a DJI Phantom 1 in “used condition” might earn you $38. Simply click this link for DJI’s Trade Up calculator to see if your device qualifies for the Trade Up program. Then, you ship your device to DJI where it will be evaluated for its actual value.
If you’re giving up on drones completely, this might not be the program for you, as you’ll receive DJI Credits to use at the official DJI Online Store rather than cash.
If you want actual cash: online marketplaces like eBay
If you want cold, hard cash, look to traditional online marketplaces, such as eBay or Craigslist. Keep in mind that eBay does charge many sellers fees, which can cut back on how much you’ll ultimately earn.
There’s also still some labor on your end; creating an account, photographing and listing your item, and ultimately packing and shipping it; and there’s no guarantees it will ever actually sell. Here’s a pretty useful guide on the challenges of selling tech online through sites like eBay. Another drone-specific thread also lists some issues drone pilots experienced selling their old tech on eBay.
But if you’re up for it, you could make a few hundred dollars. At the time of publication, pre-owned Phantom 4 drones are actually being bid on when they’re priced in the low $300 range.
Look to drone-specific marketplaces
There are a number of eBay-esque websites, but designed specifically for drones. Online market places like Flyhum, Dronesflip or DroneTrader allow you to list your used drone gear, and often for free. While this may help you avoid fees that major sites like eBay charge, you may also have less seller support. Drone Girl has not independently review any of these drone-specific marketplaces, so use them at your own risk.
If you want to manage a side hustle: rent out your drone instead
There are a number of startups focused on drone rentals, and some of them allow you to list your own drone for rent. One of the most popular startups, UpSonder, acts as a type of Airbnb for drones. UpSonder handles the payment processing, scheduling, messaging and more. And for people who don’t want to meet the owner directly, they can even have it delivered via Uber.
Most of the drones on UpSonder’s site are DJI products. A DJI Phantom can typically be rented for about $70 a day while the Mavic can be rented typically for about $85. UpSonder also serves as a market for finding drone pilots.
The altruistic option: donate it
If all else fails, donate your drone! Drones are becoming increasingly popular in STEM programs, particularly among middle and high school students, and even Girl Scouts! The primary factor drawing them back from more widespread use: schools can’t afford their high cost.
Contact local schools or after-school programs to see if they might be interested in your drone.
And while donating your stuff is always a good deed, you might also get a little bit of money out of it. The IRS allows you to claim a deduction for the value of all cash and property you donate to qualified organizations, which can include charities and school district programs that do not operate for profit and are solely supported by state and local governments. According to TurboTax, federal tax law permits you to use “any reasonable valuation method” as long as it assesses a value that relates to the price a willing buyer would pay for identical property in the open market. So check what your drone is going for on eBay, donate your drone, make some kids happy, and write that much off on your taxes.