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How to trade your drone for a new one

Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about how to trade your drone. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.

I have been searching for a site that I could possibly trade my DJI Mavic Pro (with ND Filters and extra batteries) for a Mavic Mini. Do you know of a site or group that people can go to make drone trades?

Why yes! Since you’re trying to exchange a DJI drone for another DJI drone, you’ve got an easy answer.

The most painless way to exchange your Mavic Pro for a Mavic Mini is through the DJI Trade Up program.

The service, which is officially offered through DJI, allows you to ship them your used electronics (they’ll take drones, as well as other non-DJI gear including Apple iPhones and Google Pixels) in exchange for a DJI store credit — essentially allowing you to get a discount on your new DJI drone.

Here’s what the DJI Trade Up page to trade your drone looks like:

DJI Trade Up

According to the estimator on DJI’s site, a Mavic Pro in “new condition” with an extra battery could net you about $275. Considering the Mavic Mini starts at just $399, you only have to put in about $125 to get yourself a brand new drone (and given Mavic Mini’s new features like Cinesmooth mode for better, smoother videos; and the new DJI Fly app that makes it uber-easy to upload footage, I totally endorse this idea!).

Even if your old Mavic Pro is in what DJI deems “used” condition, the company still estimates you’ll walk away with $216 — not bad.

A screenshot from DJI’s TradeUp site estimating how much money you can get for a “like new” Mavic Pro.

DJI defines “Used/Like New condition” as:

  • No damage by liquid
  • All the functions of drone and camera operating normally
  • No scratches or any types of damage on the drone
  • Includes all basic accessories as listed below

“Used condition” is roughly the same, but instead of ‘no scratches,’ DJI is forgiving of “minor scratches or any types of damage on the drone.” If your drone is “very used,” it means your drone has “significant scratches” but still functions normally.

DJI considers your tech gear in “poor condition” if any of the following is true:

  • Damaged by liquid
  • Parts of the drone are malfunctioning or crashed/ broken

But the good news is, you can still get money back, even if your drone is otherwise fried by water damaged.

How to use DJI Trade Up:

  1. Get a quote

See if your device qualifies for the Trade Up program here. You’ll have to input details about your device, such as model, or wear and tear.If you’re ready to sell it, you’ll receive a mailing label to print.

2. Ship your old tech gear

You’ll have to pack your device (DJI provides the mailing label) and send it off.

3. DJI evaluates your device

Upon receiving your stuff, DJI evaluates whether it matches the estimated value. DJI will email the final value to you (which may be more or less than estimated). If you don’t choose to accept DJI’s offer, you can request to have your device returned to you.

4. Get money

If you accept DJI’s offer, you’ll be “paid” as a store credit to your DJI account within two business days. DJI Credits can be used to purchase products at the official DJI Online Store.

Other options to trade your drone

While there aren’t any other reputable “trading” systems out there, you can always sell your used drone and use the cash to buy a new one. Look to traditional online marketplaces like eBay or Craigslist. Or, there are a few drone-specific marketplaces, the largest being DroneTrader that allow you to list your used drone gear — often for free, allowing you to avoid fees that major sites like eBay charge.

And here’s one more suggestion that has more benefit than you might think: donate it.

As drones become increasingly popular in STEM programs, Girl Scouts groups and more, check with your local schools or after-school programs to see if they might be interested in your drone. It’s not just a good deed. It’s likely a tax write-off. The IRS allows you to claim a deduction for the value of all cash and property you donate to qualified organizations. So first, check what your drone is going for on eBay, then check with a tax expert, and you may be able to donate your drone.

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