When is the Best Time to Sell My Used Aerial Survey Equipment?

April 19, 2022
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You've invested a lot into your equipment. It's helped you earn good revenue for your business, and you want to make sure you are giving your client the best data possible. Is it time to upgrade your gear? Do you know the best time and best way to sell your used aerial survey equipment?

When is it Time to Sell my Used Aerial Survey Equipment?

When you buy a car, you may decide to drive that car until it has reached 300,000 miles and won't move out of your driveway. Or you may decide to sell the car while it still has value and can be driven by someone else. When deciding to sell your used aerial survey equipment, this is the same mindset you should have. Do you want to keep it for as long as you possibly can? Or do you want to sell your equipment for funds that you can apply towards your next purchase?

Knowing the exact right time to upgrade or sell your used aerial survey equipment is difficult. You don’t want to spend extra money on expensive equipment that you don’t quite need yet.

A good time to sell equipment is when your current equipment no longer meets your clients' needs. Two major areas of focus are efficiencies and data quality. Are you finding your clients request more data accuracy and quality? Are your projects requiring you to fly higher or faster than your current equipment supports? Is your business growing and you need to add more sensors to meet your project demands? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to sell and upgrade your equipment.

Another good time to sell or upgrade is when your piece of equipment is nearing the end of its life cycle with the manufacturer. But the question is… what do you do with the used aerial survey equipment? Should you sell it privately/ through a broker or trade it back to the manufacturer?

How Should I Sell my Aerial Survey Equipment?

Trading-in equipment to the manufacturer is like pressing the "easy button". Most manufacturers will take trade-ins.  With that being said, some do not! This is good to know this information up front when you buy new equipment as it plays into your exit strategy later in the life cycle of your instrument. One advantage of trading-in is that you only pay taxes on the difference between the new and used survey equipment. A downside to a trade-in is that the value of the trade-in does not necessarily reflect the true market value of the instrument and you may be leaving money on the table. This is a possibility for most equipment that is younger than two generations.

Instead, let’s say you decide to try for the best price by selling your used equipment privately/or through a broker. You’ll get more money in your pockets if you are willing to take the time to find a buyer.

You can list your equipment on AERIALSURVEY.com, and we will help you decide what the market value is and work hard to find a buyer. We have the global reach to find a new home for your equipment. What’s the downside? Sometimes equipment sells very quickly, but sometimes it takes time to find the right buyer for your used aerial survey equipment. It’s our job to work through all the inquiries so we can bring you a smooth sales experience.

Helpful Tips for Reselling.

To maximize the value of the initial purchase, here are a few of our top tips.

1.  Make sure you keep your survey equipment in good condition. This means regular maintenance and keeping good records of use. You may want to send your equipment back to the manufacturer so they can perform a check-up before you consider selling. Buyers often ask for calibration reports for lidar, so having a recent one can really help your sale.

Lidar Calibration report

2. You will get the best return on your investment if you sell the used aerial survey equipment before it is two versions older than what the manufacturer is currently marketing. You will also want to sell before the product is considered “end of life”. If you don’t follow these precautions, your equipment most likely still has value, but it may take much longer to find a buyer and there is a good chance the manufacturer will not want it back. From a buyer’s perspective, it can be risky to buy equipment that is too old for service.

3.  Ask the manufacturer if you can transfer the software licenses to the buyer. Some manufacturers support this, others do not. If a manufacturer will not let you transfer a license, it does not mean that we can’t sell your equipment. It just means that we need to find a buyer who is willing to either pay for their own software, or who already has the software in-house. For example, we have clients who ask us to sell older Leica ALS60 lidar. These are no longer supported by Leica, and no buyer can get software from Leica for this. So, selling this LiDAR may take time. But eventually, we may find a buyer who already has an ALS60 LiDAR they love and use with great success and buying another for backup or for parts makes good business sense for them. A win-win situation for both seller and buyer.


Have you considered what your best exit plan is for selling your used aerial survey equipment? Will you use it as long as you can or sell it while it still has life and value? If you decide to sell, we are here to help you. We offer free advice on your next steps. We can also provide you with market value estimates- even if your sensor is not a working spec. Contact us at AERIALSURVEY.com and we will have ideas for you.



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