Do you love flying drones? If so, nothing could be better than starting a business that’s based on your favorite activity. Various startups have already made use of the technology, incorporating the unmanned aircraft in their everyday corporate activities.
So, if you’re ready to quit your day job and get started with your own business, there are several options to try. These exciting drone business opportunities require a lot of hard work and commitment but they can be truly rewarding (plus, the growth prospects are spectacular).
Do Your Research: Check the Regulations
Before getting started with a business that makes use of a drone, it’s vital to check local regulations on the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Some countries already have introduced strict regulations that limit the use of drones.
If you are located in the US you will need a drone license to fly commercially.
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An Advertising Business
If you already have some experience in the world of marketing, adding a drone to the mix will give you a chance to offer some exciting new opportunities to your clients. The uses of drones in advertising are numerous since the machines can produce some truly creative solutions.
Drones carrying video screens or advertising banners will maximize exposure, especially if they’re taken to a part of town that’s high traffic. Flying a drone over an event (a concert, a fair or a seminar) is another great opportunity for making use of the captive audience.
Needless to say, drones can also be used to shoot aerial footage for customers and take their marketing campaigns to the next level. For the purpose, you’ll simply need to purchase a drone that has a high quality camera and a gimbal stabilization system.
More and more people are interested in learning how to fly a drone. If you have experience with the technology and you’re a certified pilot, launching a course-based business will certainly be a great idea.
The drone flying courses usually involve theoretical and practical sessions. Students spend one-on-one time with the instructor, learning the basic maneuvers and the safe use of drones to take pictures or capture footage.
If you’re planning to offer drone flying courses, you’ll need the UAV itself and a simulation program. Students will usually start using the simulator first to master the basics and reduce the risk of accidents while flying an actual drone. This is the only type of investment you’ll have to make in order to get your drone school started.
It’s also possible to offer students licenses and certifications. For the purpose, check out which organizations are responsible for handing such certificates in your country and what it takes to become one of their authorized instructors.
Start a Website
It’s easy to become a reporter and show the world footage from the event itself. For the purpose, you’ll need a drone.
Drone owners can easily launch their reporting websites. On top of featuring articles, such online portals can be enriched through the addition of aerial pictures or footage from the place of the event.
On top of just launching your own website and trying to monetize it (through subscriptions and ad revenue), you can also research possibilities for selling the footage to major news channels. Many mainstream media are interested in the work of citizen journalists. People who are lucky or foreseeing enough to capture major events can end up earning a nice income from their work.
A final option that you have is starting a YouTube channel. It can be monetized on top of your website. Aerial footage can easily go viral, if you know how to do a good job and how to promote your films. Thus, you have three individual opportunities that fall under the same theme and that can be used to generate some lovely revenue.
You can get started with a drone that is easy for beginners, but still produce excellent videos, like the DJI Mavic Mini or DJI Mavic Air 2.
A Wedding and Special Events Photography Business
People that are already interested in professional photography can add a drone to their arsenal of tools.
How cool would it be to offer aerial pictures and footage of weddings, anniversaries and other special events? Traditional event photography is getting transformed. Young couples are looking for new opportunities to capture their special day. The drone is the perfect tool for accomplishing the goal.
Do you already have a wedding photography studio? If so, you’ll simply need to purchase a drone and advertise the opportunity to your customers. Chances are that many of them will be interested in the unusual point of view.
Launch a filmmaking studio that specializes in the field of aerial footage. Such a company can work with a vast range of B2B customers. From tourist landmarks to accommodation spots, real estate agencies and entertainment venues like theme parks – all of them can benefit from aerial footage for promotional purposes.
Even filmmakers are looking for experienced drone pilots that can add some specialized footage to their creations. The possibilities are limitless and you’ll be surprised by the big number of potential customers.
The use of a drone makes a lot more sense than getting a helicopter up there. Helicopters for filmmaking can be quite expensive and many companies simply can’t afford the possibility. They, however, will be more than willing to hire a freelance drone operator or a smaller company that provides a much better price to quality ratio.
A Drone Inspection Company
Drones can be used effectively for inspection purposes because aerial shots provide a larger field of view, plus no humans will be endangered during the process. To start this kind of business, you need to be an excellent pilot and you also have to acquire some additional knowledge. The knowledge will depend on the types of inspections that you intend to offer.
Some companies are already using drones to do inspections in the fields of:
- Oil pipeline safety and integrity
- Solar installation safety and effectiveness
- Wind turbines
- Monument, historic and archaeological sites
- Infrastructural inspection at construction sites (also in the case of old buildings)
- Power line and cable inspections
- Critical infrastructure inspection
… and many others! Drones can be used to cover a large area in a short period of time. An inspector in a vehicle will need a lot of time to go through the entire facility/area and they can still miss important information. Aerial footage and photography present the big picture, making it easier to draw relevant conclusions.
A Drone Leasing Business
Finally, if you want to have a drone-based business without operating the UAV, you can focus on leasing opportunities.
Many companies and even hobby enthusiasts don’t want to invest in the purchase of a drone. They would rather pay for a couple of hours and use the equipment to get a job done.
To start this type of business, you’ll need to invest more money in the equipment. You should also think about developing a range of services – from the rental of a cheap drone to the rental of professional equipment and a pilot.
Some companies are already using this model and they don’t even own drones! How does it work? Well, the company acts as an intermediary between drone pilots and clients. Through its website, clients can submit a form that describes the specifics of their needs. The company’s main task is to find a qualified pilot. The intermediary gets paid a commission for the work that it does. Starting this type of business requires the development of a website and some extensive marketing. The investment in equipment, however, is going to be minimal.
In order to operate a drone for any business purposes (to make money) in the United States you will need a license.
This is called a Remote Pilot Certificate.
The Prep Course by Drone Launch Academy is comprehensive and fairly priced.
They’re so confident they’ll give your money back as well as the $150 test fee if you should fail.
Selecting a Commercial Drone
So how do you select a drone that delivers high quality footage, and that meets the requirements for your business idea? We have compiled a list of the best commercial drones for sale.
If you plan on shooting action sports, or making movies, you might need a “follow me drone“. They will track their subject, following either ahead or behind, all the while keeping the camera on the subject. Great for film making or commercials.
Take some time to assess possibilities and figure out what your biggest strengths are. Next, you’ll need to draft a business plan and a financial plan. Having all of this information, you’ll find it easier to decide whether a drone-based startup is the best money-making option for you.
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