Most drone pilots are hobbyists and enjoy flying drones for recreation. However, with all the advanced features and capabilities that more expensive drones are equipped with, finding ways to earn money with drones is becoming more and more intriguing and accepted in industries where manual processes are more costly and more difficult.
We will explore some interesting possibilities, as well as some current applications, where drone pilots can earn a living flying drones, many of whom are doing just that.
Traditional pictures in a real estate listing are limited to an “on the ground” perspective. Areal photography offers a completely new, and different, perspective. Statistics show that listings that include areal images and video of the property sell faster that those that don’t, up to 68% faster. Try talking to a few Realtors to see if you can stimulate a conversation about the possibilities of including some areal images and/or video in their next listing. You may just get your “foot in the door”, or better yet, your drone over the property.
Another opportunity, in the real estate space, would be commercial properties. Video footage of a new commercial building, or special features of a resort or casino. That birds eye view is stunning and captures attention much more than images and video from a grounded perspective. Creative footage for advertising and promotion is a great way to sell your talents as a drone pilot.
There are numerous opportunities in building, bridge and other types of structural inspections. Drones have the ability to get close no matter how difficult it might be to send a human inspector. Look for damage from stress fractures on bridges. Find flaws in the structure of a building. With the right equipment, you can even sense gas leaks that may be dangerous for people.
Many industries require inspections such as construction, power plants, cell towers, and utility companies. A drone would be a perfect choice for these types of inspections
Wouldn’t it be amazing to capture your wedding from up high in the sky? Or, how about an outdoor concert, birthday party,
soccer or baseball game. Using drones to film these types of events are extremely popular and provide you with a limitless arena to play in.
What would it take to promote something like this and get some business in the door? How many people get married, or attend a special event every year? You will need to brush up on your video editing skills to pull this off, but with the right software, it’s really not that difficult. Memories that last forever are worth the investment.
Farmers are relying, more and more, on drones to help them inspect the land, find where to plant, or replant. Investing in specialized drones can even fertilize crops or use state-of-the-art thermal, multispecteal and hypersectral sensors to analyze and report data on land temperature, irrigation, pooling, monitoring crop health and pest damage and other types of spectral data that help farmers produce healthier crops.
To engage in this type of drone business, you will need special equipment that will cost more than the businesses previously discussed, however, this could be more sustainable and profitable if you play your cards right.
Sell Your Work
There are many website online that sell stock photography and video content. If your work is good enough, you could earn a royalty every time someone downloads on of your submissions. Getting in with thees companies isn’t as easy as you might think, but if you do good work, and prove yourself, it can build into a nice recurring income.
Search online for royalty free images and video and you’ll find millions of places to purchase stock content. Then, start applying. Some companies only require you to create an account, other will vet you out and either accept, or reject, your application. Try it out. It may be just the pillar of business you’re looking for.
The Right Equipment
To sum it all up, you need the right equipment if you are planning to go into business with your drone. Do your research before deciding on which drone best fits the industry you choose. Many drones on the market are a good fit for a few different industries. High quality HD cameras are extremely important for aerial photography. Longer flight times would be a factor in agricultural work. Above all, durability will ensure that your business will thrive for years to come without having to re-invest in your equipment before making a profit.
It’s not just about the equipment. You’ll need to brush up on your flying skills as well. Maybe a training course is in order. Also, check out the rules and regulations for the specific industry. You will need to get licensed by the FAA in most commercial drone activities and businesses, so do not overlook what the law has to say. It’s always better to be than sorry.
Whether you decide to use your drone for business, or just for pleasure, it is important to have fun. If you don’t have fun, you won’t keep flying, and I don’t know about you, but that is the last thing I want. Flying radio-controlled planes is where my passion started. I love building them as much as I do flying them. Of course that included re-building them after a crash. The cool thing about drones is that most of them are pre-built for you. Maybe some assembly required, but it’s not like you have to start from scratch with a balsa wood kit. With a drone, you can be in the air right away having a great time sailing through the air like a bird.
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