Tired of sitting in a cubicle all day? We were too! It’s time to start that drone business you’ve been dreaming about.
That’s why we kicked the 9-5 life and started our very own drone business. Not only have we been able to replace our corporate incomes, but now we have a blast flying drones for a living on our own time.
Whether you are looking for a new side hustle in 2020 or want to ditch your 9-5 job for something more exciting, starting a drone business is a great path for anyone who is looking to take their first steps into entrepreneurship.
With minimal up-front capital investment costs and low barriers to entry, it’s never been easier to start a drone business. Keep in mind that this market is constantly evolving and new regulations may make it harder for people to do this in the future. So we recommend you start now!
The drone services market is growing and there are a lot of different ways to make money.
According to a study published by PwC, the emerging global market for business services using drones is potentially worth more than $127B. (Yes, that a B.) [Source1]
If that wasn’t enough reason to Amazon Prime Now yourself a drone, reports by Drone Industry Insights and Skylogic Research found that the US has the largest drone services market in the world, is set to almost triple in size by 2024 and is home to over 50% of global drone investments. [Source2]
You may be asking yourself…how do I get a piece of that pie? We’re glad you asked. Here are a few different approaches.
#1 Sell Aerial Media Services to Realtors and Other Businesses
This is perhaps the most obvious and easiest way to start a drone business. If your drone has a camera, you can approach local businesses (restaurants, resorts, real estate) and offer drone photography or drone video recording services.
A study by SoldByAir found that 83% of home sellers prefer to work with agents that use drones. [Source3]
#2 – Shoot Aerial Media for Weddings and Other Local Events
People are usually willing to pay top dollar to capture their most memorable moments from the sky. From weddings to sporting events, drone operators have no shortage of opportunity when it comes to finding paying gigs. Start reaching out to the organizers of events in your area and pitch them your services. Don’t be surprised when you suddenly have a booked calendar full of paying gigs.
According to BI Intelligence, with 42.9% share of the market, aerial photography is the largest industry using drones in the US. [Source4]
#3 – Provide Mapping and Surveying Services in Various Industries
There are many places that hard to reach by foot and that’s where a remote controller drone comes in handy. But there’s more to it. Organizations and businesses that will gladly pay you to use your drone for land surveying and digital mapping. You’ll find these in various industries, including construction, urban infrastructure development, topography, mining, archeology, and oil & gas. Until now, researches have relied on airplanes and helicopters which are much more expensive and less maneuverable for surveying jobs.
#4 – Earn Money with a Drone Doing Inspection Jobs
Utility, construction, and insurance companies can all benefit from an experienced drone pilot to perform remote inspection jobs. This is a great opportunity for you to make a fast and serious profit with a drone, though it will likely require a more expensive drone that will provide stability and high-resolution imaging (4K), as well as advanced drone piloting skills. You could use your drone to check to inspect power lines and cell phone towers, remote pumping stations, building rooftops or other areas that may be hazardous to humans.
According to PwC, the global market in drone-powered solutions for the power and utility industries is worth as much as $9.46 billion a year. [Source5]
So How Do I Get Started Forming My Own Drone Business?
In order to fly commercially in the U.S., you must first get an FAA Remote Pilot Airman Certificate (also commonly referred to as the Part-107 certificate). Getting this certificate is very straight forward. You Must:
– Pass a 60-question multiple-choice exam offered by the FAA with a minimum passing score of 70%. That’s 42 out of 60 correct.
– Pay $150 to take the exam.
– Create a profile and register your passing score on the FAA’s IACRA system.
– Receive your certificate in the mail.
The exam covers the following topics:
– Airspace & Requirements
– Performance and Operations
How should I study for this exam?
The FAA publishes free study materials online [Source6] but studying this alone may leave you with many questions and doubts. Alternatively, there are some free Youtube videos that cover the basics but these have been found to have some seriously wrong information and/or vague explanations to key concepts.
The best exam prep course we have found is offered by Gold Seal’s UAV Ground School. Taught by certified FAA pilot instructors, this course thoroughly prepares you for the remote pilot exam and has the largest database of REAL exam questions for you to study.
This course offers a unique “You Pass Or We Pay” guarantee and you are able to start the first module for free here.
I Got My Part-107 Certificate… Now What?
Now the fun begins.
Although not as straight-forward as getting your Part-107, the process of setting up your own business can be one of the most rewarding experiences the American dream has to offer.
Some of the key steps to starting your drone business include forming an L.L.C. (or other business structure), purchasing the right drone, creating an online brand, and sourcing clients.
All this can be extremely daunting, especially if it’s your first time.
To help aspiring (and established) entrepreneurs avoid some of the mistakes we made along the way, we developed a Drone Business Masterclass which instructs you every step of the way from buying your drone to creating a brand to sourcing your first clients to even capturing cinematic shots with your drone.
Happy Flying Everyone! Let us know if you have any questions in the comments.