Every few years, a new electronic gadget takes center stage and grabs the spotlight. The latest device to join the ranks is the drone. While drone operation has been mostly seen as a hobby, there are actually quite a few ways to turn this hobby into a business and make some money with drones. Here’s how:
1. Aerial Photography and Videography
Most drones come equipped with either a camera or a way to mount one on your own. This essentially turns a drone into a flying camera that can take aerial footage. Aerial footage has always been used in movies and TV series, but it was a costly process until recently.
Traditionally, Aerial footage has been shot through manned vehicles like helicopters, but drones going mainstream has helped with the accessibility, and you can use that to your advantage to make some money.
Requirements are a good grasp on photography and videography in general because if you want to land a contract to produce aerial footage for a movie or TV project, you will need to have a portfolio of aerial pictures and videos to convince your clients.
100-300 USD per hour
2. Stock Footage
This is an alternative approach to client based stock photography. Stock photography and videography is a great way to make some extra money, and better with drones. If you can churn out high-quality aerial footage, you can sell it on portals like Shutterstock.
Stock aerial footage is in massive demand from small content creators that don’t have the option to film their own, or the patience to hire someone for custom-tailored footage. Independent filmmakers, YouTubers want stock aerial footage, so listing yours up on a portal will fetch you a decent sum of money.
Requirements include knowledge of videography and ideally, the ability to film in 4K resolution, because with stock videos, the higher the quality, the more money you can make.
200-500 USD per hour
As I previously mentioned, drones can be seen as a means to violate privacy by some, and this exact logic can be ethically and legally used with a positive motive, for surveillance. Drones can be an excellent means of surveillance since they’re mobile, and if stealthily deployed, challenging to neutralize.
Surveillance is a high profile business, so newer, safer and better technology is always required. If you’re planning on entering this business, be prepared to spend a lot of money beforehand.
Requirements could include the capability to make custom rigs for surveillance purposes, with thermal imaging technology.
Potential income could come from one of two ways, either you could charge for a subscription, or outright sell surveillance rigs.
individual rigs priced at upwards of 1000 USD
4. Drone Mapping and Surveying
Drones can also be used for mapping and surveying, but just like surveillance, this too requires costly equipment. Mapping and surveying also require post-processing work, putting all the data together, which is additional work and will add the number of work-hours needed for a job.
Mapping and surveying are among the more accessible drone businesses to get into, as there is high demand because of the advantage it possesses over typical surveying.
Requirements include top of the line cameras, GPS systems, and potentially even autopilot systems.
100-500 USD per hour
5. Delivery Services
This is a tight niche, primarily because there’s only so much weight and bulk a drone can carry, and even then, you have to find clients in this niche, or already have a logistics business that needs this component. If you can nail that part, then drone delivery is what we call the future of logistics. Amazon is already working in this space, and we all know it’s a giant when it comes to shipping.
Drone delivery services help in reaching otherwise inaccessible places and work as a HUGE cost-cutting benefit for logistics.
Requirements include heavy-duty drones that can carry a considerable amount of weight, and have GPS tracking, as well a long range.
Depend upon the deployment, but if done right, drone delivery is a very lucrative cash flow business.
Before You Start Making Money
Remember that to make money with drones, you will require to spend some money to get the right drone, and other equipment. You can take a look at our article about the best drones you can buy in 2019. You’ll also need some time learning how to operate a drone properly
You might also need to register your drone depending upon your location, like with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States.
Also, remember that people don’t take well to drones, so make sure you’re not flying it around on private property, or any other area that may violate the privacy of others.
Off to a Lucrative Career
Becoming a drone pilot isn’t easy but you can earn a pretty income from it. You need to have a lot of practice and even then it might not be enough to guarantee you’ll always get the job done – weather conditions and terrain issues will always be a potential problem.
Still, earning money with drones is one of the wonderful new additions to the job market – are you ready for it?
Palash is a professional tech blogger, lover of all things IT, and an awesome guy overall. A former contributor Make Use Of and a casual gamer with a passion for English Lit. Cool combo!