- You can make money with a drone in many different ways, from aerial photography and videography to surveillance, rescue operations and even deliveries.
- Find freelance drone pilot work on sites like Zeitview, Fly Guys and Droners.io.
- Many industries hire drone operators, including real estate, construction, insurance, agriculture, security and more.
- To fly your drone commercially, make sure you have the appropriate drone license and insurance. Check with your local Aviation Authority.
Drones aren’t just trendy gadgets anymore; they’re incredible high-precision tools – and handy money-making helpers!
The drone industry is booming because they do way more than just buzz around. They take amazing pictures, help in emergencies, and can even deliver stuff to your door.
What’s even more thrilling? You can turn the drone craze into a cash flow!
Yes, many different industries make use of drone photos. Some are obvious and some might surprise you. Set up a drone business and you’ll have no end of potential clients, whether you are looking to make some extra cash or become a professional drone pilot as a full-time career.
In this article, we’re diving into the best ways to cash in on drone technology.
Ready to soar?
Where to find drone jobs
If you’re looking to make money with your drone, you have a few different routes.
Firstly, you can go freelance or set up your own drone business.
To find success as a self-employed drone operator, the key is good marketing! Nobody will hire you to fly your drone if they don’t know you exist.
You’ll need to invest a little up front in materials to showcase your skills, such as a website, brochures and business cards.
Then, you need to get your materials in front of the right people. If you want to specialise in aerial photographs for the real estate industry, visit all the high-end agencies in your area and show them examples of your work. Want to get into wedding photography? Attend wedding fairs and make contacts in the wedding industry (venues, florists, caterers) who you can ask to distribute your materials.
There are also several websites and apps that connect drone pilots with jobs, whether on a contract or permanent basis. Here are a few starting places:
- Zeitview (formerly Dronebase)
- Fly Guys (international)
- Drones4Jobs (UK only)
- The Droning Company (US)
Different ways to make money with a drone
There are dozens of different industries that can make use of drone photography, drone surveys and high-quality aerial footage.
Here are just some of the different ways to make money with a drone:
Drone photography for real estate companies
Drones aren’t just for impressing your friends with fancy flips; they’re also game-changers in the real estate industry.
Real estate companies love drone photography because it captures stunning aerial views of houses, giving potential buyers a bird’s eye peek at their dream home. It turns regular property photos into eye-catching masterpieces.
Aerial photography is particularly useful for high-end properties, especially where they have large grounds and features such as swimming pools that can’t be neatly captured in a regular photo.
Now, real estate professionals are hungry for this magic! They want their listings to stand out – and that’s where you come in. By offering your drone skills, you’re not just taking pictures; you’re elevating their business.
Consider seeking out ongoing partnerships where real estate agents rely on your drone expertise, creating a win-win scenario.
Drone photography is increasingly in high demand in the construction industry.
Drones act as high-flying documentarians, capturing construction projects from start to finish. They can inspect sites, monitor progress, and identify problems.
Their speed and cost-efficiency outshine traditional surveying methods. Your drone isn’t just a camera; it becomes a real-time monitoring tool, helping construction companies make informed decisions and stay on budget.
Construction firms are eager for this tech edge, making ongoing partnerships a real possibility.
Switching gears from construction cranes to insurance claims, drones play a vital role in property inspections.
Aerial drone photography provides detailed aerial views, which helps insurance companies assess damages efficiently, and makes claim assessments quicker and more accurate.
It’s a win-win – insurers save time, and you turn your drone into a handy tool for lucrative partnerships with insurance agencies.
Wedding photography and videography
Love is in the air, and so is your drone!
Elevate any wedding photography and videography business by incorporating breathtaking aerial shots. Capture the romance from a bird’s eye view, adding a touch of cinematic magic to couples’ special days.
You could collaborate with wedding photographers or offer standalone drone photography services to capture love stories from new heights.
Aerial mapping and surveying
Drones are redefining surveying across industries, from mining and construction to forestry and landscaping. Drone footage offers precise mapping and surveying abilities, capturing data that would take humans much longer to gather. With drone mapping, companies can survey large areas of land, identify areas of interest, track changes, and monitor progress.
Companies in mining, agriculture, and more are eager for the efficiency that drone photography can provide, opening doors for drone operators to provide high-demand surveying services. Your drone becomes a versatile tool in mapping the world from above.
Imagine your drone not just capturing moments but delivering packages. Welcome to the future! Drone deliveries are about to take off, with companies like Amazon leading the way.
Amazon launched their Prime Air drone delivery initiative in limited areas of the US in 2022, and they are reportedly planning to launch in the UK by the end of 2024.
A small but increasing number of private companies also offer drone delivery services. These companies have to work closely with local aviation authorities.
But despite strict regulations, drone deliveries seem to be set to boom in the future. Stay on top of this development in the industry and it could be a huge money maker for drone pilots in the near future.
Create drone content for a YouTube channel
Love sharing your drone adventures? Turn that passion into profit on YouTube! Create a channel showcasing your drone skills, from epic landscapes to daring stunts. With the potential for ad revenue, sponsorships and affiliate sales, your hobby transforms into a money-making venture.
If you don’t fancy setting up your own channel, you can also offer drone videography services to other channels and influencers, such as travel bloggers.
If your passion is photography, use your drone to capture breathtaking aerial shots to sell on various stock photo websites.
Businesses, bloggers, and media outlets are constantly on the lookout for unique visuals. Although the price per shot may be low, the best thing about selling stock photos is that you can get paid over and over again for the same picture, turning your hobby into a steady stream of passive income.
This is a great way to make money on the side of your regular income, because don’t need to commit specific hours to it – just upload your photos to the stock photo sites as and when you can.
Here are a few platforms for selling your stock photos:
- Getty Images
- Deposit Photos
Take your drone from amateur to pro by offering aerial videography services.
From music videos to wedding videos to commercials, experienced drone videographers are in demand to provide captivating aerial footage. You can build a whole business around drone videography, or offer it as a freelance or contract gig, bringing in income as your drone captures the magic from above.
Time to put your drone to work, ensuring roofs are in top-notch condition. Roof inspections are risky for humans, but not for drones. Your flying companion can provide detailed imagery, identifying issues without anyone having to climb a ladder.
Roofing companies, construction companies, insurance companies and building surveyors all value this safe and efficient approach, making your drone an essential tool in their inspection toolkit.
Farmers are embracing drone technology to revolutionise agriculture. Your drone becomes a precision tool, monitoring crops, predicting yields, and identifying areas needing attention.
Precision agriculture is a term used by farmers to mean using science and technology to analyse and monitor their crops so they can react quickly and efficiently. Drones can be integral to this movement, so consider specialising in agricultural drone photography to make a real difference to the future of farming.
Boats need more than just sea-level photos for sales and inspections. Your drone can take maritime photography to new heights, capturing boats and their surroundings in all their glory.
Boat owners, sellers, inspectors and maintenance workers can benefit from your aerial shots, providing a comprehensive view. Turn your drone into a seaworthy asset, sailing into opportunities in the maritime industry.
Special events photography and videography
Drones are the secret sauce for capturing special moments from a unique perspective. Whether it’s a wedding, festival, concert, or sports event, your drone adds a wow factor to the visuals.
Event planners and organisers are increasingly seeking drone photographers for that extra flair.
We already looked at how drone photography is in demand with real estate companies, but here’s a growing market: Airbnb and other holiday rentals.
Hosts are always on the lookout for eye-catching photos to attract guests. Many Airbnbs are set in unique locations such as yurts, treehouses and rural lodges. A good drone photographer can provide a unique perspective, capturing stunning aerial shots of properties.
This could be a great way for drone pilots to niche down and turn their hobby into a profitable side hustle.
Wildlife photography and observation
Step into the wild with your drone, capturing nature’s beauty and observing wildlife from a safe distance. Your drone is a silent observer, providing unique perspectives on animals and their habitats.
You could collaborate with environmental organisations, researchers, or simply share your wildlife adventures online.
Unmanned aerial vehicles play a vital role in surveillance and security, providing a dynamic and aerial perspective.
Whether it’s monitoring private properties, industrial sites, or controlling traffic or crowds at events, your drone enhances security measures.
Drone operators can get hired by security firms, private companies, or event organisers to turn your drone into an extra pair of watchful eyes in the sky.
Drones aren’t just for cool shots; they’re crucial in search and rescue missions. Their aerial view is a game-changer, reaching inaccessible spots where people can’t.
Picture a missing person in a dense forest or a stranded hiker on a tricky mountain trail – drones can swiftly navigate these challenges, providing vital visuals to rescue teams.
Skilled drone pilots may have opportunities to work with emergency services, providing real-time data, mapping out areas, and aiding in rescue efforts. Your drone can make a real difference.
Regulations to be a drone pilot
There are a few rules and regulations to be aware of before you start making money from your drone. But these are generally quick and easy to meet, so don’t let the thought hold you back!
In the UK, drones are regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). To fly a drone that has a camera and/or weights over 250g, you will need a Flyer ID and an Operator ID. The Flyer ID is free, and the Operator ID costs just £10.33 per year. You need to pass an online theory test. You will also need third party insurance if you are flying your drone commercially. Check with the CAA for full regulations.
In the United States, drones are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). You will need to apply to the FAA for a Remote Pilot Certificate. This involves completing an online training course and taking an exam, and costs around $150. You also need to register your drone.
Be sure to do your own research and be aware of any local regulations regarding UAVs before you start flying your drone for commercial purposes.
How to make money with drones: conclusion
And there you have it – a sky-high journey through the myriad ways your drone can become a money-making machine.
From capturing dream homes for real estate to enhancing security at major events, your drone isn’t just a gadget; it’s a versatile tool ready to elevate your income.
So, power up, refine your skills, and let each flight propel you towards financial success. A drone photography business can open doors to opportunities you never imagined. The sky’s not the limit; it’s your starting point.
Happy flying, and may your drone ventures soar to new heights!