Do you want to learn how to make money with a drone? Drones have become more and more popular recently. People use them not just for fun but also for jobs that need pictures and videos from up high. This means there’s a growing opportunity for people to start small businesses to make money with…
Do you want to learn how to make money with a drone?
Drones have become more and more popular recently. People use them not just for fun but also for jobs that need pictures and videos from up high. This means there’s a growing opportunity for people to start small businesses to make money with their drones.
I have had a drone for several years now, and it is so great to be able to take pictures from a different perspective with it. We’ve also used our drone for many purposes – such as inspecting a roof, looking at the top of our mast on our boat (at 68 feet tall, it’s nice to have a drone to check things!), for family pictures, and more.
Whether you fly drones for fun or as a pro, earning money with them can be straightforward. If you have the right knowledge and tools, you can make your hobby pay off and make income.
Below, I will be talking about how to make money with a drone, how to get started, the best drone to make money with, and more.
How To Make Money With A Drone
What is a drone?
A drone, also called an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), is a flying machine operated from a distance by a pilot (like you or me) with a remote control (such as your cell phone). Whereas before, helicopters were needed for pictures from high up in the air, drones have made it much easier for the average person to take photos and videos.
Drones are used for many things, like taking amazing pictures from the sky, delivering packages, and inspecting the top of buildings that are high off the ground.
Some popular drone brands like DJI have really good cameras and special features that make them easy to use too.
How much money can you make flying drones?
How much you can earn as a drone pilot depends on how much experience you have, what kind of services you sell, and how much demand there is for those services where you live.
According to Glassdoor, a drone pilot can make around $65,000 a year, with some making well over $100,000 each year.
Recommended reading: 18 Ways You Can Get Paid To Take Pictures
13 Ways To Make Money With A Drone
Below are 13 ways to make money with a drone. Whether you want to learn how to make money with drone videos or drone pictures, there are many ideas that you could try.
1. Stock photos
One great way to get started making money with your drone is by selling your drone photos on stock photo sites.
You can make passive income with a drone by taking aerial photos (such as of cities, the outdoors, and so much more) and selling them on stock photo websites such as Shutterstock, Getty Images, and DepositPhotos.
Customers buy stock photos for many different uses, such as on websites, in TV shows, in books, on social media, and in other places.
I buy stock photos all the time for my website and so do millions of other people. They are so nice and helpful to have!
You simply take drone photos, upload them onto a stock photo website (making sure to add relevant keywords), and then the stock photo site does the rest of the work to sell them to customers.
2. Real estate photos
As a drone pilot, you can sell real estate photography services to real estate agents which helps them show the properties that they are trying to sell.
By taking a picture of the property from different angles and heights, real estate agents can show a different view of the real estate that traditional photography can’t provide.
By selling property photography services with your drone, you’re selling a helpful service to real estate companies looking to stand out in a competitive housing market.
More and more homes are being sold with drone photos, and it makes sense – it can really show how great the surrounding area is around a home! Plus, a possible home buyer can see the whole home and property with a drone picture to get a better idea of what the home includes.
3. Building inspection services
Building and roof inspection services are always in high demand, as homeowners and building owners need to look for possible damages or maintenance issues.
Drone operators can inspect roofs and tall buildings safely and quickly with a drone. I personally know a few roof and building inspectors who regularly use drones to help them with their work. Instead of spending a ton of time climbing onto a roof (or going on one that may be dangerous to begin with), they can simply turn on their drone and take pictures in order to get a better idea of what is going on.
After all, drones can go where humans can’t, or at least where it’s risky, time-consuming, or expensive for humans to go.
This is what makes a drone so helpful when it comes to inspecting a building. Drones are so easy to use, and they can take a picture of a hard-to-reach location in just minutes.
Drones are used by others for inspection purposes as well, such as to inspect solar panels by solar installation companies, inspect bridges and wind turbines, as well as inspecting farmlands. A service related to this is that many times utility companies will use drones to inspect their power lines too!
4. Aerial photography and videography
Aerial photography and videography are popular for many different events, such as sports and concerts.
Sporting events and concerts typically pay for drone photos because it helps give them more images of the full picture of the event they are hosting as well as a different perspective. This can help them to sell more tickets in the future and gain more publicity.
I follow quite a few Instagram accounts that mainly post amazing drone photos from around the world. These content creators are able to make money by building a following and partnering with companies for advertising.
6. YouTube videos
Starting a YouTube channel that shares your drone footage can also earn you income. As you gain subscribers and views, you can earn advertising income and sponsorship deals or paid collaborations.
On your YouTube channel, you may publish videos that include drone videos such as from your travels. Or, you may be teaching others how to use their drone. There are many different avenues you could try.
Recommended reading: How Much Do Twitch Streamers Make?
7. Aerial mapping and surveying
Drones can be used for mapping and surveying tasks, such as creating topographic maps, assessing land for development, and for agricultural inspections.
This is because with a drone you can map out large areas extremely quickly.
I did a quick Google search for the job “aerial mapping drone pilot” and found a lot of different openings too!
8. Drone delivery services
Drone delivery services are a pretty new market, with companies such as Amazon starting to use drones for package delivery.
Sounds pretty crazy, but it is a real thing!
While regulations are still constantly changing, drone delivery services may have some big openings for drone pilots who want to be some of the first.
Drones have completely changed the filmmaking industry by allowing for unique camera angles and movements that were once impossible to achieve (or could only be done before with a helicopter).
Drone pilots can sell services in filmmaking and work on movie sets, TV commercials, and music videos.
10. Hotel photos and ads
Drone photos of hotels and Airbnbs can help to sell more rooms better because customers can see the surrounding area and what the whole building looks like.
This may help a person to see that there is a beach or a mountain nearby, or perhaps that it is close to the center of a city.
11. Wedding photography
More and more couples are wanting drone photography of their wedding. You can sell wedding photography services with your drone, which allows couples to capture their wedding day from different angles.
This could be an add-on if you are already a wedding photographer, or perhaps you can reach out to wedding photographers in your area and sell your services to them as an add-on.
12. Freelance jobs
Drone photographers can use freelance platforms such as Upwork, Fiverr, Droners.io, and PrecisionHawk to sell drone services to clients. By promoting your drone photography portfolio on these sites through creating a profile, you can find freelance jobs and make money.
I did a quick search and you can see examples of drone photographers selling their services on Upwork here to get an idea.
13. Renting drones
If you own multiple drones, you can possibly start renting them out to other drone pilots or people who simply want to take some drone photos.
There are many ways you can rent out your drone, such as to recreational users who want to try out flying a drone, content creators, photographers, researchers, for search and rescue operations, disaster relief, and so many more.
Getting Started With A Drone Business
Starting a drone business can be a great way to make money, especially if you enjoy playing around with drones.
As you read above, drones have been so helpful in many different areas, from real estate to movies, farming, and more.
Starting a drone business is probably simpler than you would think too.
What drone should you buy?
If you want to learn how to make money with a drone, then getting the right drone is helpful. Before buying a drone, think about your budget, the drone’s flight time (how long the drone can fly in the air on a battery charge), your skill level, and the type of services you want to sell.
Some of the best drones to make money with include:
Do you need a license for a drone business?
Yes, if you plan to operate a drone for commercial purposes, you should have a Remote Pilot Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). To get this certificate, you must:
- Be at least 16 years old
- Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English
- Pass an aeronautical knowledge test
- Be physically and mentally fit to operate a drone
- Complete the FAA’s online application
Once you get your Remote Pilot Certificate, you are required to register your drone with the FAA and you will then get a unique identification number.
You can learn more about how to become a drone pilot on the FAA’s website here.
Do you need insurance to run a drone business?
Having insurance isn’t required by the law, but it’s a good idea to get it for your drone business.
Insurance helps protect you and your clients in case something goes wrong, such as if there is an accident or problems with the drone. Drones can be expensive, so insuring them can help to pay for them in case something happens (for example, you could crash them into a building or lose them in the water).
I have personally lost a drone in the water, and insurance gave me a new one right away, which was very nice.
How much does it cost to start a drone business?
The costs for starting a drone business include:
- Drone – $300 to $10,000+
- Laptop to edit your photos – $500 to $2,000+
- Remote pilot certificate – $175
- Drone insurance – $1,000 per year
Other expenses that you may have include a business license, advertising costs, office space, and more.
The amount that you spend to start your drone business will be higher or lower depending on your budget, what kind of drone business you plan on running, and more.
How To Improve Your Drone Skills And Training
Below is how you can become a better drone pilot and get good pictures and videos. Whether you’re a beginner or if you’ve been flying drones for years, the below can help you to improve your business.
Become a skilled pilot
To get really good at flying drones, you need to spend time learning and practicing. Flying a drone is not as simple as it looks – I know because I have had a drone for years, and I have a lot to learn yet. And, I still get nervous when flying it!
If you want to start a drone business, then I recommend taking a drone training course that will teach you everything from basics to advanced skills. There are a lot of features on a drone and it can be overwhelming to learn. A course can speed things up for you.
Also, practicing as much as you can is very helpful, which will help you get better at controlling it. Finding an open space can help you get more comfortable with flying it as well because you won’t be as worried about hitting something with your drone.
This will then help you with the next step – taking photos and videos with your drone.
Video and photography training
Once you’ve learned how to use your drone, the next step is to get better and better at taking pictures and videos with your drone.
You will want to learn as much as you can about your drone’s camera and the different settings that come with it. You should learn how to set up good shots, how to figure out what kind of lighting you need, how to frame pictures and videos, and more.
Here are some tips to improve your video and photography skills with your drone:
- Take a course – Sign up for a photography or videography course to improve your knowledge of drone camera settings as well as framing and editing techniques. You can easily find a drone photography course online, such as on Udemy.
- Practice regularly – The more you take videos and photographs with your drone, the better you will be.
- Learn from others – I recommend joining online forums or drone pilot Facebook groups to talk with other drone photographers. This can help you to learn new tips that you may not have thought of.
If you get better at flying and taking good pictures or videos with your drone, you can start earning money. Of course, it will take time and lots of practice, though!
Frequently Asked Questions About How To Make Money With A Drone
Below are answers to common questions about how to make money with a drone.
Can I sell my drone photos?
Yes, you can sell your drone photos either part-time or even full-time. Many drone photographers earn money by selling their drone photos to people such as real estate agents, advertising companies, and more.
Are drone pilots in demand?
Drone pilots are in demand as drone technology has become easier to use and more affordable. Industries such as agriculture, construction, marketing, and even emergency response use drones for many different purposes.
Can you make good money with a drone? Is a drone business profitable?
Yes, you can make good money with a drone! You can make up to $200 an hour, and the average pay is around $65,000 per year. Profitability depends on factors such as your target customer and the services you sell.
What are the best drone pilot jobs for earning money?
Some of the best drone pilot jobs for making money include aerial footage, real estate photography, mapping and surveying, building inspection, and selling drone photos as a content creator (such as Instagram).
What freelance opportunities are available for drone pilots?
Some freelance jobs for drone pilots include aerial photography, land surveying, and inspecting buildings. You can sell your services through your website, social media, and online job marketplaces such as Upwork, Zeitview (formally known as DroneBase), and FlyGuys.
Is obtaining a Part 107 drone license necessary to earn with a drone? Can you make money with a drone without a license?
If you want to use your drone for a job in the United States, you’ll need a Part 107 license (this is informally known as the commercial drone license). It shows you know how to use your drone safely and follow the rules. Plus, some clients might ask you to have this license before they hire you too. If you are caught selling drone photography without a license, then you could face a fine of $1,100 from the FAA.
What DJI drones are recommended for making money?
What are the opportunities in drone training and consultation?
As more people use drones, there will be more need for drone training and advice. If you know a lot about drones, you can teach others or help businesses use drones in their work. This can be a good way to make money as well.
How To Make Money With A Drone – Summary
I hope you enjoyed this article on how to make money with a drone.
As you can see, there are many different ways to make money with a drone, such as:
- Stock photos
- Real estate photos
- Building inspection services
- Aerial photography
- Instagram content
- YouTube videos
- Aerial mapping and surveying
- Drone delivery services
- Hotel photos and ads
- Wedding photography
- Freelance jobs
- Renting drones
Do you want to learn how to make money with a drone?