How To Start A Drone Business
What used to be regarded as a hobby or a device for leisure is now turning out to be a business for many. Drone business is gradually becoming common and relevant to the economy. More applications of drones are evolving daily; they will keep evolving as time goes on.
If you want to know how to start a drone business, this article is exactly what you need. We know that starting any business may be strenuous. A whole lot is involved, and each activity is important to the success of the business.
Several factors are involved, and patience should be coveted because the profits may not start coming in immediately. However, there are things you need to figure out before starting a drone business.
Factors to Consider Before Starting A Drone Business
What Do You Need to Start the Business?
Before you set out on a journey, you need to count the cost. Therefore, a drone business will require items like a good drone and drone accessories. These include extra batteries; a backpack for the drone; a good HD camera; and camera lens.
Read our article on what affects the cost of a drone.
Making a plan for the business set up may seem vague until you put it down in black and white. So, make a budget, itemize all that you need and the cost implication. That will help a great deal.
You may also need some form of certification, licensing, insurance, and advertisement. Of course, you need people to know that a new drone business is on board. Hence the need to advertise.
More so, while you are counting the cost of starting the business, plan on when you will recover your startup cost.
Do You Need Insurance?
Almost every business has insurance. This implies that your drone business will require insurance. The type that you will need is a liability insurance. But if you will be flying a new or very expensive drone, you will require a hull insurance.
What Aspect of Drone Application Will You Major?
Drone has a wide range of applications and you do not want to be a jack of all trade. While that may be possible but if you really need to excel in the drone business, find a niche.
When you start up the business, your customers need to know exactly what you can do. So, you need to specialize in one or at most, two fields. The reason behind this is that when you specialize, you will gain mastery quickly than trying to handle everything at once.
So, if you want to major in the real estate business, you need to find out what real estate agents need. Since you will be taking aerial photos and videos of their properties, this is very important. You also need to understudy what other drone experts have done that made them to stand out in the drone business.
Have You Mastered Part 107 Rules?
Video: Part 107 Rules and Regulations
This video explains the part 107 rules and regulations in a simplified manner.
If you want to become a legal commercial drone owner in the United States, you should have your remote pilot license. This is given by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Additionally, you need to check out the rules for flying drones in different states and localities.
Some places have laws guiding the flying of drones. So, you need to be well informed to avoid being classified as an illegal business.
Here are some of the rules for commercial drone flying that were put together by the Federal Aviation Administration:
- Any drone weighing more than 25 kg needs to be registered.
- The minimum age for drone pilots is 16 years old.
- Drone pilots must affirm that they understand the rules of the FAA and be part 107 certified.
- Before flying, a preflight test must be carried out to ascertain the safety of the operation.
- Every remote pilot must be designated to be in command.
- Drone pilots should not fly a drone from a vehicle in motion.
- The drone should be within a distance where it can be sighted.
- Drones should only be flown during the day.
- Drones should not be flown over people.
- Drones should not fly above four hundred feet and must not be faster than one hundred meters per hour.
If you need to fly your drone at night, you can get a waiver from the FAA. However, your request for waiver should reach the agency, ninety days (90) before the proposed date for flight.
Have You Gained Mastery of the Required Technical Skills?
We are aware that the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) does not test people’s flight proficiency. Technically, you can start your drone business after taking a test.
But in practice, you need to be well equipped to manage a drone business effectively. Knowing how to fly a drone is only but a small aspect of the technicalities involved in drone business.
You need to familiarize yourself with the sensor settings, the various flight modes, the software for post-production, and camera settings, among others.
So, if you have what it takes, in terms of skill set, you can be confident when talking to prospective clients. Your clients will also perceive that you really understand what you are presenting to them.
How Do You Intend to Market Your Business?
Every business, whether old or new, should have a marketing strategy. You may be scared about how to get clients since the business is new. So, how do you go about it?
For us, we believe that the contacts we have should form our very first customer base. Just scroll through your contact list. You may stumble upon the contact of a realtor who may need aerial images of a property.
Furthermore, if you reside in an area with many farmers, you can approach them. Farmers are in need of drone pilots.
Currently, farmers have been concerned about precision agriculture for greater yield. So, if you can pitch the idea of how drones will help them achieve that, you may have just found your first customers.
Hence, you should narrow down the areas involved in your chosen niche. This will give you specific customer segments and in turn, direct you to who you can market or sell your services to.
In addition to getting contacts, you can create a website. It should be very simple, user friendly, and have a call to action which includes your contact.
You can also make provision for a business card; they will come in handy when you attend meetings and other occasions that call for networking.
Another strategy to try out is the use of social media. You can use Facebook ads for just a little token. The ads should target people in a particular area where drone services are required.
Well, whichever marketing strategy works for you, give it your best shot because customers are the lifelines of every business.
Opportunities for Drone Businesses
There are lots of potentials in the drone industry. Below are a few of them:
Sole Entrepreneurship Film Making
If you have basic ideas on how to use a video camera and fly a drone, you can excel at aerial film making. You can come up with documentaries, montages, short films, and video snippets.
Irrespective of the fact that they can produced from a helicopter but using a drone is very safe. Drones are also cheap to use and can be maneuvered easily.
Also, you can get contracts to cover a wedding or a special event with your drone. So, owning a drone may be your first start at commercial videography and photography.
A good number of commercial drone pilots are into aerial photography. Different fields rely on this aspect of the business for asset management and data collection.
Drones in Agriculture
Drones can be used to inspect farms, especially very large farms. They can do so under half the time it will take a farm inspector to inspect a farm. Drones can also be used to check for pest and disease attack on crops.
Furthermore, drones can be engaged in the application of fertilizer, water, and pesticides on the farm. The data gotten from using drones on the farm can be used to improve the yield of the farm.
Security for homes and businesses is of utmost importance. A drone can provide real time video of what is happening in an environment and the data will be transmitted to a smartphone. So, if there is a break in, the drone will send the information to a phone and the police can be alerted.
More so, if a property is under threat from fire outbreak or flood, a drone can pick the signals. The real time footages will be sent to the owner of the property who will alert emergency responders.
Inspection of Buildings
You can use drones to inspect various parts of a building. This includes the roof top, the chimneys, and the sides of the building. Carrying out a roof inspection can be quite expensive and time taking. Sometimes, the data obtained from the inspection may be inadequate or not so precise.
This is due to the fact that there are some parts of the building that an inspector cannot see or reach. This is where a drone comes to play. Drones help us to see areas where the human eyes cannot reach. They give a close-up view of a building, providing real time data with precision.
There are drones that can travel under water. Before now, only large organizations could afford them. Today, they are becoming accessible as with a 1,000 USD, one can own an underwater or a marine drone.
This type of drone can be controlled from a laptop or a smart phone. It can travel down to a depth of one hundred meters.
Drone Repair Business
Drone pilots will definitely need to repair or maintain their drones since they use them often. Hence the need for this line of business.
As more people are indicating interest in flying drones, there is a high demand to train professional drone pilots, drone builders, and tech experts.
People can be taught the theory and practice of drone flying. You can also make provision for them to be certified and licensed after the training.
Most business now rely on drones to deliver goods to people. This will help to reduce overhead cost for small business owners.
Selling of Drones
Owing to the fact that drones are becoming cheaper, there is an increase in demand for them. This makes it a great business opportunity. Besides, you can include the sale of drone accessories to boost your turnover.
When people buy drones, they will also need to buy batteries, propeller guards, extra set of propellers, gimbal, and so on.
In addition, you can resell used drones as well as hire drones to people who need such services. Some people may not need to own a drone but may need it for a short while; it could be for a beach party or a family reunion.