How to Make Money With Drones?

How to Make Money With Drones
Photo by Mitch Nielsen

Drones have been around for close to 100 years. If you are wondering how to make money with drones, there are several ways in this article you can try today.

We are in the generation of side hustles, and it is no longer enough to settle for one job unless it is high-paying.

Drones provide an exclusive opportunity to take your services to the skies. Of course, the sky is wide enough, and you will not find many competitors if you pick the right niche.

The Drone Money-Making Era

In the early days of drone technology, even up till now, the military has had the biggest share in its usage.

Armed forces of different countries, including the police, use these unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance and attack missions.

However, if you play your cards right, you can still take a bite of the booming drone industry. Owning an unmanned aerial vehicle is not enough, and it would help if you used it properly and purposefully.

Some considerations will guide you on how to make money with drones. We will present them here before listing the niches you can get started in today.

In 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration listed over 300,000 commercial drones in its registry.

That figure shows how much people and companies alike are investing to make money with drones. There is no need to worry if you are starting now.

The drone industry is far from saturated, meaning countless opportunities exist to make good bucks. You can grow your business from side hustle to a full-time company.

It is, however, crucial that you take your time to read this article. Making rushed decisions can pose challenges for your business venture. Do extensive research before settling on a particular niche.

Considerations Before Starting a Drone Business

The following considerations will guide you in setting up a booming drone business:


You could have all the cash in the world and still run an unprofitable business. Ok – having more money is an advantage when starting a company, but it is not the ultimate necessity for success.

One of the primary steps on how to make money with drones is deciding on the niche. There are several niches in the commercial and industrial sectors, and you can even create something in the military sector.

Whether you want to run your venture as a company or freelance with your drone(s), picking the right niche is equally vital.

You might have limited resources as a freelancer, but starting a company offers opportunities for funding from others.

The world seems saturated in every business sector, but you must take the stress of researching a good one.

Placing your feet in a suitable niche can unlock immense wealth, and you will no longer think about how to make money with drones.

Your chosen niche will also decide whether you need a truck or minivan to carry your drones or if a small car is enough.

Certifications and License

Drones do not fly on the ground but in the air. As a result, any drone operation is subject to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The law requires drone pilots to obtain a license. Having a Remote Pilot Certification from the FAA is necessary to operate drones within the licensed airspace.

Of course, you don’t want to be on the job and get flagged down by the authorities. This consideration is probably the first step to getting your business registered.

You must pass the Aeronautical Knowledge Test (AKT) to get certified. The material might be bulky, but you will be glad you cleared the test and got certified.

5 Ways You Can Make Money with Drones Today

Now that we have the considerations let us see how you can make money with drones. This list is in no way exhaustive, but you will leave this article with a better perspective.

The following are businesses you can start today to make money with drones:

An Aerial Surveying Company

In the past and even today, small aircraft carried out aerial surveys. They flew over the survey area while a camera mounted on the body took pictures of the ground below.

When aerial surveying began, it was revolutionary. However, the cost skyrocketed as aircraft operations were expensive.

Drones are not just cheaper but portable. You can effortlessly move them around and deploy them within minutes.

Mount a camera on them, and you can take photos and record videos of the landmass below.

Drones have gotten better in recent times, bringing higher flight capabilities. Also, the remote-control feature allows for deployment in challenging terrain.

Considering all the factors, it becomes clear why drones are replacing helicopters and airplanes in surveying. Fortunately, this peculiar industry is not saturated.

There are different areas in aerial survey, including digital mapping, GIS applications, topography, and archaeology.

While you will need several pieces of equipment to fine-tune the services, having a drone is a primary requirement.

A lot of companies around the globe need aerial surveys for their business. As a result, you can seize the opportunity, open your business, and offer the services.

While at it, ensure you equip your drones with the best camera tech. Nevertheless, you might need expertise in surveying to give professional results.

Take Aerial Photos and Videos and Sell Them

If you are a professional photographer, things get even better. Aerial photography is a booming business, and the demand is growing daily.

You can take photos and videos from your drones and sell them thanks to various photo sites. However, you can connect with the buyers directly.

The second approach can be a starting point to having a large client base for your drone business.

Sadly, understanding how to make money with drones is not enough, and implementation is key to building a successful business out of your drone services.

Aerial photography requires exceptional piloting skills. Also, it would be best if you equipped your drone with a quality camera and gimbal for crystal clear shots. Gimbals are even more essential when taking videos from the air.

GoPro is the go-to camera for many videographers today, including bloggers. Capture crisp 4K Ultra HD videos; you could be smiling to the bank for the returns.

Also, you can capture amazing indoor videos or photos of large arenas without hassles.

For aerial photography/videography, you can make money from two angles.

The first is to record famous and attractive landmarks, including landscapes and tourist attractions, and the latter can fetch money from travel sites.

You can snap photos and take videos on commission if you do not want to follow that path. Find sites that require such services and offer them your proposals.

While pursuing how to make money with drones, do not leave out your social media handles. Fill them with the crisp shots you have taken, and potential clients could give you a call from there.

Wedding Photography and Cinematography

Many couples want an extra touch to their wedding videos and photos. Not all of them are satisfied with eye-level shots done with handheld cameras.

Aerial videos add flair to the ceremony during playback. They can bring out the beauty of the locations from a wider viewpoint while forming a solid basis for the entire experience.

Getting clients for this niche is easy, with couples tying the knot occasionally. However, you will need good networking skills to connect with those that need the service. The clients will not come to you if they don’t see you.

Again, your social media handles are great places to start. Let your skills speak for themselves on your posts and slides. Who knows – your potential clients could be on your list.

Another way to get clients is to connect with a local wedding photography company yet to incorporate drone shots. That way, you do not have to worry about going on the lookout for newlyweds.

Industrial Inspections

Many industrial services require periodic inspections. One of the most common ways they carry out the checks is through aerial surveys.

Services such as electrical lines, train pantographs, pumping stations, and remote substations require maintenance checks.

Helicopters and aircraft are not only expensive but dangerous in certain terrains.

Drones are smaller and unmanned; they can fly across dangerous terrains and take or transmit videos from powerful onboard cameras.

Water and gas outlets are some of the utilities that can benefit from drone shots. As a result, utility companies can perform periodic inspections and even carry out damage assessments.

Industrial inspection is one of the ways to make money with drones, and it is also high-paying because of the professionalism involved.

You can use your drones to inspect insurance and construction sites. The former may require aerial footage to verify the claims of clients.

Spread your wings wide for inspections, and you will no longer worry about how to make money with drones.

The pay is substantial for this type of service, and you will gain valuable connections in the corporate world.

However, paycheck and client retention boils down to quality. You might want to dig deep into your pockets and invest in powerful drone-mounted Ultra HD cameras.

With industrial inspections, how to make money with drones becomes a walk in the park. There are several ways, including gas and oil pipeline inspections, cell tower inspections, bridge, and even roof inspections.

Real Estate, Hotels, and Resort Advertisements

What better way to bring out the beauty of a real estate property than to take an aerial view?

Real estate managers are increasingly turning to drone shots to complement the indoor tour of properties.

Aerial videos not only reveal the house but expands to cover the city or vicinity. As a result, prospective buyers can appraise the location of the property.

Drone shots have become powerful marketing tools that bring a much wider view. You can make substantial cash returns running adverts for hotels, resorts, and real estate properties.

The visual appeal of seeing a wider or complete view of any property is more than the interior tours. If anything, the interior shots complement the aerial views by giving more details to the amenities.

People tend to commit to something that appeals more to their visions. If what they see is attractive, they do not mind paying the price for it.

You will need creativity on this one if you want to learn how to make money with drones. The shots must not only be high-quality but highly creative.

Learning cinematography will be a big plus because advertising requires more than just showing the products. The shot frames must be apt and the angles compelling.

Ways to make money for hotels and resorts include reveal, explainer, and promotional videos. They are more than the point-and-shoot camera services.

You will often work with the marketing department to plan the shots and even write scripts. Every frame must tell a story, and every shot must add to the overall experience.

Take the Leap and Make the Investment

With the demand for aerial photography increasing, learning how to make money with drones can be rewarding in the long run. It is easier to start if you have basic camera handling skills.

However, different niches require a unique skill set. Adverts are even more demanding as you have to plan every shot. On the other hand, inspections do not require high technicalities as long as you are a good pilot and the video playback quality is good.

Being a good drone pilot is equally crucial if you want to make money with drones. Nevertheless, you can employ other hands if you don’t have the skill or certifications.

Research extensively on your chosen niche before plunging your resources into building the business. Invest in talents, polish your social media profiles, and creates your marketing strategy. In the long run, you will reap the proceeds.

To recap everything we have discussed:

  • Choose your niche
  • Get the necessary certifications and licenses
  • Invest in talents to complement your strengths
  • Polish your social media profiles and let your pictures or videos attest to your skills
  • Invest in high-quality equipment, including ultra HD cameras, camera mounts, gimbals, video transmitters, etc.
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