My husband absolutely loves his drone, he takes it on most of our holidays to take great aerial pictures or video of the places we stay. It was while on our last holiday that he asked me if the drone could be used for making money, which of course peaked my interest, so as soon as we got back I began to look into it. It turns out that there are quite a few options out there, but we are only going to be dealing with what I think is the the top ten ways on how to make money with a drone.
Now in this blog we are not going to get into the rules and regulations regarding the flying of drones, but needless to say you do need to make sure you comply with whatever rules your country has, this includes having the necessary insurance.
These are not in any particular order so just because they’re numbered from 1 – 10, don’t think that means one is better than the other.
#1 Aerial Photos and Video
This is a personal favourite of ours simply because we have actually got some orders for a few of these since we told a few people what we were going to be doing with the drone and they would love an aerial photo of the area they live.
We use a GoPro on our DJI Phantom and that is perfectly adequate for the task at hand. We find you don’t have to go too high to get a great shot or footage of the property or landmark so you can actually keep the drone in full sight.
Here’s a shot of he cottage where we stayed
#2 sports and events
Sporting events can be a great option for using drone photography or video simply because the organisers don’t generally have the budget for what would normally be needed so that is where the drone comes in.
Any event like football/soccer are perfect for using a drone as is any type of festival especially the smaller village type ones.
Obviously it’s up to the organisers to let everyone know that a drone will be operating and any purchases can be made either through you or the organisers themselves whichever deal you manage to negotiate.
Real estate agents are always looking for ways to promote property in the best possible light and make it easier for any potential client to get a good look at it without the need to travel, then if they like what they see then book a viewing to see it in the flesh so to speak.
Hotels and resorts are another source of income for the drone pilot to capitalise on because there is no way to capture what a drone captures from the air without paying what would be out of the reach of many resorts. This means it’s easier for the resort to put together a comprehensive and professional sales package for a fraction of the cost.
#4 drone advertising
Moving on from advertising property drones are becoming increasingly popular to carry banners advertising anything from the local pizza place to the local university.
This works great because people are always curious when there’s a drone flying around and when it’s got a banner attached advertising a local business, that business is going to get a lot of eyes on their name which hopefully leads to more sales.
Now if you’re pretty good with a drone and let’s face it you should be, then you can take advantage of the fact that drones can get to places that getting to the conventional way would either be impossible, downright dangerous or just too expensive.
Industrial chimney stacks and roofs for example would be an ideal candidate for drone inspection.
A drone can survey the area first rather than using traditional methods of scaffolding etc. to determine if there is any need for further investigation.
#6 windfarm/solar panel inspection
Although this one could have been placed with the above one i felt that this is worthy of it’s own section. Bear in mind it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, you’re going to be on the water with some of the farms so if you get sea sick you might want to stick to land based wind-farms.
Like the section above, using a drone eliminates the risk factor of injury. For the turbines normally a person has to abseil down each blade from the central hub to inspect them. So not only are you getting rid of the risk, but you can also speed up the whole process. A rope team can only do around 3 large blades a day compared to the 9 a drone could do.
The same goes for the solar panel farms which can be vast, a drone can cover the area much quicker and more efficiently than other methods.
Of course you would have to invest in thermal imaging equipment in order to make sure all the panels are operating at full potential, or if you didn’t want to invest in that then you simply survey the site for any obvious signs of damage.
#7 hq stock video footage
Footage of flying past landmarks, over stunning landscape can all add money to your piggy bank. You can sell these to sites like Dronestock, although the money isn’t fantastic it will add up especially if you have a lot of footage.
If you didn’t want to sell to stock sites you could always sell them yourself (more on that a bit later) look at what a 50 sec clip goes for on these sites
#8 private investigation/surveilance
using a drone as part of Private Investigation is becoming increasingly popular, but not all P.I’s have a drone let alone know how to use one.
Which is where you come in. You can offer your services on a job to job basis as and when you are needed.
Another area where drones are becoming increasingly used is the sports industry especially football/soccer. Rival teams love to know what their competition is up to in their training for the big game.
#9 pipeline inspection
Pipelines can go for miles and miles so drones are being used more and more for leak detection albeit on a smaller scale.
The drone can be used to determine the size of the leak and what actions are necessary to contain it. If you are going to go in this direction you will need a thermal imaging equipped drone, something like the DJI Matrice.
Of course along with pipelines you also have power-lines and these are as you would expect a potential hazard to human life so using a drone to carry out inspections is a lot less risky.
Drones can be used for perimeter security in any number of potential scenarios, instead of walking the perimeter the drone operator simply flies around making use of an infrared camera if at night to pick out any intruders.
Another good option is to use the drone for the interception of poaching, this can be at fisheries or game reserves.
I know i said this was going to be a top ten, but I’m going to give you one extra as i think it’s great one if you have the skill.
#11 drone racing
Contracts up to the value of $100,000 are up for grabs if you have the skills to compete in the DLR (drone racing league)
So there you have it ’11’ ways to make some money flying a drone, pretty cool right. Oh yeah that’s right i was going to tell you a bit more on selling your own stock footage
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Which way do you like best? Do you have any other suggestions you’d like to share? Drop a comment below we always love to hear from you.