If you’re a fan of unmanned aerial vehicles, aka drones, you should consider using your equipment and skills to supplement your income. Drones are making a big impact on business by providing easier access to aerial photography and videography. Opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovative business owners to use drones in a new business model.
These small vehicles are used to study the effects of climate change, to inspect buildings, and in real estate. Drone enthusiasts also participate in leagues for racing and freestyle tricks. To start a business that provides services using a drone, you'll need to get a remote pilot certificate from the FAA and comply with all laws and regulations.
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Aerial photography and videography
Drones can safely and easily take aerial photos that would be impossible otherwise. Business opportunities include taking creative photos for weddings and other special occasions, aerial views of recently completed buildings, or performing a property survey.
An exciting new industry on the cutting edge of even this technology revolution is making 3-D models and maps with the help of a drone. If you want your business to provide maps or 3-D models, you can use your drone to take pictures of properties or locations and then use software like Pix4D or DroneDeploy to render them.
Teaching drone skills
There’s a large market of people who want to learn how to use a drone, so your business could specialize in teaching basic pilot skills and help submit FAA certification. As the industry continues to expand to younger and younger pilots, you could build a business running youth pilot camps where teens could learn racing skills and freestyle tricks. There is also a market opportunity to provide new pilots with introductory-level cheap drones.
There is a strong grassroots and amateur scene that is growing in popularity. Clubs and leagues are popping up all over the United States, bringing drone enthusiasts together. Successful entrepreneurs can start marketing promotional items for the crowds. Fan-friendly and branded merchandise can make quite an impact at events.
Inspectors have historically risked life and limb to access roofs and other dangerous locations to determine damage or judge whether construction met current codes. Create a business that provides drone inspections and offers clear photos of construction areas or possible damage. Using thermal imaging videography, your business could provide reporting on moisture damage, pest infestations, and more.
Sponsorships for freestyle or league racing
Freestyle drone flight is a rapidly growing activity. Using first-person view FPV headsets, drone pilots perform extreme tricks during flight. There are popular social media influencers who use their extreme flight skills to build a following and get sponsorships.
Drone Racing League has established itself as the next big sport, even cashing in on a deal with ESPN. With a standardized scoring system, engaged viewers, and professional pilots, there will be plenty of opportunities surrounding the league launch. The third season has expanded to a six-race series which will be broadcast starting in September in more than 75 countries.
As drones hit the mainstream in business, sports, and entertainment, there will be a myriad of opportunities to build a business around the technology. The prospects for adjacent enterprises — providing custom t-shirts to drone clubs, taking wedding photos, or training young pilots to become the next big thing in Drone League Racing — are endless. If you are a drone enthusiast, determine what skills you have to provide a unique service, and the sky’s the limit.