So you’ve bought a drone. Make sure you have one with long battery life. You’ve spent hours learning how to fly it properly, and are confident you can handle it in any kind of weather. Did you know you can use your drone and your flying skills to make money? Here are just some of the ways in which you can use your drone to earn some extra dough:
Naturally, drones are far better at carrying out inspections of large areas than humans. Any field which is having work done on it such as construction, requires frequent inspections of its entire surface to make sure there are no wild animals, human trespassers, or structural problems with the area.
You can hire out your drone (fitted with a decent camera) for carrying out such inspections. You also have the option of either flying the drone yourself or allowing your employers to fly it over the area. Either way, you can end up making decent money on a per-inspection basis.
The insurance industry is particularly interested in drones. Drone inspectors have been known to be offered $30/hr by insurance companies. They typically are looking for someone with a commercial flying license, so make sure you get one to snap the jobs up. Insurance companies are especially eager for drone operators after large scale disasters.
Additional industries that use drones for inspections are power companies and railroads.
Not expecting this one, were you? The drone advertisement sector is nascent, but promises great dividends in the near future. The basic idea is that you charge a certain amount to a company/private individual to fly your drone over sections of the city carrying a banner advertising their business.
Because drone advertisements are still a new practice, they attract a great deal of interest and amusement from people on the street. You can charge a good amount of money for leasing out your drone for a day’s worth of advertisement. But be careful while flying the drone over busy streets not to hover too low to the ground, or you may end up with a nasty accident and/or lawsuit on your hands. Also make sure you follow drone laws.
3. Teaching Drone Flying
If you feel you have complete mastery over your drone, maybe you can think about passing your knowledge on to others. After all, the drone market is going to keep expanding rapidly over the next few decades. There will always be eager new drone enthusiasts wishing to discover the secrets to better controlling the drone’s flight.
You can offer your services as a drone instructor to new drone-owners in your neighborhood, go online to drone forums and get in touch with students who want to learn, or even set up a YouTube page where you provide advice on how to properly fly a drone.
You can also offer to bring your drone to parties to teach kids how to use it. Craigslist is the best place to start regardless of your plans.
4. Event Recording
For this money-making avenue, you will have to buy a professional-grade camera or video recorder. There are many kinds of events, from private weddings to open-for-all conventions where the people in charge wish to record the day’s activities. Drones are perfect for this job.
Such events can take anywhere from a few hours to a whole day to finish, so you might have to clear your schedule in advance. Ask the event manager for specifics on how the event is to be shot, which angles need to be used and which important personalities will need to have closeups taken of their arrival, performance, etc.
Weddings are another event where people spend a pretty penny to look good. Drone footage is the ultimate way to get never before seen footage. Drones will produce unforgettable footage of the wedding and make it seem idyllic.
Sporting events may also wish to have aerial shots. Horse race tracks, football games, and running competitions are just a few ideas to start with. In the future almost all events will be recorded by drones.
5. News Gathering
Drones can be an extra set of flying eyes for news reporters. Even if you have no formal training in reporting news or ambitions to pursue a career in journalism, you can still sell off photos or videos of a breaking news piece to news outlets for a tidy sum.
Of course, the money you make depends directly on how fresh the recorded footage is, how major the news story you’re reporting is, and the quality of the photos/videos. Consider getting a police radio that lets you know when crimes are occurring near you that your drone can go investigate. Again, check drone laws to make sure you are legally able to use a drone.
6. Product Delivery
How much money you make delivering products using your drone depends on how much weight your drone can carry. So if you’re the owner of a recreational drone barely bigger than your palm, there’s not much it will be able to do as a delivery drone.
If you’re willing to invest in a larger commercial drone, you can use it to carry out deliveries to different parts of your city. Many organizations will be happy to hire your drone to deliver packages to hard-to-reach spots, such as places which have experienced some sort of disaster and are in urgent need of supplies, or where the terrain is not suitable for a regular worker to make a delivery.
7. Aiding in Precision Agriculture
This is different from field survey and inspection in the sense that it will need to be done regularly over a long period of time. A lot of the farmer’s work involves travelling all over his field inspecting the health of the crops and signs of any damage that need to be addressed. A drone can carry out this work much more quickly and efficiently, and even keep a recording of each inspection if required.
There are special cameras you can attach to your drone which capture specific wavelengths of infrared light. This will allow the drone to detect contrasting colors between healthy and unhealthy crops. Even localised spot treatment can be delivered using the drone when spraying or fertilizing equipment is attached to it.
8. Real Estate
It can take a long time to sell $10 million dollar homes. The market of potential buyers is small. As a result, agents for these properties go to extremes to market their listings. They routinely create videos to share online. Drone footage has become a popular feature of such videos.
Reach out to your local power broker and see if they are interested in HD drone footage of the property.
Resorts and hotels are also often looking for ways to stand out. Drone shots are a unique way to do it. If you try this, go to the high end hotels in your area.
9. Stock Video Footage
Companies are eager to find and use high-quality drone footage in their films, advertisements, and websites. They are willing to pay top dollar for high-quality shots they can use in their projects. Go to your local points of interest (like the Grand Canyon) and film incredible drone shots. If done right, the footage can rival the quality of National Geographic helicopter videos.
Once you have awesome footage, sign up for a site like Shutterstock to sell your videos.
As you can see there are plenty of ways to make money from drones if you are creative.
Some countries have very strict laws on flying drones. Make sure you check your local and national laws before flying a drone.