Do you want to profit from the fast growing global UAV drone trend? If YES, here are 50 lucrative drone business ideas & opportunities you can start in 2016.
Current technology in the world has reached a point where small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS), essentially hobby sized remote controlled airplanes and helicopters, are more accessible now than ever before, both in terms of their relatively low prices and ease of flight control for new RC pilots.
Quadcopters like the DJI Phantom series seem almost ubiquitous now – they’re everywhere. Cameras, too, have come a long way; they are smaller, lighter, shoot in much higher resolutions and have better lenses. It was only a matter of time before the two would be paired using relatively sophisticated, but also inexpensive, electronic image stabilizing gimbals making video and photographic aerial imagery easy, affordable and fun!
It was probably also obvious to those paying attention that these camera equipped unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), most often referred to as “drones”, would also fundamentally change a number of industries and become the basis for what is being called “the next great land rush in tech.”Below are business ideas available in the drone business.
If you think this is the type of industry you may want to be in, then here are some valid business ideas to look into;
50 Lucrative Drone Business ideas & Opportunities for 2016
- Making and Selling of Maps
Map makers, topographers and even archaeologists need aerial surveys to fully evaluate some of their projects. In the past, companies had to shell out for costly helicopter and airline flights to give them the aerial perspective they needed. However, drone operators can provide these same great aerial views with lower overhead costs. Drones can also fly low and slow, which helps them capture better images of a site than a traditional aircraft.
- News Agency
Drones can go places reporters can’t, and for this reason, drones now film all sorts of accidents, disasters, conflicts and other incidents in dangerous places. If you can safely fly your drone to report on a story, consider contracting with a news organization to offer footage.
However, be cautious and make sure you have permission to fly your drone in that particular situation and location. For example, some drone pilots are causing trouble for wild land fire-fighters, in some cases causing conflicts with fire fighting aircrafts and imperilling fire-fighters.
- Inspection Company or Human Resource Business
Companies that operate oil or gas pipelines, electrical lines or many other types of systems need to conduct regular inspections. They could hire teams to walk the line or helicopters to fly as low as they can, but drones are ideal for this sort of situation, since they can get up close and personal and give inspectors a great view of current conditions, spotting any safety hazards or leaks.
- Advertising Business
Real estate agents trying to sell a mansion or estate can include amazing drone footage, along with interior and exterior shots, to intrigue prospective buyers. Resort or hotel marketing teams can show the luxurious pool, the palm trees swaying in the breeze, and the content guests enjoying the amenities. Aerial footage helps capture the essence of a home or resort.
Look for clients in these industries who might hire you to provide the visuals they need to market their properties. If you already have some experience in the world of marketing, adding a drone to the mix will give you a chance to offer some exciting new opportunities to your clients.
While GoPro and other action-sports video cameras have mastered the first-person point of view in sports photography, drones can capture the overhead, bigger-picture view. By working with athletic events or competitions, a drone operator can capture great footage of everything from a skier jumping off a cliff, to marathon racers rounding the last bend before the finish line, to footage of out-of-the-way bike races.
- Wedding Video Coverage Business
People pay top dollar for wedding photography and videography. Why not add drone footage to that list? Some couples will be willing to shell out in order to catch the “eye in the sky” perspective of their big day. Catch the bouquet toss from a whole new angle, pan out and show the overhead view of the dance floor, or showcase the venue and happy revellers as the sun sets in the background on a perfect day.
You can help happy couples capture those moments forever. People that are already interested in professional photography can add a drone to their arsenal of tools.
- Drone Leasing Business
If you want to have a drone-based business without operating the UAV, you can focus on leasing opportunities. Many companies and even hobby enthusiasts don’t want to invest in the purchase of a drone. They would rather pay for a couple of hours and use the equipment to get a job done.
To start this type of business, you’ll need to invest more money in the equipment. You should also think about developing a range of services – from the rental of a cheap drone to the rental of professional equipment and a pilot.
- Film Making
Launch a filmmaking studio that specializes in the field of aerial footage. Such a company can work with a vast range of B2B customers. From tourist landmarks to accommodation spots, real estate agencies and entertainment venues like theme parks – all of them can benefit from aerial footage for promotional purposes.
Even filmmakers are looking for experienced drone pilots that can add some specialized footage to their creations. The possibilities are limitless and you’ll be surprised by the big number of potential customers. The use of a drone for photography makes a lot more sense than getting a helicopter up there. Helicopters for film making can be quite expensive and many companies simply can’t afford the possibility
- Drone Inspection Company
Drones can be used effectively for inspection purposes because aerial shots provide a larger field of view, plus no humans will be endangered during the process. To start this kind of business, you need to be an excellent pilot and you also have to acquire some additional knowledge. The knowledge will depend on the types of inspections that you intend to offer.
- Start a Website
It’s easy to become a reporter and show the world footage from the event itself. For the purpose, you’ll need a drone. Drone owners can easily launch their reporting websites. On top of featuring articles, such online portals can be enriched through the addition of aerial pictures or footage from the place of the event.
On top of just launching your own website and trying to monetize it (through subscriptions and ad revenue), you can also research possibilities for selling the footage to major news channels. Many mainstream media are interested in the work of citizen journalists.
- Offer Courses to teach people how to fly drones
More and more people are interested in learning how to fly a drone. If you have experience with the technology and you’re a certified pilot, launching a course-based business will certainly be a great idea. The drone flying courses usually involve theoretical and practical sessions.
Students spend one-on-one time with the instructor, learning the basic manoeuvres and the safe use of drones to take pictures or capture footage. If you’re planning to offer drone flying courses, you’ll need the UAV itself and a simulation program. Students will usually start using the simulator first to master the basics and reduce the risk of accidents while flying an actual drone.
- Drone Selecting Business
So how do you select a drone that delivers high quality footage, and that meets the requirements for your business idea? You can start a business that helps companies or individuals select drones. Take some time to assess possibilities and figure out what your biggest strengths are. Next, you’ll need to draft a business plan and a financial plan. Having all of this information, you’ll find it easier to decide whether a drone-based start-up is the best money-making option for you.
Drones assist both large and small farming operations with water and disease management, and charge for the services. They’ll also be able to use drones to help with better planting and crop rotation strategies, and provide a higher degree of all-around knowledge of how crops are progressing day-to-day in different parts of a given field.
This boost in crop intelligence should make farms more efficient and help smaller operations compete with their more well-heeled Big Agriculture competitors. More importantly, companies can now test their business models and develop new revenue streams, as well as attract new investment.
- Solar Installation safety and Effectiveness
Aerial photo reconnaissance has long been used to gather information on competitors. Information about the size and capacity of manufacturing facilities, numbers of employees, business expansion and the development of on-site infrastructure, as well as many other bits of practical intelligence, can now be derived using small and very low cost UAVs as compared to the otherwise enormous expense of using piloted commercial aircraft like helicopters and airplanes .
- Power line and Cable inspections
Here’s another drone business idea among drone business opportunities. Consider a drone inspection service. View rooftops for damage or routine inspections. Better yet get a thermal imaging camera for your drone. View equipment on rooftops.
Such as A/C units, thermal imaging cameras will show potential problems with equipment overheating; you could avoid a complete breakdown of service. Use drone inspection services for tower antenna inspection, cell phone towers. Again with a thermal imaging camera you can monitor expensive equipment…
- Critical Infrastructure Inspection
Long before the domain of commercially piloted helicopters and airplanes, aerial surveys are used in cartography, topography, feature recognition, archaeology and GIS applications providing information on terrestrial sites that are often difficult, or even impossible, to see or measure from the ground.
Small UAV operators are quickly finding a foothold in digital photogrammetric mapping and ortho photography services due to the enormous cost savings realized using small unmanned systems capable of carrying a variety of visual imagery payloads that can go slower and lower than much larger traditional aircraft.
- Conservation, Environmental Regulation Compliance
In June, the Wildlife Conservation Society began training operators from the Belize Fisheries Department to use two drones to help track illegal fishing activities. The drones went into use just at the start of lobster season. And it is just one example of the growing use of drones in the areas of conservation and tracking down poachers.
Other examples of drones being used in the field include biologists and researchers using UAV video and aerial imagery to count everything from birds to polar bears while those in charge of enforcing environmental laws are looking for hard to detect activities like illegal logging and the dumping of harmful substances.
Amazon made popular (and sensational) the idea of commercial product delivery via unmanned aerial vehicles but their idea never took flight and Lakemaid Beer drone delivery services to ice fishermen in Wisconsin and Minnesota were grounded by the FAA in the United States.
Drone delivery services nonetheless are taking flight in other corners of the world where flight is faster, safer and more economical than shipping via overland routes. Drones are delivering emergency medicine, small (but critical) mechanical parts and time sensitive documents among other things.
- Disaster Relief Agency
Drones can provide public safety officials real time video footage in areas hard hit by natural disasters like flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes that often make huge inhabited areas almost impossible and too dangerous to travel by land.
Recently, in the wake of several very powerful earthquakes, disaster management and emergency response officials in Central America engaged freelance several UAV pilots to provide video services in support of their relief and repair efforts. Drones are currently being used in Fukushima, Japan where Daiichi nuclear power plant melted down over 3 years ago but radiation remains a serious health threat to visitors and scientists studying the area.
- Low Altitude Banner Advertising
This is yet another area in the drone industry to dabble into. This is not exactly a video-based commercial opportunity, but you can use your drone to promote business for individuals and they will have to pay for your services. There is plenty of profit to be made in this field with the right knowledge and application.
- Micro job Video Site
Many entrepreneurial filmmakers are offering video-related services and performances on “micro job” websites like Fiverr and freelance video marketplace VideoToOrder.com. They run the gamut of offering creative and personalized videos that are used by consumers to send special messages to family, friends and clients to marketing and promotion.
I think I’ve seen it all being offered: sexy, quirky, scary, professional, in all manners of dress and locations with two exceptions: videos made underwater and, surprisingly, videos using or featuring a drone to capture the footage.
- News Footage
Drones are increasingly being used by journalists and citizens alike to report the news. There have been several high profile instances in which small unmanned aerial systems have been used to document and provide video footage from areas of conflict, war, civil upheaval, accidents and disaster.
UAVs offer journalists a safe working distance from otherwise dangerous situations and can often be carried to the scene of a report and deployed by a camera operator far more quickly and at less expense than a commercially piloted new helicopter. Yes, celebrity photographers (paparazzi) are also using small unmanned aerial systems, too.
- Pipeline Monitoring and Security
Utilities companies have used commercially piloted aircraft, like airplanes and helicopters, to inspect hundreds of miles of electrical lines, towers and remote substations as well as oil and gas pipelines and pumping stations. Small unmanned systems equipped with cameras and video transmitters are now replacing much of the routine inspection that was very expensive and often dangerous to the pilots and inspectors.
- Real Estate Videos
This is perhaps the hottest opportunity for entrepreneurial filmmakers who have experience using drones and aerial imagery. Real estate agents are very quickly realizing that very low altitude aerial video footage captured by drones sell large pieces of property and homes with unique features more quickly. Additionally, agents who hire UAV video companies report that they are attracting more listings as well.
- Resort, Hotel Advertisement and Casino Monitoring
Similar to real estate videos above, what better way to show off a spectacular hotel situated on the perfect piece of property than to provide potential visitors the kind of video footage and aerial imagery only a small drone can provide?
In a time when hotels and resorts are fighting tooth and nail for advertising impressions and to stand out from the crowd on hotel booking applications and a glut of travel websites marketing agencies understand that unique video perspectives offer an edge in an otherwise tired marketing mix.
When Virginia resident Guillermo DeVenecia went missing not long ago, police and searchers were dispatched to find the 82-year-old man, who suffers from dementia and hearing loss. They searched for three days using hundreds of volunteers, search dogs, and a helicopter in heavily wooded areas and fields to no avail.
Concerned for his safety as the search dragged on, Fitchburg police issued a news alert to all residents to be on the lookout for the missing man. It took David Lesh about 20 minutes to find DeVenecia with his drone. Start a business that helps individuals in distress.
Video from unmanned aerial systems is being used to secure sensitive locations and areas from unwanted trespassers to detecting and documenting theft. A friend of mine was hired by a large aquaculture (captive commercial fishery) that covers some 150 acres to fly his thermal imaging camera equipped quadcopter over the grounds at night after several break-ins caused both the theft of fish but also the contamination of a grow out pond that caused much larger economic losses.
The company came to the obvious conclusion that, in their specific situation, it was more cost effective to employ one security officer with an unmanned aerial surveillance system that could quickly cover a large area of difficult terrain than it is to hire five or six security officers that would be required to man posts properly distributed throughout the property. He thinks he has the best job in the world.
- Structural Inspection and Construction Company
Several UAV operators are being credited for their service to public safety by volunteering their drones’ first person visual (FPV) systems (transmitting a live video feed back to a receiver) to allow law enforcement officials and structural engineers to survey roads and bridges they could not otherwise quickly and easily reach to assess damage.
Consequently, at least one of these pilots now regularly sells video footage to the local news outlet and contracts with a utilities company. Construction companies and architects handling large building projects are deploying drone operators to capture video in a way that allows them to measure and report progress.
- Private Investigation Company
Drones can be very useful to even the least of your investigation. With drones you can get limitless information without being in the field. The drone will travel the distance and uncover or get information from restricted areas. You can decide to start this type of business after thoroughly doing some good research and findings.
- Building and Monetizing your YouTube channel
Drone video is hot right now among UAV enthusiasts and many YouTubers, like Team BlackSheep, are gaining a HUGE number of subscribers by simply posting daredevil videos captured by their remote controlled aircraft from interesting and unique places around the world.
Making money on YouTube is not difficult; leverage your channel followers and video views in variety of ways: Promote your products, drive traffic to an online store or website, sell in-video advertising and product placement, enrol in the YouTube advertising partner program or become a YT celebrity
- Drone Parts Retailing and Repairs
Open a shop to sell parts to build and repair Drones. Drones are machines and just like any other known machine; they develop faults or need new parts. Your shop will sell these items and make awesome profits. One of the good things about opening this shop is that lots of people will be drawn towards you if you offer top-notch services.
- Drone Aerobatics Shows
Enter events like Drone Racing or create your own competitions. Just like horse racing, car racing, bicycle racing and all racings known to mankind. Drone racing will be a promising business where people bet and gamble on which drones will win. You will need a good amount of money to host such a programme as this, so be sure you have the capital to start a show as this.
Insurance companies are employing drones to inspect and quantify things like hail damage claims to roofs rather than put adjustors at risk of falling as well. There are already experts in this field who will be willing to teach you all that is required to delve into the industry. There are a lot online resources that will do you really good.
The drone business is a very technical one, but you can be rest assured that you can become a multi-millionaire when you launch out the right way.