Do you want to start a drone repair business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a drone repair business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample drone repair business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample drone repair service marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for drone repair businesses. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a drone repair business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
Table of Content
- Why Start a Drone Repair Business?
- Starting a Drone Repair Business – Market Feasibility and Research
- Starting a Drone Repair Business – Legal Aspect
- Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Drone Repair Business?
- Starting a Drone Repair Business – Technical and Manpower Requirements
- Starting a Drone Repair Business – The Marketing Plan
Why Start a Drone Repair Business?
Drone technology is quickly gaining prominence in the globe beyond the military circuit. Drones are unmanned but controlled aircraft (aerial vehicle or unpiloted vehicle) used in the military during war to attack the enemy’s camp and they are also used by the military for surveillance and to gather intelligence.
They are equally used by the military to deliver food to front line troops during war. Facts have shown that drones are very crucial especially when the risk and difficulty involved in any military operation is high and unsafe for soldiers.
However, apart from the military, drones are now being used commercially. With the number of commercial drones expected to soar into millions in the next few years, individuals whose unmanned aircraft malfunction or crash will be looking for places to get them repaired.
Drone repair services are going to explode. A lot of repair shops authorized by manufacturers to fix smaller drones already are having trouble keeping up with demand. It is important to state that starting a drone repair business can be capital intensive but it is highly profitable because the industry is still very fresh.
It is expensive because of the fee you get to pay to acquire the training, and the money required to purchase the repair tools. Before you decide to take the plunge into the intriguing world of drones and the business opportunities that come with it, the very first steps is to enroll in an FAA-approved aeronautical training program to get a Remote Pilot Certificate, which is a pre-requisite to be able to commercially conduct a full-fledged drone business.
Starting a Drone Repair Business – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
From our detailed research, we have been able to find out that the global market revenue for drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), is expected to reach $6 billion by the end of 2017 and top $11.2 billion by 2020. It is believed that the rising convergence of the consumer and commercial drone markets will push this industry further into limelight. Note that the commercial and personal drone markets are increasingly overlapping, as lower-priced personal devices are being used for commercial ventures.
Also personal drone sellers are now aggressively trying to position themselves in the commercial market. Almost 3 million drones will be built in 2017, which marks a 39% increase from production numbers in 2016. Also while the two markets are overlapping, consumer and commercial drone customers still have very different needs.
It is very important to note that on the consumer side, personal drones are growing in popularity. We believe that one of the biggest drivers of this growth is the drone as a complementary product to one’s smartphone, as it can take pictures or provide other forms of entertainment.
Also commercial drones, or drones that are used for enterprise applications, have a smaller overall market, but a higher price point compared to their consumer counterparts. Presently, a lot of countries are now defining their regulations for drones, and companies are beginning to test how they can apply the technology in the market.
These commercial drones normally have a higher payload, longer flight times, and redundant sensors and flight controllers to make them safer. Commercial drones are more specialized to a function, such as mapping, delivery or industrial inspection, so prices vary according to these requirements.”
Note that while the agriculture vertical was expected to be the breakout success for commercial drones, the cost and potential ROI have led to slower-than-expected growth. Experts believe that these challenges mean that drone adoption in agriculture will likely top out at 7% through 2020.
We believe that the use of commercial drones for industrial applications is growing, and hasn’t been impacted by regulatory hurdles that were initially expected. Experts believe that these applications could make up 30% of the overall commercial market for drones. Reports have it that delivery drones will be mired in logistical issues like the time required to return a drone to its origin point after delivery, and will amount to less than 1 percent of the commercial market by 2020.
Starting a Drone Repair Business – Market Feasibility and Research
- Demographics and Psychographics
To be very successful, there are a lot you need to know and learn about drone technology before making up your mind to go into drone repairs. This is why you should gather all the available materials you can get on drones and make sure that you read them up.
During the course of this research, you need to have the information of where to attend drone repair training, how to source for drone repair contracts, the needed tools for drone repairs, drone repair billing administration et al. Report has it that America’s dependence on drones will become similar to the dependence we have on our smart-phones today. By 2025, America is expected to have an $89.1 billion drone industry.
In this industry, both large and small companies are not only integrating commercial drones into day-to-day workflows, but are greatly depending on the data drones provide. Even though adoption has grown universally, there are some clear trailblazers who have arisen greatly. We have been able to find out that these industries are particularly ripe for drone integration as they see significant time and cost savings over traditional data capture methods.
Note that since the passage of the federal regulations such as US FAA Part 107 rule, the industry has seen its largest increase in licensed pilots to date. Experts believe that almost 29,000 commercial drone pilots have been certified as of December 2016 — with an estimated 2,000 registrations submitted daily. With that rate, experts believe that more than 420,000 commercial drone pilots will be licensed by 2021.
Indeed this is having a dramatic effect on local and national economies. Because by bolstering existing industries — and creating entirely new businesses — drones are generating a lot of economic value for enterprises and entrepreneurs alike. Apart from the military, your potential customers in this business will be individuals and businesses who own drones for their own benefits.
List of Niche ideas in the Drone Repair Business
Drone is an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. UAVs are a component of an unmanned aircraft system (UAS); which include a UAV, a ground-based controller, and a system of communication between the two. The flight of UAVs may operate with various degrees of autonomy: either under remote control by a human operator or autonomously by on board drones. UAVs typically fall into one of six functional categories (although multi-role airframe platforms are becoming more prevalent) which can serve as a niche.
Your target audience can also serve as a niche idea. Remember that it all boils down proper research and analysis. The six UAVs classification include:
- Repairing Target and decoy UAVs
- Repairing Reconnaissance UAVs
- Repairing Combat UAVs
- Repairing Logistics UAVs
- Repairing Research and development UAVs
- Repairing Civil and commercial UAVs
Level of Competition in the Drone Repair Business
The drone global military market is dominated by pioneers united states and Israel. The US held a 60% military-market share in 2006. It operated over 9,000 UAVs in 2014. From 1985 to 2014, exported UAVs came predominantly from Israel (60.7%) and the United States (23.9%); top importers were The united kingdom (33.9%) and India (13.2%). Northrop Grumman and General Atomics are the dominant manufacturers on the strength of the Global Hawk and Predator/Mariner systems.
Research had shown that the leading civil UAV companies are currently (Chinese) DJI with $500m global sales, (French) Parrot with $110m and (US) 3DRobotics with $21.6m in 2014. But recently, more than 770,000 civilian UAVs were registered with the U.S. FAA, though it is believed more than 1.1 million have been sold in the United States alone.
These facts simply explain how popular drones are getting, and with the rising need for them come the need for repair and maintenance. It’s also important to note that drone companies are also coming out in developing countries such as india for civilian use, although it is at a very nascent stage, a few early stage start-ups have received support and finance, which have also increased the rising population of drone technicians to keep up with the growing drone industry. This industry is young and growing and there can never be a better time to venture into this business.
List of Well Known Drone Repair Companies
- Experts drones
- Charlotte’s UAVs
- Electronic partners
- Drone doctor
- Dr Drone
- Drone Co.
In this modern age, drones are rapidly finding their place in businesses. With a clear path to commercial success following the passage of the federal regulations worldwide, adoption rates have grown and big companies are infusing aerial data into their workflows to streamline operations and improve efficiency. We believe that while regulatory compliance, safety, and training remain threats to adoption, the commercial drone industry has hit a tipping point. The impact of drones cannot be ignored.
They are not just toys for hobbyists. Drones are powerful data capturing devices that are transforming the way companies operate — offering unparalleled insight and delivering ROI for companies large and small. The last few years explosion of the industry has resulted in thousands of certified commercial pilots entering the industry, and hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on drone services.
We believe that as more enterprise drone programs take off, a lot of businesses or companies will start seeking for drone technicians for repair and maintenance. Even low-end drone users, ultimately improving the base technology and providing a dynamic range of features and capabilities across the entire industry. Note that a huge commercial drone ecosystem has blown and will continue to thrive as drone adoption increases.
Starting a Drone Repair Business from Scratch or Buying a Franchise
Starting from the scratch in this industry is far better than buying a franchise. This is because the sole advantage of buying a franchise is getting a system already in place and a franchisee to do the marketing. But the name (branding) just doesn’t make much difference because the customers involved in this field are just individuals who you can get to through networking and marketing.
Have it in mind that this business is not a business you can jump into if you don’t have experience or rather enjoy it as a hobby. We all know that from the scratch is less expensive than buying into a franchise and it also gives you a clean slate which allows you to build the business in your own image without having to deal with a business’s previous problems or poor reputation.
Also, starting a Drone repair business allows you to put your own unique business idea into effect without being restricted by franchise rules or the preconceived notions of previous customers of a business.
Possible Threats and Challenges of Starting a Drone repair Business
It takes courage and competence to be able to survive in business. Every business has its own challenges but what makes you an outstanding entrepreneur is your ability to survive and build your business. Here are few challenges of starting a drone repair business.
- Capital and financing your business
- Finding customers
- Dealing with the stress of not having a steady pay check
- Managing your money, legal protection and taxes
- Dealing with negative people, loneliness and self-doubt
- Building a reputation
- Fighting competition
- Hiring employees
Starting a Drone Repair Business – Legal Aspect
- Best legal entity for a Drone Repair Business
There are four major legal structures in the business world; sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or a corporation. You need to understand that every legal entity available in the business world has its own benefits and disadvantages, but you need to carefully examine your options before choosing a legal entity.
When starting a drone repair business, the LLC is the best legal entity. An LLC is a “pass through” tax entity. That means that the LLC itself does not pay tax, you pay tax on the profits you receive. The trick to reducing your tax liability is two-fold: start an LLC but tax it as an S-Corporation.
Pay yourself a small but reasonable monthly salary and once per quarter you can take out a chunk of the profits as distribution. You will pay standard tax on your monthly salary but the quarterly S-Corporation distribution is not looked at as employee wages so you will not have to pay social security or Medicare tax on this distribution amount.
List of Catchy Business Name ideas for a Drone Repair Business
- Drone care
- Drone Pro
- Fast repairs
- ABC technologies
- Magical Drones
- Drone war
- Repair palace
The drone repair business is not a process you dive in head first. You need to plan, lay your facts and draw your strategies before going into this industry. Know that as a drone repairer, you should be aware of the enormous risk in the business.
One mistake in your work and a client’s drone or information could be compromised – and that could quickly escalate into a lawsuit against your business. If their work devices are further damaged while in your care, you could be liable for those costs as well.
So Insurance is needed in the drone repair business. To protect your business from the high cost of liability lawsuits, property damage, and cyber risks, you need a business protection plan that accounts for the nuances in your daily operations. Insurance needed by a drone repair business include;
- General Liability Insurance for drone and repair businesses
- Errors and omissions insurance for drones
- Business owners policies
- Bailee’s coverage: insurance for customer properties in your care
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- Workman’s Comp Case Study: WC Pays for Workplace Injuries
- Employer’s liability insurance
- Fidelity bonds: Insurance for Employee Theft
- Employment Practices Liability Insurance for Small Drone repair Shops
- EPLI policy: Protecting Drone repair Companies from Lawsuits over Firings
Intellectual Property Protection
Reports have it that intellectual property theft is committed by half of all employees and competitors. Employees routinely transfer company data to the cloud through personal emails and on to their flash drives, as part of the day to day execution of their jobs, and then they never clean the data off of their systems.
What’s more significant, most employees, despite their non-disclosure agreements, believe that the creative work performed on behalf of their employers remains their own. Note that intellectual property protection is very well required in the drone repair business in form of patents protection, trademark and copyright protection, Technical Data and Drone Software Protection.
For you not to lose your hard work and time, you have to implement and reinforce non-disclosure and non-compete agreements, use forensic techniques to monitor your network, maintain privacy and security through key word phrases, and develop a solid relationship with a digital forensics investigator.
We also advise that you avoid reallocating equipment or information without making a forensic copy, discard the forensic image for at least six months, not allow your workers use personal flash drives, never underestimate the determination of a thief, and always try to do things yourself.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Drone Repair Business?
We believe that becoming a drone technician is a great point of entry into the vast technology field, and drone certifications will help demonstrate your knowledge and competency in maintaining drones. Having professional certification shows how good and trustworthy your services are to your prospective customers. Certifications in this business may include Certified DJI Repair Centre etc.
For your customers to trust you wholly, you need to show them that you are an expert especially as a drone operator. Under Part 107, which the FAA announced on June 21st, 2016 and implemented on August 29th, 2016, commercial drone operators are required to:
- Pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at one of around 700 FAA-approved knowledge testing centres across the United States (this list last updated May 2017).
- Be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration.
- Obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate with a small UAS rating (like existing pilot airman certificates that never expires).
- Pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months.
- Be at least 16 years old.
- Make available to the FAA, upon request, the small UAS for inspection or testing, and any associated documents/records required to be kept under the proposed rule.
- Report an accident to the FAA within 10 days of any operation that results in injury or property damage over $500.
- Conduct a pre-flight inspection, to include specific aircraft and control station systems checks, to ensure the small UAS is safe for operation.
Legal Documents Needed for a Drone Repair Business
When planning to start a drone repair business, you need to know what licenses and permits you need. Note that each document needs time, energy and paperwork for you to be able to obtain the proper registrations. As unpleasant a task as it may be, don’t risk your business shutting down before it fully begins. Conducting business without the proper licensing is a criminal offense in some states, while others hand out hefty fines. Here are some legal documents needed for a drone repair business;
- Business license
- VAT registration
- Employment agreement
- Federal tax identification number
Financing your Drone Repair Business
Finance or rather funding is a key ingredient in the success of every business. There is a popular saying “that money is used to make money”, any business that lacks funding is literally dead and doesn’t exist. We believe that the major problem faced by entrepreneurs is not choosing a business niche but the capital and funding for the business. You need fund to be able start up a drone repair business, buy tools, rent offices and utilities, pay employees, and also build a corporate identity. Ways of financing a drone repair business may include:
- Personal savings
- Loans from friends and family
- Small business loan
- Attract investors
- Bank overdrafts
- Community schemes
Choosing a Suitable Location for your Drone Repair Business
In this business, choosing a suitable location should be one of your paramount decisions. This is because the location you choose for your drone repair business has a direct effect on your operation’s costs as well as your ability to serve customers (and therefore your revenues).
Also, location decisions, once made, are difficult and costly to undo. Have it in mind that a good location for your drone repair business should be a well-travelled street where the shop will be seen by many individuals who can easily pull into the lot and patronize your services.
We suggest you consider whether your location can benefit your business and if you are around similar businesses that are already drawing the type of customers that you want, like starting your repair shop beside a shop that sell drone accessories.
We also advice that you go for a location where you can easily afford its rent. Finally, the location that you choose needs to be legally acceptable for whatever you plan to do there. A certain spot may be good for business, but if it’s not zoned for what you plan to do, you are asking for trouble. Remember; never sign a lease without being sure you’ll be permitted to operate your business in that space. Know that the city planning or zoning board determines what activities are permissible in a given location.
Starting a Drone Repair Business – Technical and Manpower Requirements
It is your duty to find out where to undergo drone repair training. Drone repair training schools are not common and can be difficult to come by, as a matter of fact it is much easier to enroll in the Air Force to gain drone repair training. This is why you need to make sure that you locate a drone repair training school and get enrolled. The fee is not cheap, so you must fortify yourself financially for your drone repair training.
Also there is no point bothering yourself writing your business plan if you are not trained to do so, you can contract it to professionals whose job is to write business plans for business owners. All you need to do is to furnish them with all the required information and then pay the fee you are charged.
Indeed a drone repairer can easily fall into the trap of believing that he/she can pick up new skills on the fly or after quickly reading a manual. But if you fail to partake in continued education and training, your knowledge base may become obsolete.
The size of a drone repair business must surely decide the size of employees you need but always remember to hire smart. The people you hire is going to create an impression about your company with your customers, so be sure to screen candidates on more than just their tech skills and certifications.
Your employees should be driven and well-versed in both technical expertise and interpersonal skills. There are tools designated for repairing drones, and you have to purchase them. The tools can be expensive that is why you would have done your feasibility studies to know how much you would need to acquire the tools. Some of the tools you would need to purchase to start your drone repair business may include:
- electronic digital tap hammer
- hot bonders
- blanket test
- oven control systems
- thermocouple spot welders
- vacuum pumps and gages
- portable temperature controllers
- vacuum debunking / curing tables for composite repair,
- full colour touch screen hot bonders with USB data transfer capabilities
- Micro Screwdriver Set
- Soldering Station
- Repair Stand
- Anti-static Connection
- Safety Glasses
The Service Process Involved in a Drone Repair Business
Successful entrepreneurs know that the real money is in the upsells. Drone repair is no different. We believe that the most popular upgrade that people opt for when purchasing a drone are gimbals, the mechanism which attaches the camera (and other gear) to the drone.
Other upgrades include antenna upgrades, speed modifications, and first-person view (FPV) cameras that allow pilots to operate the drone through the drone’s visual perspective beamed into a video display or VR goggles—these upgrades will become ever more popular once recreational drone racing grows in popularity. We were able to find out that the most frequent accessory repairs also happen to be gimbals and FPV mods.
With gimbals, any issues with their alignment can spell disaster for an aerial filmmaker trying to get their perfect shot. Also note that FPV cameras often get damaged in a nose-first crash. What all this means for the wireless repair technician is that profit can be made twice: first by installing these add-ons for customers and the again when these add-ons require servicing. Experts in the industry believe that the most common types of repair issues that affect drones include:
- Outer shell replacement, due to general wear and tear that causes dents or gashes.
- Motor maintenance, as these components are often one of the main points of contact during a crash. Additionally, drone motors are prone to overheat when propellers are incorrectly positioned, thereby creating additional motor stress.
- Mainboards & ESCs (Electronic Speed Control), as crashes and contact with water are likely to damage these intricate electronic components.
- Aircraft leg replacement, due to the wear they endure after frequent landings.
- Gimbal replacement, as their usual placement beneath the drone ensures they are likely to be the first thing to hit the ground in accidents.
Starting a Drone Repair Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and Strategies
Developing a substantial marketing plan for your drone repair business can blow your business into great heights. You can’t just sit idle and expect your business to grow itself, you should be able to expand and promote your services.
But even before thinking of marketing procedures, you need to first and foremost understand yourself and your targeted costumers – what they want and how they think. Also if you want to market a drone repair business, there are different strategies that you can use. These may include;
- Word of Mouth
Indeed the best word of mouth comes from happy customers, so when you give your customers their drones back, take a second to give them a business card and write “good for 10% off the next repair, service or part” and ask them to give it to someone they know who needs drone repair work. It makes them look connected and you look generous. And generally when passing it on the customer will tell her friend that she was very happy with your work and can recommend you.
- Social Media Marketing
You need to know that social signals are a huge factor for one of Google’s new indicators of freshness. For instance, if someone is boosting your content through their social media accounts, then something new and fresh must be going on with your site. And obviously there must be something of value – otherwise, it wouldn’t be getting shared.
Have it in mind that social media is also a great indicator that your company is not going away anytime soon, and also gives your customers an opportunity to see your personality. After all it is all about developing relationships for longevity and customer satisfaction.
Traditional Way of Marketing
We suggest that you find a local newspaper publisher and post an advertisement there. A lot of people read the newspaper every day and if you put an ad there, your potential customers will be able to read it. The ads don’t have to be large because it can be costly.
We advise that you pick a minimal size of ad space and make sure that the advertisement’s content is complete. State what you are offering and why customers should choose you. Don’t forget to include your business name (or logo just in case you have one), address, and the contact details.
- Flyers, Cold Calling, House-to-house etc.
We believe that apart from the local newspaper ads, you can also send out some attention-grabbing flyers. Note that the flyers should be distributed on a high traffic area. Just like the ads on the newspaper, you also need to include all the details about your business and what you can offer them.
You can also try cold calling or perhaps you can go house to house. You should also try to make your offer different from that of other drone repair businesses. You have to provide an excellent drone repair business and offer some perks or bonuses for a limited period. This will ensure a continuous surge of customers.
Strategies for Winning Competitors in the Drone Repair Business
Whether we like it or not, competition brings about innovation in every business industry. You should be able to see competition as a fuel that can bring about creativity, success and hope to your business. For you to win your competitors in the drone repair business, you need to move beyond the drone repair business. You also need a CIO for greater business strategy and direction.
We also believe that you need to prepare for the inevitable and strive to stand your business. When you are planning for the future of your business, you need to prepare for the worst, so it won’t happen or you will be prepared when it does. Your small business needs IT personnel to help you and also construct internet strategy around your business growth plans.
Strategies to Boost your Drone Repair Service Brand Awareness and Creating a Corporate identity
Establishing a viable brand awareness strategy isn’t just a great idea but a solid strategy that aids you by directly impacting your company’s bottom line income figures. Note that a great brand awareness strategy needs a multi-faceted approach to improving brand engagement with past, current and future customers.
To boost your brand awareness and create a corporate identity in the drone repair business, you need to engage in offline guerrilla marketing like leaving sticky notes in random places (bars, coffee shops), using markers and chalk to advertise promotions on a sidewalk, “Accidentally” leaving a branded pen at the bank, donating branded bookmarks to your local library, using sticky notes to create temporary images on buildings, cars, etc. We strongly believe that a drone repair business brand can be boosted by giving out business cards, donating gifts or coupons, speaking and sponsoring events.