Thanks to the rapidly increasing prevalence in the ownership of high-end drones in recent years several privatized drone service markets have emerged. With the decreasing cost of drones lowering the investment required to enter drone-related fields more and more people are turning to drones to make a living. There are a huge variety of markets that drones play a part in, some as simple as photography, while others are more complex such as search and rescue or agriculture. Depending on the kind of drone you own or are planning to buy and what field you intend to be in there’s no shortage of ways to make money off your drone.
The first money making method for drones we’ll go over is aerial photography. This is a method many people are already very familiar with and is very popular for many amateur drone entrepreneurs. Drones allow photographers and videographers to get unique perspectives on events or objects in ways that traditional photographers can’t. By taking advantage of this you can take stunning photographs of things such as weddings, where people pay good money to ensure they have every possible shot of their event. Many concerts and festivals also hired drone pilots to take aerial photography to show off the crowd at the event. If you plan to do drone photography, especially at weddings, make sure you purchase a quieter drone as the loud buzzing of some drones can be quite a distraction.
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The rapid improvements in the affordability and speed of drones have led to the development of a brand-new sport, drone racing. The race tracks in drone racing are laid out in advance by the course designer and you pilot your drone from the first-person perspective using a VR headset. The drones that compete in these races are modified to fly at over 90 miles an hour and be highly maneuverable. Drone racing requires a little more investment into your drone then some other forms of money making as well as a higher level of skill than most other forms of drone money-making, but the potential reward is tremendous. Some of the top drone racing pilots have six-figure contracts and land themselves lucrative sponsorships.
Surveillance and Video Monitoring
Another emerging market in the private drone industry is the use of drones for surveillance and video monitoring. Because drones can effectively reach and see anywhere, they are highly effective surveillance tools and many private companies already employ drones for surveillance purposes. Some businesses or individuals, however, may not feel the need to buy their own drone and learn to pilot it, but rather will employ the use of a private investigator style drone pilots to aid them in their surveillance efforts. If this interests you, it’s best to have a drone with a very long range and flight time as well as a very high resolution, preferably 4k, camera. Many farmers who suspect their land is being trespassed upon will hire drone operators to monitor the perimeter of their property during the hours they think they’re being trespassed on.
Search and Rescue
If you’re looking to help others, then one of the noblest roles in the private drone world is as an aid to search and rescue teams. Almost any kind of drone can fit this role, however, one with a higher resolution camera or even infrared cameras can be of greater help. Having an eye in the sky makes searching substantially easier when a person is missing and every minute counts, however, many search and rescue pilots do so on a volunteer basis and are not actually paid. Some private search and rescue drone pilots are paid though and will often see considerable returns on their investment.
Aerial Surveying and Inspections
Modern infrastructure presents a variety of higher places that are hard for people to get but often need to be inspected. For example, utility companies need to regularly check their power lines, towers, and other facilities, while cell phone companies will need to regularly check their radio towers and transmitters. Sending a person all the way up the power lines or radio tower to inspect the equipment is extremely time-consuming, costly, and can even be dangerous. The use of drones has made this work much easier as well as much more efficient and many utility companies are looking to hire drone pilots to inspect their equipment. Again, if this field of drone piloting interest you then it’s best to make sure your drone is equipped with at least a 1080p camera as well as a good range and battery life.
Real Estate and Surveying
Many real estate companies have taken up the practice of getting aerial shots of their properties for sale to help sell the property to prospective buyers. This is a relatively easy way to make quick money using any drone that has a decent camera. Taking it up a notch many companies want their land surveyed which is also possible through the use of drones. To survey a plot of land a drone has to have special sensors equipped to it which allow it to determine the contours and distance from the land as it flies. While all of this requires slightly more investment into your drone, it results in a variety of jobs being available to you that are more lucrative.
The term precision agriculture describes the integration of a variety of sensors & Technologies into the farming process in order to increase efficiency and crop yield. Drones are having a huge impact in the field of precision agriculture as they can carry a variety of onboard sensors and giving Farmers a completely new perspective on their fields. Drones with the appropriate sensors can determine how much fertilizer soil needs, how much water plants need, and the overall health of the fields. This information is invaluable to Farmers trying to improve their return on investment and is cheaper and easier to gather 3 drones than any other method. Drones are also being used in irrigation and crop spraying operations as the field of drone use in agriculture continue to expand.
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These are only 7 of the numerous way drones can make money these days. Your imagination is the limit and if you can discover a new application for drones yourself then you might be looking at a lot more money than entering into a saturated market. The best thing about the drone industries on this list is that they are all rapidly expanding, and new technologies will continue to grow these industries making them lucrative for years to come.
This article is written by Jake Carter. He is a drone enthusiast and writer at RC Hobby Review. Follow him on Twitter & Facebook.