What are the 6 best drone Business Ideas and Opportunities, as we move forward from 2019 into 2020?
We've taken the data from everyone who's attended our ICARUS Permission for Commercial Operation ( PfCO ) course over the last 18 months, combined that with our industry knowledge and are bringing you the top 6 ideas for starting a drone business!
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Read time approximately 6 minutes.
So, first of all - it's worth prefacing this entire blog with the fact that adding a drone into an existing business is going to be the best thing to do. If you want to get a drone, get a 'drone licence', set-up a website and expect the business to start rolling in... I'd honestly say forget it. The market is full of people trying to do this at the moment... So, it's a case of either adding it in to your current offering, working out how you can solve a problem for someone by using a drone OR, if you're lucky enough to have some contacts in an industry who are using (or looking to use) drones - then leverage that to the MAX!
So, with that said; what are the 6 best Business Ideas and opportunities for getting your start in the Drone Business?
1) A Media and/or Production Company...
this one kinda goes without saying... Drones with cameras on make getting aerial photos and video safe and easy nowadays, and everyone loves a piece of aerial footage! That being said, this is where most of the competition is going to be too - so you'll need a way to make yourself stand out from the crowd...
Freefly Systems ALTA 8 Drone
We made a fortune in this space by having different drones to our competitors, such as the Intuitive Aerial Aerigon and Freefly Alta 8, rather than the DJI Inspire or DJI Mavic, which most of the rest of the industry were flying at the time. We also had special permissions under an OSC or Operating Safety Case, which very few other people had at the time...
Intuitive Aerial Aerigon Drone
So, find something that can set you apart from the rest and you're good to go!
2) Surveying, Modelling and 3D Mapping...
Definitely one of the fastest-growing sectors in the drone industry today. The market appetite for this type of data collection and delivery is massive and shows no sign of stopping soon. The great news with this too, is that you can do it with most 'consumer' level drones; although the best results will undoubtedly come from making the jump up to a dedicated data collection platform like the Wingtra 1 or Sensefly eBee. Especially when you move on to mapping larger areas at a time.
Wingtra One Fixed Wing Drone
3) Roofing Or Structural Surveys...
People are increasingly turning to drone technology to prevent them from having to get people working at height, which can be risky and dangerous. Especially given recent advances in drone technology, where drones can be fitted with interchangeable lenses and zoom lenses, we have seen a boom in the applications for this.
Roofs, guttering and chimneys can now be inspected from a distance using a drone operated by one person on the ground and the footage and images can then be reviewed in a warm, safe place.
We're seeing drones being used increasingly to inspect other dangerous or high-risk assets too... The inside of settling tanks, silos, pipelines and other infrastructure assets can now be easily and safely accessed and inspected by drone, meaning a much-reduced requirement to have people working in confined areas or having to 'vent' enclosed spaces or expose people to toxic or noxious fumes.
4) Thermal Inspections...
The cost of equipment is coming down all the time in this space, which is opening up the potential to people to enter the drone thermography market. It's worth noting that you're likely to require some form of qualification if you do want to deliver data into this space... BUT, it's worth looking at how you could get the business in, capture the data and then collaborate with a thermographer in order to get your data 'qualified'. If you can find someone to partner up with, you're very likely to find that you'll both bring additional work to each other, which is one of the techniques we used to grow our business VERY rapidly!
We're also seeing thermal drone options being deployed very effectively in to the Agriculture and Search and Rescue sectors... So these are definitely worth exploring too - especially given that the equipment you have to purchase to service one vertical within the sector is likely to be appropriate across a number of different verticals.
5) Wedding Photography...
What wedding would be complete without a drone shot or two of the location(s)?!? This is now becoming a staple product for most wedding photographers... Whilst this isn't going to be something that'll allow you to build a drone business in and of itself; it's something that every Wedding Photographer needs to add to their bag. Just make sure you've got the right permissions, licenses and insurance so that you're doing things safely and legally wherever you are!
6) Drone Training
It would be remiss of me not to mention drone training as a viable business within the drone industry. Although we've been very successful when it comes to drone operations all over the world; we now solely make our money in the training sector. Albeit, this is part of a much bigger play for us in terms of aviation training as a whole...
So, it's definitely looking into what you could offer to people in terms of drone training. Do you have a certain set of skills which you could teach to people in the industry to help make them better or safer operators? Do you have a niche set of capabilities which you could create a course around and sell to drone owners? Maybe you're a ninja on 'Adobe Premier Pro' and you can build a name for yourself teaching drone pilots how to make a kick-ass showreel? All these things should be options you consider!
I hope that helps and if you've got any questions, or additional ideas, please feel free to drop them down in the comments below! :)
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Fly safe and blue skies
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