What’s the best time to start your own drone business? Right now! In April the FAA released new regulations that expanded when, where and how drones could be flown—including over people and vehicles and at night–expanding the opportunities for drone deliveries and other commercial uses for drones. Drones are already being used by public safety, photographers, and insurance investigators to help make their work easier and safer.
With all the uncertainty and changes brought on by the pandemic, many people are turning to entrepreneurship to stay in control of their destiny amidst all the economic turmoil. So when should you think about starting up your own drone business? Now may be just the time!
Where to Start: Getting a Commercial Drone Pilot License
A first step to starting your drone business is to get your Commercial Drone Pilot License. Federal law requires anyone using a drone commercially—aka to earn money–to get your FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate, to commercially operate a SUAS—a small unmanned aircraft system—or drone*.
Classroom and online training options will help you prepare to take the required exam and will also get you started on learning to fly your drone safely and skillfully.
If you are someone who learns best with in-person, personal attention, RBS Drone Technologies is the way to go for your pilot license training. We serve all of Chicagoland and northwest Indiana. Expect to set aside approximately 4 weeks of time and invest $500 in training to pass the FAA Part 107 exam—this includes 8 hours of classroom training and two hours of hands-on training. Complete hands-on training is available for $500, or $900 total when you register for both the classroom and complete hands-on training.
*What’s the Difference Between Drones, UAV, and UAS? See these Definitions and Terms from the Pilot Institute
Find Your Niche in the Drone Industry
There are so many opportunities for drone pilots these days, and the possibilities continue to grow. Roof inspections are much easier and safer with via drone, to know what repairs are needed before climbing a ladder. For insurance agents needing to verify claims, this is a great boon. Event and real estate photography, public safety, all of these are growing areas for drone operators. Start with your interests and think about how drones can be applied.
Set Your Start-up Investment for Your Drone Business
After training to get your license, the biggest expenses to starting your own drone business will be the cost of the drone, and insurance for your business. See this guide from Drone Rush on types of drones at different budgets, that identifies starter/practice drones at under $100 (for non-commercial use) to upwards of $1,800 for a top-of-the-line commercial drone. Stabilization and camera quality continue to increase with price. Insurance is also a consideration—both for protection for your drone, and especially liability insurance. Best Drone for the Job estimated insurance to be $600 to $1000 in 2020.
Other things to consider are basic business start-up costs, for example a laptop and video editing software. Do you need office space or additional furniture to set up a home office? How will you market your business? LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram all may offer ways to jumpstart your online searchable business profile, to buy time until you can set up your company website.
This guide from 3DINSIDER reviews some of these start-up costs and includes ranges on how to price your services, for example from $75 to $125 to provide 5 to 15 images for a real estate blog post, to up to $1,500 for a full day or drone photography. Your pricing will vary and grow, based on your experience.
Are You Ready to Be an Entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship is hard work but offers a flexibility and pride of ownership that is unsurpassed. Start with your business idea and go from there. What problems can drones solve or how can they make life easier? Then go create it.
Let us help you get started! We’ll train you to pass the test to get your FAA drone pilot’s license. Ask us about test preparation and hands-on training and get started today.