Drone Services and Business Ideas: How can you use drones for commercial purposes.
Interest in drones is increasing all across the world. Consumers are looking to find new ways to use drones to provide business services. It is an immature industry with low barriers to entry which is useful for new start-ups and drone enthusiasts. In this article, we explore various types of drone services which companies can offer and some existing and few novel business ideas using drones.
First Steps for Starting a Drone Business (Useful Video)
A. Aerial Photography Business:
It is probably the most common application of commercial drones. Drone photography is an economical way to substitute highly expensive helicopter or aircraft photography. There are plenty of high-end commercial photography drones are in the market with the ability to mount some high-quality cameras and multi-axis stabilized gimbals. Modern drones are capable of taking some amazing photographs and stunning videos. Some of the drone services you can offer as a business are following:
Real Estate Photography
Real estate companies are striving to impress their customers by using some stunning drone imagery. Drone videos with a fascinating story can be used as a sales tool for high-value properties. Many real estate companies are including this in their sales strategy and making quick sales. The real estate videos cover many aspects of the properties and the most important is the suburb profile. Buyers can quickly get an idea of the surroundings of the property in which they are interested. The drone videos can reduce the deal closing time.
Industrial inspection of large structures and live video communication to the meeting room for company officials to monitor.
Inspection of large structures such as tanks, silos, heat exchangers, boiler rooms, cranes is hard to perform and a high-risk operation. Now skilled drones pilot can carry out the task like a breeze. The most important aspect is that a live coordination between a drone pilot and company officials is extremely beneficial and the desired outcome can be achieved with precision.
Inspection of gas and oil pipelines.
Wild life photography in dangerous and high-risk areas.
Forest and wild life monitoring.
Drone photography can be used to see the tree growth and wild life activity. Images at a regular interval can reveal precious information which can be used for future planning.
People are willing to pay good money for amazing drone pictures of their marriage. The angle drones can be of real interest.
Photography for sports magazines and websites could be a lucrative business idea for drone enthusiasts.
B. Drone Mapping and Surveying Services:
It is another area where drones are providing extremely affordable solutions to consumers. This mapping and contour building is used mostly in agricultural and construction sector but can also be used in other fields such as for disaster management tasks. It can be achieved by using either cameras or lidars and for further reading please refer to the article Drone Lidar for 3D Mapping. You should also keep in mind the expenses related to the software you might have to purchase and other subscriptions if you intend to provide such services. The software used in agricultural sector could be costly. Some of the surveying services you can perform using drones are:
- Agricultural Surveying and Mapping. It is a huge application area and you can perform many tasks such as crop scouting, identification of pests and weeds, spraying, yield monitoring etc. This topic has been discussed elsewhere in detail. Please refer to the article Drones in Agriculture.
- Construction-related surveying to get the contours or see the overall progress of the project. Big construction companies are using drones to get critical information for their big projects. You as a drone operator can offer such services if you have a fleet of drones.
- Archaeology-related surveying to locate the area of interest and fully evaluate the project. Selling maps for such areas could be a good business idea.
- Surveying and mapping for city planning. You can offer these services to city councils as a contractor.
C. Drones for Surveillance Services:
This is another major area of application for both commercial and personal drones. There are countless situations where drone surveillance is highly affordable and efficient. Some of these are crowd control in the major religious gatherings, concerts or during a protest, Surveillance to stop human trafficking or illegal activities, Monitoring of volcanic eruptions, tsunami and floods, Monitoring of strategical military assets and nuclear reactors, Surveillance to stop smuggling and drugs and general environmental monitoring.
For these types of activities, both normal cameras and thermal cameras are used. Thermal cameras give you the ability to watch the illegal activities in the night even when no light of moon or star is present.
D. Drone Leasing Business:
In some countries, like Australia, people tend to rent the equipment instead of buying. This is a popular business model for thousands of companies. You can also rent your drones to such enterprises for their projects. The way drones are getting popularity and penetrating in many industries, it could bring good business for you. There are already plenty of drone services companies offering such services but in my opinion, there is still room for more.
E. Drone Training Business:
Thousands of people are getting drone pilot certifications and as drone regulations are still changing very often in many countries, there is a huge business opportunity for training organizations to start drone teaching and certification programs. These are short term programs and can yield a real revenue for many start-up companies. However, while building a business website, you should consider the fact that the technical name for drones is now “Remotely Operated Aircraft Systems (RPAS), so you should try to get some domain with the word RPAS in that. In my experience Search engines such as Google still prefers exact domain names for queries.
F. Drone Aerial Advertisement
You can use drones for dropping brochures and pamphlets on a crowd for advertisement purpose. Also, a banner display can be performed using drones. Another form of advertisement business would be using drone footage to advertise for tourist resorts and hotels. Further thinking could also explore other opportunities.
G. Selling Drones and Parts
Last but not least, you can sell drones and their arts. If you do not have a huge amount to setup a drone selling business for commercial or high-end drones, you can still sell small drones for kids or simply few parts of commercial drones. Drone props, batteries, skins, cases, bags and other accessories do not require a huge investment. Again, you could sell online if you cannot establish a brick and mortar store. Start small and if see progress, you can escalate. You can also use a drone manufacturer as a drop shipper from China.
So that was it. Few of the business presented here are niche areas where it is unlikely for large enterprises to show an interest but some of these might be taken over by big players in future. So please do your own research before embarking on any one of these.