The toy you sometimes see grown men piloting high up in the sky might not be what you think it is. At first, when you hear a DRONE, your instincts tell you it’s some US Air Force airplane about to deploy some bombs. That’s not the type of drone we’d be talking about today. Did you know you could make money from flying your toy drone? That’s what we intend to cover in this article. So brace yourself up as we discuss the many ways you could make money as a freelance drone pilot.
What is a drone?
A drone could also be known as an unmanned aerial vehicle. What this means is that it flies without any humans on board. Funny right? Why would a small toy need a human on board? That is because drones were first built for soldiers as early as the 1920s. They were universally employed in weaponry and were remote-controlled or programmed to deploy bombs at a specific target. A drone utilizes the same principle as a helicopter to fly, but that’s not what we want to discuss today. We want to discuss using civilian drones to take photos, make videos, or just have fun.
Types of drones
Before we get into how to make money with drones, we should know the different types of drones available on the market. The type of drone you have would impact the kind of jobs you would want to perform with it. Drones are produced in different grades for different purposes. Some can reach higher altitudes, while some can travel farther away from the pilot without struggling too much with the connection. So without further ado, let’s get into it.
“Multi-rotor” is short for multiple propellers and rotors. They are designed to take off vertically and land like a helicopter. At first glance, the design looks like that of some secret army helicopter. While it doesn’t look like a helicopter for carrying passengers, it operates on the same rotor mechanism. Unlike helicopters with one rotor, multi-rotor drones possess six to eight small rotors that work together to achieve flight. Since they have more rotors, it makes sense that they would require more energy to run. Power consumption is one disadvantage of multi-rotor drones. So if you need a drone that operates for long periods, you should avoid multi-rotor drones.
Single Rotor Drones
Single-rotor drones are designed similarly to regular helicopters. They even have the same structure. The single-rotor drone is more energy efficient compared to the multi-rotor drone. Like a helicopter, it has two rotors, one at the top and another at the tail end. The flying efficiency of single and multiple rotors varies depending on how many rotors the drone has. While single-motor rotors use less energy, they can also be more challenging to fly. You need to be a trained expert to fly one of these.
Notwithstanding, single-rotor drones confer a huge advantage over multi-rotor drones. The aerodynamics of single-rotor drones make them incredibly faster compared to multi-rotor drones. They can also fly to greater heights. However, they are very expensive.
Fixed-wing drones are not capable of vertical take-off. The design of the fixed-wing drones is similar to that of an airplane. Hence, you would require a runway to lift them. Another method can be used to project them into the air with your hands, simulating the runway effect. Fixed drones cannot be used for photography or video recording. So you shouldn’t consider getting this for your business. Fixed-wing drones fly like airplanes, so they cannot hover in the air. This makes it impossible to take photos with them.
Fixed Wing Hybrid
Fixed-wing hybrid drones are a new technology in the market. Their design incorporates that of fixed-wing and rotor-based drones. Unlike fixed-wing drones, these hybrids are capable of vertical take-off and can hover in the air. If you have the budget, you should opt for the fixed-wing hybrid. They are the best options for commercial use and can fetch you lots of money. They are perfect because they can be used to travel over a wider area of land/space and are known to be really versatile. Now let’s find out the multiple ways you can make money with drones in 2022.
Drones have become the go-to candidate for jobs that involve mapping remote areas. You would have to fly your drone over a certain area of land and take lots of pictures from different angles of different landscapes and portions of land. These photographs are important in creating maps of the environment. Some software engineers use these pictures to create interactive maps. Although this field is relatively novel, it is rapidly growing.
Aerial surveys are another aspect of mapping. You use your drones to investigate the land’s nature, the type of soil, the topography, etc. Some researchers employ drones for archaeological research.
#2 Sell Stock Photos and Videos
As a freelance drone photographer or videographer, you can take remarkable images of cities, aesthetic buildings, etc., and sell them on freelancing platforms. Other content creators constantly search for quality photographs and videos to add to their content. This is your opportunity to get into the market. People can see the world from a different perspective through you. You don’t need to build your own website to sell these photos. You can, but that’ll be too slow and would not be large enough to fight the competition. Tons of websites allow photographers to upload their content and sell it. All you have to do is upload, and the websites will handle the work for you. This is also a great way to earn passive income.
#3 Ceremony Event Photography
Humans are social creatures, in other words, we like to party. Parties are memorable moments that we want to remember for as long as we live. This provides an excellent avenue for making money as a drone pilot. You can get paid to do aerial shooting at these events. This job can be tricky. You must be very good at piloting the drone because your subjects will constantly move about.
#4 Resorts and Estates Photography
The internet has become the most popular sort of platform for advertisements in the real estate and hospitality industry. These ads are in the form of pictures or videos, and to get such beautifully illustrated photographs, these businesses would need the services of a drone pilot. The drone pilot captures and provides a video or a photograph demonstrating a more comprehensive view or the complete overhead view of the whole property. These businesses sell faster when they use drone-produced images for advertising their business. Who doesn’t love the view from the sky? If you’re looking to make money with drones, real estate is your number one bet. Real estate is just one side of the coin, hotels, resorts, and other hospitality centers also use aerial ads to market their business.
#5 Recreational land Survey-YouTube Channel
YouTube has become the home of freelancers from all over the world. Another viable option is to record amazing videos or take beautiful photographs of aesthetic landscapes and share them on your YouTube channel. People are hungry for recreational content, and there is plenty of it for you.
However, be sure to have your license before flying your drone in public space. Drones have sharp blades and can be dangerous. Mother nature has blessed us with an immeasurable landscape that you can view from different angles. Unlike birds, we do not get the overall picture. That’s why the drone market for photography would thrive. What do forests look like from an eagle’s point of view? What do mountains look like? The possibilities are endless.
You might wonder, “How can I make money in the agricultural industry with drone piloting?” The answer is simple, farmers farm over vast acres of land. As a human, farmers would have to walk every inch of a day to inspect the progress of the crops. That’s practically impossible. So, how does the farmer solve this problem? That’s right. You! Farmers now use what is called ‘precision agriculture” to monitor the progress of their crops. Farmers get detailed videos of the farmland from drones and use those images to strategize.
They would need to know where to plant seeds, where the seeds haven’t sprouted, where to moisturize, and many more. Collecting the data would be easily done by getting an aerial view of the whole farmland. How else could they quickly do that? They can do that with drones. Many farmers are not yet aware of the technology, so you must convince them. The farming market is huge; this translates to unlimited earning potential as a drone pilot.
#7 Search and Rescue
One major challenge police officers face during a search and rescue operation is the shortage of manpower. Covering a wide area of remote land can be difficult. One, there are no roads, two, there are very few police officers, and lastly, the land is vast and searched area-wide. Police often use helicopters, but helicopters need to be manned and are expensive to run. Therein lies the opportunity, although this route might not be the quickest way to make money as most search and rescue operations are primarily voluntary. However, many non-profit organizations may require the services of an expert to assist them in such events. Note that a search and rescue mission is not an everyday photographic ordeal. You would need to have some special equipment.
If you’ve watched movies like Game of Thrones and Vikings, you will notice a lot of aerial views in them. Such pictures are not provided with handheld cameras. Movie producers employ the services of a drone pilot to create wonderful landscape scenery. If you’ve wondered how movies make such beautiful pictures, you have it there.
#9 Drone Delivery
During the COVID outbreak, many companies switched to drone delivery of their products. Drone delivery is another prominent way to make money as a drone pilot. These drones use advanced technology to remotely fly the drones to the delivery sites. This proved to be helpful not only during COVID but also during disaster relief. With the comprehensive coverage of drones, it has become easy to deliver emergency supplies, monitor crowds, carry information across cities, etc. The potential for opportunities is not limitless, but there is a growing market for drone delivery. You can tap into those industries and opportunities if you want to make money.
Before you begin your Drone journey
Before you begin your adventure, there are specific considerations you must make and some very important prerequisites you must meet in order to become a drone pilot. First, you would need to get some training. As easy as it may look, piloting a drone is not an easy task. To become a trusted drone pilot, you would need to get certified.
After your certification or training, depending on your country, you would need to get a license. As long as your drone is not the toy-ish type, you need a license to operate it.
Getting a Drone license
Licensing varies from country to country. For instance, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) provides the license in the United States. You would take some tests and perform test flights. Other licensing organizations include the UK Civil Aviation Authority, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, and lots more. You have to consult with your government.
Making money in any job isn’t easy. The same can be said about drone piloting. Drones make great toys for kids but can also be utilized to earn a living. Before you venture into becoming a drone pilot, analyze the market and investigate possible business opportunities and demand for drone piloting services. If you’re good at photography, then making money with drone piloting should be a piece of the cake.