In today’s world, we have witnessed the transformation of drones from just toys to an investment idea. Improved technology has enabled drones to be used in various industrial applications and is now a profitable business to enter into. Not only that, they provide an enjoyable recreational outlet for creativity. This then poses the question, is it worth it to invest in a drone?
In most cases, investing in a drone is a smart move. A drone can offer hours of constructive entertainment for the hobbyist. For the professional, it will allow you to earn a living, and work in many different fields such as videography and photography, real estate, industrial inspections, and more.
The positive economic impact of drones has made their demand increase tremendously. And drones are able to do many different types of tasks that are either dangerous or impossible for a person to do unassisted. The expanded market has, in return, created a boom for the relatively few drone business owners. The increased demand means a great return from your decision to invest in a drone. If you’re looking for a great self-employment option, buying a drone is a comparatively low-capital investment to get you started.
A Drone as an Investment – Hobby or Profession?
People who used to get drone toys while young often get fixated on drones even as they grow older. The decision to invest in a drone can be strictly for the purpose of pursuing a hobby. This hobby can be a good investment, but perhaps not in monetary terms.
Think of the health benefits of having a creative outlet to learn aerial photography, while getting fresh air and exercise. Or think of the social benefit that can come as a result of joining a drone club, and the friends you can make as you bond over a shared interest. These things are valuable even though it’s impossible to put a price on them.
But perhaps you’re thinking in terms of professional investment. You can choose to work as a professional pilot who operates drones. Drone pilots are trained to control drones and have invested a great deal of their time and money in the drone business. An increase in demand for drone services and skills has made their investments worth it.
» READ MORE: How to Make Money with a Drone
Investing in a drone as a professional drone pilot can lead to a lot of income opportunities. A drone business will blossom in the current modern world and guarantee you considerable returns by providing much-needed services to other industrial fields.
One popular area that many drone pilots choose to focus on is the photography and videography industry. Before drones became commercially available, aerial photos and videos were very costly since filmmakers and others had to find expensive aerial ways to capture them. However, drones are cheaper, efficient, and easy to use, thus creating even more demand.
Using drones in wildlife and historical conservation areas is increasingly becoming common due to their efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Having eyes on the air makes it easier to observe and monitor the wildlife than having actual humans on the ground. A single drone can cover a much larger area of land than a person could easily manage, therefore, making drones very effective in wildlife conservation.
Drone services are in high demand in other industries such as agriculture or industrial inspections, where the technology available makes the drone much more suited to carrying out specific tasks than is even possible from the ground.
Finally, drones can also be used for emergency services. Many fire and police departments have started employing drones in areas where it is unsafe to send humans. In areas where the scope and severity of a disaster are enormous, drones are used in search and rescue missions instead of humans.
Factors and Costs to Consider in Starting a Drone Business
Like any other business, starting a drone business has costs and other factors you need to consider before venturing into the business. The costs and factors may be directly related to the drone itself, the regulations set regarding the air spaces that might affect your business or the type of business you will use your drone for.
The factors that you should consider when starting a drone business include:
1. Actual startup costs
When getting into the drone business, there are some costs you will incur. The direct costs may include:
- The cost of the drone itself.
- The cost of lenses or other equipment.
- The cost of other accessories like spare batteries or props.
Other indirect costs include the cost of drone insurance, software licenses, and additional marketing-related expenses.
To help minimize the costs of starting up the drone business. You have to develop a comprehensive budget that covers all the startup costs putting in mind your business goals.
Drones will vary in price depending on the type and abilities. Bigger drones are more powerful and can carry a heavier payload for longer, compared to small drones. Therefore, a larger drone will cost more than a small drone.
When you want to use drones for monitoring or videography, it’s recommended to use one that hovers smoothly and has a sensitive stability sensor. Since it captures high-quality, clear images, it tends to cost more than other drones.
2. Business Insurance costs
If you are starting your own drone service business, you will need business insurance. There are different types of business insurance. It would be best if you got drone liability insurance for your drone operation to cover you against unforeseen liabilities you might encounter.
If you are using expensive drones, you might want to consider adding hull insurance to cover your drones against accidental damage.
3. What is your niche?
However obvious it may sound, it is essential to know what niche you will focus your drone business on. The kind of service you will focus your drone business on will determine the types of drones you will require in your business.
Some drone service providers provide every service a drone can do and have a broad scope in the drone world. However, it is recommended that you pick one or two specific areas that you will focus on to provide the services. Develop a deep skillset and make sure you are providing the best service within that particular niche.
If you focus on a specific niche and become the best at it, you will have a solid customer base, and you will be on your way to a viable business.
4. Have you mastered drone regulations?
Most countries have regulations concerning the flying of drones. Before you are fly a drone, you must first make sure you are conversant with the local and national rules provided concerning drones and airspace.
In the US, to fly a drone commercially, you must pass an Aeronautical Knowledge Test, and obtain a remote pilot’s license, also known as Part 107.
Some cities have set laws that make flying drones within the city limits illegal. It is therefore crucial that you understand these rules if you are a drone business owner. The last thing you’d want is to get into some legal problems just when you are starting your business.
5. Technical requirements for the job
Before you start a drone business, make sure you have all the technical requirements that the job needs. Having all the necessary skills will help you do a great job with the drones and strengthen your customer base. This, in turn, boosts your business prosperity. Getting some professional training will go a long way in helping you succeed in your drone business.
6. How to market your drones business
When starting a business, marketing is the most vital aspect. Marketing will give your business the exposure needed and attract potential clients to work with you.
With a drone business, you can contact realtors and offer them a sample of what you do with your drones. Some businesses require delivery. Agriculturalists who want to try precision agriculture will also seek a drone service. Figuring out fields that require drone services will help you narrow down to your exact market target and thus make your marketing relatively easy.
The quality of your work will play a very significant role in marketing your business. You can even get referrals from your clients if you do a good job.
Where is the Breakeven Point?
Like any other business, the drone business has a breakeven point. The breakeven point is a point where a business is making neither a profit nor a loss. This will occur when the sales equal the expenses that the company incurs in a certain period.
For the drone business, this will be where the income generated from the drones equals the investment cost and the costs of running the drone business. The business won’t be making any profit, but since there are no losses, it can continue to be operational until it surpasses the breakeven point.
A startup business for drones will have to pass through this point before generating profits for the owners. Most new drone business owners can expect to reach the breakeven point with 2-3 years. If you’ve really gone after it hard, you may even break even within a year or less.
Is Buying a Drone Worth it?
Drones have become very popular and are being used in various industries in the market. They offer the diversity of technical skills needed in many different fields. Drones make work more efficient while maintaining high quality that would otherwise not have been achieved without them.
Buying a drone is worth it, whether you’re in it for the recreational enjoyment it offers, or with a business venture in mind. With the increased demand for drone services, having a drone will be a good investment that will guarantee huge returns.