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How To Start A Drone Business

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How To Start A Drone Business: Easy $10,000+ Per Month?

Starting A Drone Business Under FAA Drone Rules

For the drone enthusiasts who want to turn their hobby into a lucrative business opportunity, now is the best time to launch a drone-based business! 

Most of these people, however, do not know how and where to begin. There are fun aspects to it such as picking a name and designing a logo which do not really need to follow a strict guideline.

The purpose of this guide, however, is to highlight the important aspects that will help any drone business succeed in this fast-growing industry.

This article will provide all the necessary information and tips for setting up a drone business according to the Part 107 FAA drone rules which will help drone enthusiasts to obtain a Part 107 license, FAA rules and regulations, and drone insurance.

It’s going to talk about how to start a drone business to see if it really is the best business model for you.

Towards the end of this article you’ll find answers for some of the most frequently asked questions on how to start a drone business…

But most importantly, you’ll be shown the exact system several others have used to build their own business to over $40,000 a month in mostly passive income.

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Table of Contents

Why Start A Drone Business?

The drone market has seen rapid growth in recent years. Drones are now being integrated into the daily operations of the majority of industries today.

Aeronautical experts saw the potential for entrepreneurial growth in the industry after Part 107 FAA Drone Rules made it more viable.

Many entrepreneurs since then took the initiative to establish a drone business, so they could simultaneously expand with the UAS community.

A recent report indicates that the drone industry is set to grow from $17.82 billion to $48.88 billion by 2023. MarketsandMarkets claims that the drone industry growth is due to technological advancements, venture capital increases, and the rising demand for drone data.

An economic impact report on drone integration in America has been published by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International which details all economic benefits, including the impact that each U.S. State will experience. The following are the most important economic changes:

  • Between 2015-2025, the economic effects of drone integration will reach $82.1 billion
  • Drone integration is expected to create 103,776 job opportunities by 2025
  • Up to $482 million in tax revenue will be available to the states by 2025
  • The U.S. experiences a potential economic loss worth $10 billion (equivalent to $27.6 millions per day).

Top Reasons Why People Are Starting A Drone Business:

  • There is industry growth.
  • Start up costs are relatively low.
  • There is high demand.
  • There are many vertical opportunities.
  • Process for certification is reasonable.

How To Start A Drone Business Under Part 107 FAA Drone Rules

It is not easy to start a drone company. The following are the main guidelines involved in starting a drone business:

Part 107 Certification

Passing the Part 107 exam is the first step in setting up a drone business. No one cannot legally fly a drone in any commercial use without a Part 107 certificate. These are the steps to obtain the Part 107 certificate.

  • Invest time to study for the exam. The majority of the training schools recommend spending 15-20 hours.
  • Register with the IACRA. 
  • Find a certified testing center. Register at an FAA testing center to take the Part 107 exam. Arrange a schedule after selecting the preferred location.
  • A score of 70% or more is required to pass the knowledge test.
  • Submit Part 107 exam score. After passing the Part 107 exam, the application will be finalized which includes the submission of the Part 107 test score to IACRA.
  • A temporary certificate within one week will be issued. A temporary drone certificate is required to fly legally for business purposes under Part 107 FAA drone rules.
  • The permanent Part 107 certificate will be received by the applicant via mail within 1-3 months.
  • A biannual flight review must be completed to qualify for the renewal of a two-year license.

Developing The Drone Business Structure

This is where the most crucial decisions are made in order to build a successful drone company. The following research and decisions can help you launch a profitable drone business:

  • Drone Market Analysis
  • Personal Fit
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Identifying A Target Market
  • Target Market Pros and Cons
  • Service Offerings
  • Pricing Strategy
  • Branding
  • Choosing A Company Name
  • Designing A Logo
  • Developing A Tagline

Finding Customers

How can a drone business owner find potential customers? This step will help any small drone business owner find the right customers through some effective marketing efforts:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Pay Per Click Strategy
  • Creating Your First AdWords Campaign
  • Display Ads
  • Search Engine Optimization (how will customers find your business online without paid ads?)
  • Identifying Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Keywords
  • SEO Strategy
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Creating a Facebook Ad
  • Advertising in Newspapers and Magazines
  • Public Relations Strategy

Drone Business Operations

How does a drone company actually work? This is where important business decisions are made like staff recruitment or website design outsourcing or lead generation program implementation. Take a look at the following components:

  • Building to Scale
  • Establishing Your Website
  • Website Hosting
  • Web Development Tools
  • External Phone System
  • Setting Up Business Emails
  • Hiring Strategically
  • Developing a Organizational Chart
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems
  • Project Management Systems
  • Tools for Internal Communication

Legal Considerations and Liabilities

  • Obtaining Liability for Drone Pilots
  • Types of Business Organizations
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Employment Contracts
  • Copyright Law
  • Trademarks
  • Privacy Considerations (Tip: Although there are no FAA rules that prohibit certified drone pilots flying over private property without a certificate, local laws restrict where commercial drone operators can fly. Make sure you are familiar with the local rules!)

Drone Insurance

Accidents do happen. A Part 107 certified pilot who has training is no exception. Even someone who has a proper certification can still crash a drone or suffer a mishap while flying.

Interference from radio towers, unpredictable weather conditions, and UAV failure are all possible causes for a drone to crash.

And it is for this reason that drone insurance is crucial. The following are the two types of drone insurance:

  1. Drone Liability Insurance – This drone insurance pays for personal injury and property damage resulting from a sUAS activity. Liability insurance is the most expensive and provides the most coverage.
  2. Drone Hull Insurance – This drone insurance assists in the protection of personal and drone business property.

Verifly and Global Aerospace are two of the most recommended providers. Apart from insurance, an aspiring drone business owner should also consider these things:

  • UAV Insurance
  • Insurance vs Warranty
  • How Much Insurance Coverage Do You Need?
  • Why Buy Drone Insurance?
  • Factors Affecting Coverage
  • Insurance Options
  • Warranties
  • Risk Mitigation

As you can see, that’s a lot of stressful business essentials to consider.

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Overview Of Part 107 FAA Drone Rules For Starting A Drone Business

Part 107 FAA drone rules require that all flights in any drone business meet these criteria:

  • Registration of drones that weigh more than 0.55 lbs is required.
  • The minimum age for pilots is at least 16 years old and must also understand the FAA drone rules and be a certified Part 107.
  • To ensure safe operation, the remote pilot must conduct a pre-flight inspection.
  • A designated remote pilot must be in command.
  • Drones can’t fly from moving vehicles.
  • The drone must be within sight of the pilot at all times.
  • Drones cannot fly during the night.
  • Drones can’t fly above people.
  • Drones can’t fly higher than 400 feet and faster than 100 miles per hour.
  • All drones should give way to any aircraft.

No drone should operate if these rules are not met – unless a a Part 107 waiver is obtained from the FAA.

Waivers for flying drones at night, or flying multiple drones, or even flying in restricted airspace can be requested. The FAA must receive a waiver request at least 90 days before the operation is to be started.

How To Make Money With A Drone: Top Drone Business Ideas

Here are some popular drone business ideas to help you start a drone company:

  • Commercial Inspections
  • Residential Home Inspections
  • Industrial Inspections
  • Drone Advertising/ Marketing
  • Drone Repair Services
  • Mapping and Modeling
  • Real Estate Photography
  • Drone Photography
  • Construction
  • Mining
  • Oil/Gas
  • Land Monitoring
  • Agriculture
  • Photography/ Videography
  • Public Safety
  • Precision Agriculture

Obstacles, Challenges, And Tips For Starting a Drone Business

Starting a drone company can be a daunting task. Below are some of the challenges and obstacles that a drone service provider might encounter, together with some tips from the experts:

  1. Insurance – General liability and sUAS insurance
  2. Marketing – How to get your name out and find work
  3. Portfolios – Several samples of the drone services that are offered need to be readily available. It’s a great way to present to potential customers.
  4. Flight Records Management – This covers pilot hours, total flight hours, maintenance logs and FAA records keeping. Authorizations, waivers, work orders, etc.
  5. Service Contracts – All sUAS providers must hold a service contract with clients.
  6. Pricing Structure – Pricing will depend on location, the type and scope of work, the kind of clients, and many other factors. Long-term service contracts (6 month minimum) are recommended to have financial security and avoid the hassle. This will allow for better protection of the drone business income over the long-term.
  7. Rate/ Travel Policy – This will depend on how far the business owner is willing to travel including other important things that need to be factored in for the travel expenses.
  8. sUAS Routine Maintenance Schedules – For the prevention of total failure of components resulting in aircraft loss, a scheduled maintenance/ replacement timeline for all sUAS systems owned by the business is crucial.
  9. Billing Terms – Decide what is most beneficial for you and your clients, i.e., Net 7, net 30, prepay, etc.
  10. Filing for FAA Waivers/ Authorizations – It’s necessary to apply for Part 107 waivers before obtaining solid contracts. It is not ideal to get a large project but then tell clients to wait for approval from the FAA to legally execute the project.
  11. FAA Drone Rules – In order to operate a legitimate drone company, it must adhere to all FAA drone rules. Being mindful of the Part 107 certificate’s expiration will prevent a lot of troubles as well.

How Much Money Does A Commercial Drone Pilot Make?

Due to the fact that most commercial drone pilots are freelance, the salary can vary quite a lot. Hourly rates can also vary depending on the industry and project. According to Marketwatch, thermography may yield better results wherein a drone pilot could earn up to $200,000 annually due to his thermography certification.

PayScale lists drone pilots’ hourly rates at $24.18, although they range from $17.75 to $78.49 for those with the highest earnings. Even though it’s difficult to estimate potential earnings of a drone pilot, there is the possibility of making hundreds of thousands of dollars each year which means taking on a lot of projects.

You see, the unfortunate fact about commercial drone pilots is that you only get paid for your time. You can never leverage that…

Thankfully, not all hope is lost.

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Final Thoughts

Starting a drone business is hard work. One must be constantly improving skills, in addition to the usual challenges of finding clients and selling services.

Drone flying is a highly technical and competitive industry where there is a lot of other pilots who may be better than you. It is not enough to be proficient at flying your drone.

Although this guide is quite lengthy, it only covers the basics of starting a drone business. Some can still be unsure where to start. The best thing to do is to simply buy a drone and fly it around and have a feel.

Commercial drone piloting is an attractive and profitable career option. However, one would need to spend some money on the training courses, equipment, and insurance required to become a drone pilot – not to mention the startup costs involved.

The field is still in its infancy and offers many opportunities. The majority of industry experts believe that drone services will continue to grow past 2025. This means the outlook of this business is looking good for those who want to pursue it.

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