How to Make Money Flying Drones for Real Estate Agents, Roofing, & Insurance Companies
Getting paid to fly a drone is probably one of the coolest businesses that exists in today’s technology world. (And below you can find a video I shot of a $17 million house in Beverly Hills)
Every year, the drone manufacturing companies like DJI, Yuneec, and GoPro are coming out with new drone products, giving you lots of options as to which drone you want to fly for your business.
I got started building a small business flying drones for real estate agents in 2017 after passing my FAA drone pilot license exam. I selected the DJI Phantom 4 as my drone of choice. I also recommend checking out the Mavic Air Drone as well.
In this guide, I’ll cover:
- How to Get Your Drone Pilot License
- How to Pick Out a Drone
- LLC & Insurance
- How to Get Clients
- How Much to Charge for Your Drone Business
How to Get Your Drone Pilots License
The FAA has made it possible to get your drone pilot’s license and start your very own drone flying business. But first, you’ll need to research the current FAA guidelines and testing policy as this is something that changes yearly.
In my case, I studied an online training guide to prepare for my drone pilot exam. Once I felt knowledgeable of the topics being covered on the exam, I researched local testing centers near me.
I ended up scheduling my drone pilot exam at a regional airport and passed it on the first try. A few weeks later, I received my official license card, which resembles a driver’s license, from the FAA as proof I have my drone license.
Here are links to resources you can use to prepare yourself:
Which Drone is the Best to Buy
DJI is an industry leader in the drone product market. They are well known for their Phantom series of drones and account for over 60% of the global consumer drone market.
Here are some of the best drones that DJI produces:
GoPro has created a drone that competes with DJI for quality and ease of use. It’s simple to set up and can become small and compact if you want to carry it in your backpack while traveling.
How to Get Clients for Your Drone Business
After you’ve passed your drone exam, picked out your quadcopter, and practiced flying it, the next step is setting up your business.
Below I’ll outline some tips on:
- How to structure your drone flying business
- Should you get insurance
- What prices to charge for your services
- Marketing strategies to get new clients
Should You Set Up an LLC for Drone Business
You can collect payment either in your name or in a company name. I had an existing LLC that was being used for media so it was easy for me to use it to represent my drone flying business as well.
But if you don’t have an LLC yet, we have covered the set up process in this in-depth guide here. It ties to real estate investing but same concept for a drone business.
Drone Flying Insurance
You also want to look into purchasing drone insurance since the cost of a drone is pretty expensive should anything go wrong with it.
But more importantly, you need some liability insurance in case your drone causes an accident. This could quickly turn your business into shambles if a serious lawsuit were to occur.
Here is a great guide on how to find drone liability insurance.
How Much to Charge for Aerial Photography & Aerial Videos
If your business looks professional and acts professional, then you can charge professional rates.
We’ve already covered above how to appear more professional to clients by setting up an LLC and getting insurance.
Let’s also mention building a website & business cards to the mix of things you need to set up prior to marketing.
Done all that? Great..now how much should you charge clients?
- Aerial Photography = $100 to $500
- Aerial Video = $100/hour
An easy way to set your pricing for your drone business is to charge an hourly rate.
This protects both you and the client because if a job doesn’t take very long, then you get paid fairly and the client’s expense is fair.
Alternatively, you can charge a fixed rate price such as $500 for a half day (4 hours of work) or $1,000 for a full day of work (8 hours).
You want to set prices high enough that it’s worth your time and helps you recover your equipment expenses.
Don’t forget you also have storage fees (Dropbox & Google Drive), video editing software fees (Adobe Premier Pro), and any other subscription or software fees you need to run your business on the computer.
Plus any LLC legal fees, annual renewal fees, insurance fees, etc.
On the flip side, you can’t price your services too high or else clients will shop around and find competitors offering similar services at lower prices.
So the best tip on pricing your drone service business is to do market research and see what other drone companies exist in your city. How much are they charging clients for aerial photography and for video?
Then set your prices underneath them slightly and raise rates later once you’ve won over the trust of clients.
In fact, my first major drone video was done for FREE. Check out this short video I created of a $17 million mansion in Beverley Hills, California.
Marketing Your Drone Business to Get Clients
Here are the major marketing strategies you should be using to grow your drone business and increase revenue from repeat clients.
Website Marketing: create a simple 1 to 3 page website highlighting your services, your prices, examples of your work, and reviews/testimonials. Learn how to build a website from scratch in one hour here.
Social Media: video is super popular on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Utilize hashtags to grow exposure of your social media posts like #drone #dronevideo #aerial
Paid Facebook Ads: target local customers in your market by using Facebook advertising. Create a sample video of your drone footage to stop someone from scrolling Facebook and getting them to pay attention to your video. Then add in information about your services and contact information to the ad as well
Google Ads: there are many local businesses who will hop onto Google and do a search for local drone services and aerial photography services. Make sure you not only have a Google business page set up but also are running ads targeting phrases these companies will be searching.
Word of Mouth: let all of your friends and family and others in your network know that you started a drone business, taking photos and videos from aerial views. This can help spread the word and result in phone calls & emails from prospective clients, not to mention word of mouth is more trust worthy resulting in a higher sales rate.
It will take some time to gain traction and get your business out there for others to see.
Create a 12 month marketing plan and monitor your results each month:
- How much money are you going to spend?
- How many website visits, emails, and phone calls are you receiving?
- How many sales?
Thanks for reading this complete guide on how to start a drone business. Now go target real estate agents, insurance, roofers, land developers, and other services tied to real estate who need aerial views of property.
Additional Articles to Read:
- How to Buy Real Estate With No Money Down
- How to Find Properties in a Competitive Buyer’s Market
- The Best Guide to Financing Real Estate Purchase
- Real Estate Investment Analysis Methods (3 Rules)
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