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How to Make Money With a Drone in 2022

In this modern era, innovative technology has been prevalent in making lives convenient for everyone. Along with the advancement of many devices, drones are coming along the way in this techy era. If you are someone who owns a drone, I bet you’re wondering how you can utilize and make money out of your little aircraft.

If you’re contemplating if you can make money with your drone, then I want to assure you that it’s possible. In fact, you can make a lot of money using your drone. Remember that you have to be creative and have undergone thorough training.

If you want to use your drone practically and not just for fun and leisure, worry no more! Relax and take a seat as I present to you how to maximize and how to make money with a drone.

Can You Make Money with a Drone?

We live in modern society, and making money online is top-notch nowadays. Many tech-savvy marketers, freelance online sites, and rising entrepreneurs hire people online. But what if all you have is a drone and a burning passion for capturing breathtaking aerial views? Can you make money with a drone?

The answer is yes! Owning a drone can create vast opportunities and experiences – it even allows you to be your boss and control your working hours.

Drones are one of the most enjoyable UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) types. It captures such mesmerizing views of a diverse, beautiful place, even those precious moments shared with people. On the other hand, it also catches the chilling events of war or the aftermath of typhoons. Whether the video is sad or happy, it touches the viewers’ emotions

Drones have different uses, such as weather monitoring, aerial imaging, videography, search and rescue, and telecommunications. If you can master several services of drones, then you can cater as much as you want and earn money.

10 Best Ways to Make Money With A Drone

Now that you know that owning a drone is more than just a hobby but a possible source of another income. It’s not surprising that you crave to learn what those opportunities are. Let me present the 10 best ways to make money with a drone. 

1.Drones in Agriculture

Using your drone in an agricultural field helps earn money. Using drones in agriculture operations can provide accurate field mapping and its condition, allowing growers to find any irregularities in the field area.

Educational Requirements

You need to be certified to use a drone in any agricultural operations. A remote pilot certificate is necessary for all commercial drone flights and can be obtained by passing an exam. 

Earnings

Being a certified UAV pilot can be really practical. A certified drone pilot who works for an industry like agriculture can earn an average salary of $35,000 up to $70,000 per year. Reasonably decent in terms of financial gain.

Type of Drone Required

Fixed-wing and multi-copter drones are the two types of drones used in agriculture. However, fixed-wing drones are more durable and resistant than multi-copter drones. Fixed-wing can tolerate adverse weather conditions and typically have longer flying times.

Required Skill Set

To be a certified UAV pilot in the agricultural field, you must have the skills not only in aviating the drone. You also need to think in 3D, have strong concentration skills, and have the expertise to facilitate the condition of the whole agricultural field. 

2.Event Photography and Video

Not surprisingly, capturing the happenings in an aerial view using your drone is a great way to earn money. Since many people want a perfect shot to document the most memorable scenes in their life in every event or occasion. You can try selling drone footage you took, primarily when covering an event in a picturesque location. 

Educational Requirements

You can be a self-employed or freelance drone operator if you offer event photography and video services. You’ll be in charge of operating your own job and negotiating your prices as a self-employed drone operator. Also, you’ll need to secure the required insurance and licensing for your business.

Earnings

Owning a drone and having the skill to navigate it and capture magnificent shots is pretty convenient. A self-employed drone operator can earn an average salary of $70,000 annually by selling the drone footage to your clients. 

Type of Drone Required

DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the most accessible drone to use in terms of capturing aerial shots of events or in filmmaking. It offers fresh aerial viewpoints, increasing the viewing experience and recording perspectives of the events.

Required Skill Set

As a freelance or self-employed drone operator, knowing how to operate a drone is not enough. To be successful and effective drone using services, you must provide creativity and photography or videography skills for your respective clients. 

Also read: How to become Freelance Video editor?

3.Hotel Advertisements

For the hotel and other hospitality industries, drones are beneficial in advertisements. When it comes to marketing, the hotel is benefiting from the use of aerial photography that is provided by drones. So, if you have a drone and work for hotel advertisements, take a beautiful visual shot and earn money from it.

Educational Requirements

A freelance drone operator can work in various industries for advertisements. You can negotiate with different companies to do projects like hotel advertisements with proper certificates, licenses, and insurance for your drone business. 

Earnings

You can earn $89,264 annually as a freelance UAV operator advertising a hotel. You may acquire a decent amount of money by capturing a magnificent aerial shot of the hotel. 

Type of Drone Required

Fixed-wing UAV is the perfect drone for hotel advertisement. It can capture a vast, greater capacity of the hotel, perfect to display the majestic beauty of the hotel. 

Required Skill Set

You must have the creative qualities to make an excellent advertisement to display the magnificent beauty of the hotel. Also, you must know the most pleasing angles to use, the optimum times for lighting, and the best ways to edit and produce the images you take.

Cinematic Drone Video of Hotel Xcaret – Mexico

4.Building Inspection

Drones can be beneficial for building inspection. It can collect various visual data in checks, especially with video cameras, lidar, thermal imaging, photogrammetry, and location software. Drones can access angles that are more difficult to achieve using other visual inspection methods, which is particularly helpful for examining larger and massive buildings. 

Educational Requirements

Since inspecting a building is more of a critical job, you need to acquire a certification and be a licensed UAV pilot in Part 107. This will allow you to navigate a drone in visual inspections of a building as part of its construction and maintenance procedures.

Earnings

Being a licensed UAV pilot, the average salary for building inspection and surveying starts from $88,196 per year. It is a fair salary to use a drone to collect visual data on the condition of a certain point.

Type of Drone Required

The most recent model in DJI’s line of industrial inspection drones is the Matrice 300. The DJI Matrice 300 is currently the industry-standard drone model when it comes to finding an inspection drone for the majority of external inspection needs.

Required Skill Set

To inspect a building, you must have navigation skills in flying a drone. The drone’s camera will serve as your eyes during a visual examination conducted by a drone. Using the drone, you must gather visible data afterward and thoroughly examine it. 

5.Drone 3D Modeler

A digital spatial model that uses aerial photographs captured by a drone is referred to as a drone 3D model. Moreso, aerial photogrammetry is the technique used to collect data from the air to create models and maps.

Educational Requirements

Having a degree is typically not necessary to work as a 3D modeler. However, certain businesses may require knowledgeable staff to create 3D models, so having some certifications might be your edge.

Earnings

An average annual wage for 3D modelers is $70,000, or $30 per hour. The bottom 10% earn less than $40,000 annually, while the highest 10% earn over $125,000 yearly. 

Type of Drone Required

Drone mapping or creating a 3D model has long been dominated by the DJI Phantom 4 Pro versions 1 and 2. No drone matches the Phantom’s feature set because of its extensive feature set, dependability, and integrated camera payload.

A video Introducing Phantom 4 Pro – watch to see the incredible capabilities of this drone.

Required Skill Set

To be a 3D modeler, you must have the expertise to build 3D designs and animations, a keen sense of detail, and excellent visualizing abilities. You must also have extensive character design, rigging, and skinning skills. 

6.Power Line Inspection

Due to modern technology, several companies use drone technology to visually assess remote areas and heights of civil infrastructures and powerlines. This, too, can be an excellent opportunity for you to earn money using your drones.

Educational Requirements

To become a drone pilot in power line inspection, you must have a certification, undergo training in the power line, and have a license in the flying drone. 

Earnings

Even though this job requires much knowledge, the return on salary is always a steal. You can earn a minimum of $175 per hour and a maximum of $90,000.

Type of Drone Required

Let’s talk about the best type of drone to use in power line inspection. DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Pro is used for RGB data capture and can capture low and middle voltage power lines. One of its signature features is that it can navigate obstacles, plus points for its small size and weight that the drone can effortlessly move to places it is needed. 

Required Skill Set

As much as possible, some companies require the drone pilot to know about flying the drone, like safety hazards, disparate systems, and data management regarding grid operation.

7.Drone Flight Inspector

To get a license for professional drone flying, you need to undergo class and training. In this role, you will guide the students to improve their drone flying and operational skills and share theories that will surely help them in unmanned flight.

Educational Requirements

Drone Flight Inspector also requires specific educational requirements, such as a certificate from FAA Part 107 that allows the pilot to professionally operate the drone. Next is at least 2 years’ expert experience in public safety, industrial inspections, and mapping. The most important thing is owning a drone that will be used during lessons with your students.

Earnings

Well, your effort to obtain certificates and teaching will not be in vain for a drone flight inspector. Since you’ll be earning an average salary ranging from $41,000 to $90,000 per year.

Type of Drone Required

For flight inspectors, every drone can work. But Matrice 300 of DJI’s line is what professional drone inspectors use due to its high-quality camera and exceptional zoom.

Required Skill Set

In terms of skill set, drone flight inspectors must have patience in teaching, excellent communication skills, and expertise in public safety, industrial inspections, and mapping.

8.Drone Journalism

Let’s all clap as the bringer of news is coming. Drone Journalism brought aerial photos and videos of remote areas affected by environmental and human factors. It also gathers information that can be spread through news media.

Educational Requirements

In terms of educational attainment, students from different programs, specifically Journalism and Communication, can pursue Drone Journalism.

Earnings

Buckle up as a drone journalist salary has a minimum of $43,000 and a maximum of $60,000 a year. The rates are also different between company-based drone journalism and freelance UAV.

Type of Drone Required

Regarding drone journalism, DJI Mavic 3, with three different versions such as Standard Edition, Fly More Combo, and Cine Premium Combo, is the most reliable type. DJI is known for its features like a lightweight, high-quality camera and zoom that is perfect for journalism.

Picture of DJI Mavic 3 - ideal drone for journalist.

Required Skill Set

In terms of skill set, what you earned during your drone flight certification will be helpful enough in becoming a drone journalist.

9.Oil and Gas Industry

If you can make money with drones in agriculture, surely you can also earn money in the oil and gas industry. This field uses drones for surveillance, real-time insights, and potential leaks. Needless to say, using UAVs is a significant advantage for oil and gas companies.

Educational Requirements

The educational requirements of drone flying in the oil and gas industry are no joke. This requires a professional certificate for drone flying and knowledge in tanks as well as lines of oils and gas.

Earnings

Well, in terms of salary, an oil and gas drone inspector earns around $83,000 a year due to the job’s complexity.

Type of Drone Required

To make money with drones in the oil and gas industry possible, you need to use the DJI Zenmuse series. Meanwhile, DJI Matrice 300 is the standard drone model due to its flight time and advanced AI capabilities.

Required Skill Set

Drone operators must be knowledgeable in developing standard operating procedures, securing data, and risk management. This might be a handful, but this is helpful to lessen impacts and threats.

10.Drone Pilot for Mining

As the world tends to advance, various jobs also keep up with the usage of modern technologies. Nowadays, mining also uses drones to inspect places to enhance security and improve productivity.

Educational Requirements

The drone pilot requires automation training together with the UAS certificate. This improves the pilot’s efficiency and management in the quarry. The drone must be registered under the FAA to ensure the job is legal.

Earnings

A drone pilot with 2 years of experience can earn around $110,000.

Type of Drone Required

The type of drone competent in this field is Elios 2, which can be used in underground mining analysis. With the use of this drone, it can thoroughly inspect and map the areas that will be used by the on-site workers.

Required Skill Set

The drone pilot must have emergency training, strong concentration skills, a bold interest in aviation, and the capacity to remain calm when pressure is coming.

How Lucrative is Drone Business

As we face a more high-tech and digital generation, many businesses are highly focused on the advanced technology-related line of work. The drone business is an underrated yet thriving business aligned with cutting-edge technology. Now the question is, how lucrative is the drone business?

If you noticed from the list above, your earnings from flying a drone would vary according to the drone business opportunity you are into. The national average cost of drone-assisted roof inspections is between $150 and $400, making launching a home inspection service using drones highly profitable. While in the industry of Film and Video, the average salary of a drone operator is $70,000 per year. On the other hand, Land mapping and surveying typically range from $100-200/hour, with an estimated yearly salary of $88,000.   

How Much Money Do Drone Pilots Make?

In every industry, the most common question is ‘how much money do they make in their profession? This question is also not new in the drone pilot industry. To be honest, this line of work earns a competitive salary unbeknownst to many. Check out the tables below. 

By Experience

Experience LevelHourly Rate (Range)
Entry Level$40 – $42
Intermediate$50 – $53
Senior Level$70 – $74

By Industry

IndustryAverage Salary
Construction$70 – $80
Video and Cinematography$60 – $70
Mapping$80 – $90
Real Estate$70 – $80
Transportation$80 – $90
Aerospace and Defense$80 – $90
Environmental Science$80 – $90
Other Industries$80 – $90

Frequently Asked Question

What happens if you fly a drone without a license?

Drones used for commercial purposes require a valid license that the drone pilot obtains. The drone must be registered and have a registration number to be utilized. 

A license is not required if you’re just flying drones for recreational purposes. However, it still varies on your location as some have strict ordinances about it. Meanwhile, using the drone for advanced business and commercial purposes without a proper license and registration number can give you a warning and a fine as a drone pilot of $32,666 for each incident. So better read the FAA’s rules and regulations about flying a drone.

Are drone pilots still in demand?

Yes, it is still in demand. In 2020, the U.S. consumer of drones had surpassed $1.25 billion. This makes the drones market size up to $100 billion. This is made possible by the growing number of aspiring and professional drone pilots that use the UAV for commercial and government sectors. It is expected that by 2025, drones will be around $63.6 billion.

What is the best drone to make money with?

Drones have their specialty, so asking for the best depends on usage. The DJI Mavic 2 is one of the most popular since it has exceptional features such as a fascinating mix of images, stability, and safety features. Another one is the DJI Mini Pro 3, which is known for its palm size that fits any small compartments. Besides that, it also has 4k60 stabilized footage, perfect for taking photos and recording.

Conclusion

With the advanced modernization, almost all industries are prompted to digitize their means of operation. Many technical fields of work are booming nowadays, and the drone business is coming along the way. Drone operators are in more demand as drone usage becomes widespread. 

This is excellent news if you’re a great fan of collecting and owning drones. With a complete understanding of drone usage, a handful of creativity, and a little training, you can start maximizing and earning from your drone. Start growing your own drone business now! 

A guy driving drone

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