How You Can Make Money Out of Your Drone (A Drone Business Guide for Australia)

You’ve invested into your drone—now it’s time for your drone to earn its keep.

Not everybody can make a living doing something they love, but for drone-loving dilettantes who just can’t keep their eyes out of the skies, there are a lot of ways that your serious hobby can make a serious buck.

After seeing how drones have changed the face of entire industries, you may be asking yourself, “What can an average Joe like me do to start a drone business?” Well, even if you don’t build dams or fight crime, there are things you can do to become a full-fledged drone-trepeneur.


Here are some drone business ideas to help you get started:

  1. Shoot great stills and videos. If you love taking pictures with your drone, and you fancy yourself having a wonderful eye, starting a professional photography business is a natural choice for you. And we’re not just talking postcard shots of cityscapes and panoramas, we’re talking live event coverage such as weddings, product launches, competitive sports, concerts. If you’ve honed your skills enough, you might even try your hand at shooting for advertising, marketing or creative media purposes.


  1. Customise and repair other people’s drones. If you’re the type who likes tinkering and mods, a drone repair and sales business might be for you. Not everyone who loves to fly a drone knows what goes on under the hood, and you just might find fulfilment as well as profit in helping a fellow enthusiast fly again with a fully functioning drone.


  1. Teach others how to fly. If your flying skills rival those of Charpu, you might enjoy offering piloting lessons or even starting your own drone school. As more people discover the joy of first-person flight and drones become more affordable, gurus who can teach these new flying fans how to get the most out of their new best friend are bound to be in high demand.


  1. Deliver small parcels and the odd love-letter. In this digital day and age, actual greeting cards and handwritten messages along with tiny presents have a charm no IM or gif can replace. As long as you fly within legal limits, using your drone to deliver cheer and spread good vibes might be your cup of tea.


  1. Be a building inspector. Anyone with a construction-related background can now combine their speciality with their love for drones, as drones are a great way to inspect roofing, chimneys, gutters and roof-top installations such as solar panels. You might also use your drone for inspecting the sides of high-rise buildings and other tall structures.


  1. Secure the perimeter. Equipping your drone with special sensors to alert you of possible trespassers on private property is another way you can monetise your drone-piloting skills. You can keep an eye on live video feeds from the comfort of your HQ, not just for breaking and entering but also for things such as smoke and leaky pipes.


Now here are some tips for helping you get your drone business off the ground:

  1. Do some market research. It’s always a good idea to scope out the competition and how many competitors you’ll have to go up against. Think about what you’ll do differently or better than them. This is also a good time to identify what you do best as a drone pilot, and what you’ll need to improve on if you’re going to succeed as a drone business owner.


  1. Think first, buy later. If you already have a drone you’re planning to use for your business, then this bit might’ve come too late. But if you’re still considering which drone to buy, or are planning to buy another drone for business instead of pleasure, then listen up. Before you fork over your hard-earned cash for a drone, think about the specific business idea you’ll be pursuing, and the kind of drone you’re going to need for it. What kind of camera will the drone have to carry or what level of manoeuvrability will it need to have? That way, you can be sure that the drone you choose will be able to do what it has to.


  1. Do some marketing. Another thing you’re going to have to consider is how you’re going to get the word out about your brand new business. Make a great, professional-looking website, prepare an online portfolio, and set up some business pages on social media platforms. You would also do well to invest in some digital marketing.


  1. Consider insuring your drone. Every drone pilot knows that collisions and accidents do happen no matter how mad your skills are. If you plan on flying your drone as your main source of income, you’d do well to get property insurance to make sure business doesn’t get interrupted in case your drone gets damaged in the line of duty.


  1. Find out about the laws and regulations for drone businesses. In this case, doing it by the book is the best way to make sure the authorities don’t ground your business for good. On top of all the usual requirements for setting up a business in Australia , there are laws specific to using drones for commercial purposes which you’ll have to follow to the letter.


Finally, here’s what the law requires you to do to set your drone business up:

  1. Get a Remote Pilot Licence (RePL). Formerly known as the UAV Controller’s Certificate (UCC), the RePL drone licence is handed out by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and is different from the Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL).


With an RePL, you’ll be able to legally fly a drone not just for fun, although you’ll have to undergo special training to fly certain kinds of drones such as heavy multi-rotor models or fixed-wing aeroplane types.


  1. Get certification for your drone business. Where the RePL is the licence for you, the ReOC, or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operator’s Certificate, is the licence for your business. The ReOC gives your business the right to fly drones for business purposes.


You won’t need special training to get this certificate, but you will need to write and submit the operations manuals of your business to CASA. You will also have to choose a Chief Remote Pilot who will be assessed via an interview and a flight planning scenario.


  1. Abide by all the drone business laws. Once your business is up and running, make sure you know all the laws that govern drone use for commercial purposes, such as when and where you’re allowed to fly as well as privacy and copyright legislation. Note that the laws that apply to you will vary according to the kind of business you have or the kind of drone you fly.


Find a drone that matches what you have in mind for your dream drone business at D1, Australia’s first and only DJI authorised retail store. Contact one of our sales professionals, today.