A drone is an unmanned aircraft that can fly using a remote control and others fly through software.
Last year a very close friend of mine was asking me about a drone she needed to buy for a vacation that was coming up.
I found it interesting because I never knew that drones are that easy to come by. Even kids have them!
And the next interesting question I asked was, ”Can someone make money with drones?”.
With the advancement of drone technology, more and more people are thinking about sending their drones to the air and earning money from them.
With this rising number of people in the drone business today, you may want to have a shot and see what you can get out of a drone business.
I know that you can have your drones for fun or use them commercially.
If you want to start a drone business, then you can do it.
There are tons of problems that you can solve using a drone and many drone business opportunities you can seize from them.
In this article, we’ll talk about how you can start and run a successful drone business.
Is a Drone Business Profitable?
You may be thinking if it is even worth it to start a drone business in today’s climate.
Already there are people who are fed up with drone technology and the competition is getting a little too much.
So how profitable is a drone business exactly?
Well, there are many businesses out here that need drone technology like photography and videography and these industries range from TV and media to real estate agents and even weddings.
There is a huge pool of customers for a drone business and the returns are always rewarding.
The drone business is the wisest thing to invest in because more and more industries are looking for drone services.
This means more customers and more returns, so it is very lucrative.
What Does a Drone Operator Do?
When you are running a drone business, you will have to know the roles you are going to play as a drone operator.
You have to know how you are going to serve your clients so that you do not risk losing them to your competitors. Here is what you will do:
- Flying drones for business
- Prepping the drones mechanically for business
- Inspecting the drones
- Scheduling times for business operations
- Updating the business website
How Do I Start a Drone Business?
Starting a drone business is just like starting any other business.
You have to know what problem you are solving with your business, who your audience is, how to promote your business and how you will be pricing your business services so that you can be as competitive and profitable.
Here is a step by step guideline on how you can start a drone business from scratch.
Create a business model
Know how your business will generate income, by including the right choice of offerings, strategies, infrastructure, organizational structures, trading practices, and operational
processes and policies.
Identify your market
Choose the market that makes the most sense to you.
Let it be linked to what you know and something that can make you money.
Do not start a drone business without checking to see if your market is receptive to your drone business.
Choose your drone
Once you have decided on the type of services you want to offer in your drone business, pick a drone that is suitable for the service.
For example, you cannot use a military drone to do deliveries.
Develop your skills
You will need good technical and flying skills to be able to manage the drone software and achieve different drone heights and speeds for your business.
You will need to learn if you have no clue about flying drones.
Market your drone business
Get to know your market by showing up for presentations and also networking with other drones businesses.
You can also go online and promote your business so that you can start operations.
What are the Requirements for a Drone Business?
To start a drone business, you need to meet all the necessary requirements.
Make sure you check this list off so that you do not risk having challenges and problems that you can avoid at an early stage in your business.
Without them, you don’t even have a business.
Drones are getting cheaper and readily available for professional or recreational use.
If you are starting a commercial drone business, you need to get insurance in case of public liability and property damage.
There are rules and regulations for flying drones so you must have the necessary permits to fly and operate the drone within a given jurisdiction.
This will cost you around Ksh.20,000 if you are in Kenya.
You will need to have a website for your drone business so that you can generate more leads and get more customers.
Purchase drone software that will edit the raw drone footage and photos.
You can choose either GIMP or Adobe editing software for these needs.
Branding materials like logos and marketing
You will have to create logos for your business so that you can build your brand and make yourself known from the available competition.
What Kind of Business Can I Start With a Drone?
I’ve only known about drone photography and videography for a while now until recently.
I was doing a bit of research the other day and I found out there are a variety of niches you can choose from for your drone business. Here are some examples.
Drone photography and videography.
This is the most common business idea that you can start. There are so many clients who are looking for drone aerial photoshoots. Building a good portfolio on your website will get you, clients.
If you are skilled in flying and operating drones, you could start a drone business based on that and make money.
Some drones are positioned at discrete points for security problems on unsuspecting people. This is a good business idea.
Where there is a large vast quantity of livestock, vehicles, people, real estate and plant equipment a drone can be used to keep track of them and this business is great.
You can start a drone construction business where we use drones that can survey land, scare birds away and so much more.
Start an agricultural drone business where you use drones to sprinkle pesticides on crops and scare away birds.
What is the Best Drone for Your Business?
If you are asking yourself this question, I’d say you first start looking at the kind of business that you can start with drones.
Different drones are built for different purposes.
There are many options and varied niches that you can offer clients despite the clutter in drone photography and videography.
- Construction. Multirotor drones are the best suited for construction work.
- Photography and videography. For your perfect photos for your drone business, you may consider using the DJI Mavic model of drones.
- Security. VTOL surveillance UAV has the best security features that will be useful to your business.
- Asset management. The DJI Air 2S Review is good for asset inspection and management for your business for large industries, for example the oil and gas industry.
- Agriculture. For agriculture, you can use the DJI Agras MG- 1, DJI Matrice 100, DJI T600 Inspire 1 Quadcopter.
You can buy these drones on Amazon and make sure that they meet every specification that you want for your business.
What are the Expenses for a Drone Business?
When you are starting out your drone business, you will need to factor in some things as initial capital. When you are making your budget, think of these.
- Cost of drones. A drone in Kenya will cost about Ksh. 20,000. Typically you will only need one drone to get started.
- Insurance costs. You never discover yourself from losses arising from risk.
- Cost for a website. A website will cost you as little as Ksh.2500 to Ksh. 5000 to create.
- Logos and marketing. You will need to pay a logo designer and also include marketing expenses for your drone business.
- Software. You will have to pay for the software you want to choose to edit your photos or videos.
- Licenses. Getting the necessary permits and licenses will need to to pay some fee for clearance and permission to operate your drones for business.
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Drone Business?
On average, it will cost you around Ksh. 200,000 to launch your business.
When you factor in all the expenses including the marketing costs, insurance and website and logo design, it could go for Ksh. 500,000 or more.
The good thing is that once you get your drones and your first clients, your only focus now will be on providing high-quality products.
What are the Skills Needed for Your Drone Business?
As a drone operator and a business owner, there are some qualities that you need if you want to be successful when you start and run your business.
Put your efforts into thorough marketing so that you can get new customers who are seeking your services.
A lot of people want drone photographers but don’t know where to get them.
Build your photography skills including editing, shooting and creating awesome pictures for your customers so that your business may grow.
It is good to know what your customers want so that you will deliver the desired products and services to them.
You should know how you can operate the drones and fix any technical issues on your own by reading the manual and not wasting money in contacting a professional.
Time management skills
This is going to be seen when you start charging for your services and how you are going to do it.
If you are doing an hourly rate, you have to keep time so that your customers will not complain about not utilising the full time.
You need to know how you can positively interact with your customers because it can get frustrating when you both do not see the desired results.
How Do I Attract Clients for My Drone Business?
Your first drone clients will be the hardest to come by.
But, you have to put in the effort if you want this business to kick off.
Deliver the best services to your customers from the start so that they can build trust with you.
You will not only build a good reputation, but you will influence loyal clients. T
his is how you can get your first customers.
Examine the prospective customers that you have and prepare survey questions for them. This will allow you to generate new leads.
Ask for referrals
Have a referral program, whereby if a customer is happy with your services, they can recommend someone else to you.
Use social media
Use the connections you have built online to showcase your projects. Go to Facebook or Instagram and have your business advertisements set up so that people will contact you.
Have a business card with good branding, business details and contact information so that your customers can reach out to you when they want to.
Create a website
Your website should have your drone business projects and you should optimise it so that it appears on top of the lists when someone searches for it on Google.
Word of mouth
Be the expert everyone knows about and within no time, people will start contacting you for your services.
Local area canvassing
Canvas your local area and see who needs your drone services.
How Can I Promote My Drone Business?
If you want to market your drone services so that you can expand your customer base, do this:
- Word-of-mouth. Offer quality services to people and build your business through that. It is easier to get more customers this way. When people can acknowledge how great your photos are, they will most definitely tell people who you are and how they can get in touch with you. Ask for referrals and testimonials to get more clients.
- Website. Go online and showcase your projects. Take time to optimise your website for SEO and also build content.Your website will create a first impression on your customers and this will determine if they seek your services or not.
- Social Media. Leverage the connections you have on social media and use that to showcase your projects on Facebook and Instagram, share relevant contents and create promotions and advertisements to create more sales and leads.
- Business Listings and Directories. Make your drone business available in sites such as Google so that people can come online and search for your services easily. Create a business profile, showcase your projects and ask for customer reviews if you want to make it to these directories.
- Networking. Connect with industry experts and participate in local and community events and meet new people. You will get more clients and leads in this way.
What are the Advantages of Starting a Drone Business?
These are some of the benefits that you will get when you start a drone business.
- More customers. Drone services are on high demand today so you will always be having clients for your business. Your customers are likely to be travellers, big corporations or girls who want to take good pictures.
- High profits. Since you are going to be serving a lot of customers, you will make a lot of money as profit for your business.
- Relatively low startup costs. The main part of starting a drone business is getting the drones, after which everything else falls smoothly into place.
- Environmental friendly. Drones do not cause any air or noise pollution and that is why drones being Sue’s for security can catch an unsuspecting person
- Easy to use. Operating drones is not a technical problem. It is quite easy to use drones for the business you have ventured in.
What are the Disadvantages of Starting a Drone Business?
Some of the challenges and problems you will be facing with your drone business include:
- Drones can be expensive. The cost of drones is still quite high to be able to buy a certain number of drones for your business. Many drone business owners only operate with a limited number of drones that they can afford.
- High competition. Many people are getting into the drone business today and you have to make sure that you can beat and gain competitive advantage over them.
- Drone breakdown. Drones are subject to wear and tear and if they are not maintained well, they will occasionally break down. You will have to do the repairs or get a new drone altogether and this will cost you money.
- Nuisance. Having drones flying around people’s heads can be a nuisance so you may want to operate your drones in less busy areas.
How Do I Become Successful in My Drone Business?
You now have your drone business. What can you do if you want to be successful in this business? Success is indicated when you keep on getting new customers and your profits are still intact. Here is what you can do.
- Improve your flying skills. This is what is going to make you start a successful drone business. Your drone flying skills should be top notch if you want to see more results in your business.
- Create a social media presence. You will see a lot of influencers and content creators on social media so you can promote your services there and get more clients for a successful drone business.
- Deliver quality services. When your customers are happy and pleased with your drone services, they will generate more leads and build your business reputation.
- Network. Get in touch with other drone pilots, attend social gatherings and events and you will get clients who will appreciate a good drone photography shoot.
- Market your business. Use different platforms to effortlessly talk about your business and what you have to offer so that you can get customers.
What are the Legal Requirements for a Drone Business?
Using drones has certain legal restrictions so you have to have legal permission to use them.
In Kenya, you should know that the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) laid out rules and regulations about flying a drone.
Some of these rules are:
- A drone should not fly above
- You should not fly your drone if you are within 10km from an airport.
These are the legal requirements for your drone business:
- A drone travel permit which goes for Ksh. 20,000 in Kenya
- An importation fee of Ksh. 3,000
- Licenses if you are opening a drone school
- Remote operators certificate issued for Ksh. 80,000 and renewed for Ksh. 50,000 every year.
- Airworthiness certificate issued for Ksh. 5,000
Tips for Starting a Successful Drone Business
There are some things that you have to put into consideration even after you have met all the necessary requirements to start your business.
Some of the tips and advice get trivialised but are important in starting a drone business.
Things like choosing a name for your business and learning to fly or simply improving those flying skills should not be thrown to the back burner.
How to Choose the Right Name For Your Business
A drone business name has a huge impact on your business success. There are things you must consider when you are taking this step. Here are some things you should be keen on when deciding what you want to name your business.
- Have it match your business. Your business name should be in line with the services your drone business is offering. You cannot use a name that is based on agriculture for a photographic drone business.
- Make it brandable. Your business name should be able to fit as logos so that you can create a brand for your drone business.
- Make it easy to remember. When your customers can easily remember your business name, it becomes easier for them to come back or refer more customers to you.
How to Improve Your Flying Skills
If you are already good at flying drones, who said you cannot learn some more? There’s always new speeds and different angles you can try with your drones that will keep you fully functioning and efficient. This is how you can improve your drone flying skills.
- Go to a drone school. Drone schools have professional drone pilots who give you excellent drone training so that you can effectively start your drone business.
- Use tutorials. YouTube gives you the best platform to learn about drones and how to operate them just by watching tutorials of other people. You have to know the basics and how to operate special added features to a particular drone.
- Practice, practice, practice. If you find free time, go out and fly your drone. This is not only therapeutic, but allows you to improve your flying skills so that you can be efficient in your services.
Unique Drone Business Ideas for a Drone Business
There is competition in the drone industry.
If you want to beat this competition, find unique projects and business ideas that will distinguish you from the crowd.
You want to be as original as possible so that you can distinguish your business from others.
Here are some unique business ideas for your drone business.
Unique Business Ideas For a Drone Business
You can give a try to these unique business ideas for your drone business. They are very viable and sought after today.
You can start a drone rental business and have people use your drones for a fee. Some people love to hire drones instead of buying them. For a rental business, use a subscription model in order to make more money.
Online drone course creation
You can create drone courses for people who want to know everything about drones, package them for Udemy and charge a fee.
Search and rescue
Drones can be used for search and rescue for missing persons. With the rising number of criminal activities, this is a good business idea.
You can show up at big events and take amazing photographs. You can also be hired for your skills during these events.
Land surveying and mapping
You can survey a given area of land, map it and sell these maps to tourists or anyone who is new to the area.
Start a drone advertising business and make a decent amount of money for these services. A lot of companies and organisations will approach you to advertise for them.
FAQs on How to Start a Drone Business That Pays 100M+ Shillings a Year in Kenya
- How much does it cost to start a drone business?
You can become a millionaire flying drones for corporates.
Your expertise will earn you more than $1M/100 M shillings a year. You can earn up to 60k a day flying drones.
2. What kind of business can you start with a drone?
Real estate photography
Online drone course creation
Land mapping and surveying
3. Is drone piloting profitable?
Yes, drone piloting is profitable.
4. Is it too late in 2022 to start a drone business?
No, it’s never too late to start any business. Research the market and find out how to fill the link.
5. How do drone businesses get clients?
Decide on a niche
Have a website and social media pages
Have and write a business plan on who your clients are and what need you will serve for them?
Have business cards everywhere you go with your drones
Know your clients’ needs.
6. Are drone jobs in demand?
Yes, drone jobs are in demand.
7. What careers use drones?
Drone filmmaker and photographer
Drone flight instructor
Search and rescue
8. How difficult is it to get a drone licence?
It’s not difficult to get the licence once you follow the instructions as outlined by KCAA.
9. How much does drone school cost?
Basic courses online cost up to 5,000 shillings while Professional drone courses cost from 10k – 200k or more. You can learn online.
10. Do drone pilots need medical licences?
No, you don’t need a medical licence to operate a drone.
11. Is the drone test hard?
Yes, all tests are hard if you don’t study for them. Prepare in advance to get better results.
12. How do I become a professional drone pilot?
Buy a drone,
Practice how to operate or use the drone,
Take a course on how to use a drone,
Get a licence so that you operate a legal business.
13. How much should I charge for drone footage?
Charge up to 60k shillings for drone footage.
14. Can I sell drone photos and videos?
Yes, you can sell drone photos and videos for a profit on websites like Shutterstock, Getty Images and your website.
15. Can I fly a drone in my neighbourhood?
Yes, you can fly drones in your neighbourhood but never on anyone’s property.
16. How much are drones in Kenya?
Drones range from 15k to 250k shillings depending on the kind of drone you buy.
Resources for How to Start a Drone Business That Pays You 100M Shillings a Year
How to Start a Drone Photography Business in Kenya Make [60k/Photo]
What is Drone Technology and Types of Drones in Kenya?
Drone Business Ideas in Kenya
How to Start a Drone Inspection Business in Kenya
Drone Business Plan in Kenya
Drones look like an oversaturated business in Kenya because everyone seems to operate a drone.
The competition looks scary for you that wants to get started in drones yet the competition should tell you something, there’s demand for drones.
Customers are looking for drones to either show real estate (another industry booming in Kenya) and agriculture among other industries.
Before investing in drones, identify a niche, ask yourself what do you want to solve?
Become involved in your drones business, learn all there is to learn about drones.
Before operating a drone ensure to get licences and approval from KCAA.
Remember no matter the popularity of drones, a drone business is still a business.
To run a business, be patient, persevere and have a business mindset. Have a business plan ready for your drone business.
Drone technology is becoming more advanced today, look into the unexplored ways of making your drone business profitable.
Keep up with the trends of drones tech and what the future holds for drones.
Drones are a fun way of making money, you get to enjoy them while working.
Keep learning to keep ahead of the happenings in the drone world to stay ahead of your peers.
Do you want to start a drone business?
Are you wondering what kind of drone to buy to start your business with?
In the blog post, What’s Drone Technology, I outlined the best drones for you to get started with as a beginner in the drone business.
What hurdles are you meeting in your drone business in Kenya?
Do you know how to cash in on drone technology taking the world by storm?