How to Make Money with a Drone

There are several ways to earn money with your drone. Whether it’s from performing aerial photography, conducting roofing or property inspections, working on film crews, or conducting mapping for surveyors, your drone is a great asset to use for earning more income.

Hello, fellow drone enthusiasts! My name is Lavelle and I am a drone pilot and a long-time drone enthusiast. Over the past decade, I have been using my drones both professionally and recreationally and have earned a substantial income from them.

In this article, I will cover some of the basics that you need to have in place before starting your drone business. I will also give you a list of 10 opportunities that can help you make money with your drone. Finally, I will answer a few of the frequently asked questions and give you my final thoughts.

Key Takeaways

  • Establish your business legally before starting out.
  • Taking training courses to improve your drone skill sets is a great way to enhance your expertise in the field.
  • Create a comprehensive plan and market your drone services effectively.

What You Need to Do Before Starting Your Drone Business

There are a few things you should think about before launching your own drone business.

1. Obtain Part 107 License

Before starting your drone business, I suggest that you first obtain your Part 107 pilot license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). You need to get this credential before you can start using your drone for commercial or professional purposes.

There are several training platforms online to help you prepare for the test. You can also go directly to the FAA site to get all the information you need on preparing for the test and for obtaining the license. You can also take a look at this article How Long Does a Part 107 License last for more information.

2. Create a Company

Another suggestion is that you create a professional company i.e. LLC, LLP (if you have a partner) or a corporation (C-Corp, S-Corp), before starting your drone business.

I am not giving you tax or legal advice. Still, I do suggest that you research the benefits of creating a professional company and speak with a tax advisor and a legal advisor before moving forward.

3. Make a Website

In many cases, having a professional website is advantageous before starting your business. Most inquiries for your services will also want to see a portfolio of your work. 

Therefore, having a website with your photos and videos online is a good idea. If you are just getting started, you may want to offer to take photos and videos for clients for “free” so that you can build your portfolio up.

4. Select the Type of Drone

Lastly, I suggest that you consider the type of drone that you have and what its capabilities are before starting your drone business. Your current drone may be great for what you want to do with your business. However, it is important to remember that not all drones are created equally and the last thing you want to do is to try and perform a drone task with insufficient equipment.

How to Make Money with a Drone: 10 Ways

Over the course of my drone piloting career, I’ve used my drones in many ways to earn money. Here is a list of 10 ways that I have found for making money with your drone.

1. Real-estate Aerography

Using your drone for real estate photography and videography is a great way to earn extra income. Real estate professionals often list ads looking for drone professionals to take aerial shots of properties that they list. 

Check your local publications and look online for these types of listings. You may also want to reach out to local real estate professionals to offer them your services.

2. Weddings and Events Photoshoots

One of the more lucrative areas for your drone business is in the wedding and event space. You can earn an excellent income by using your drone to provide services at these types of engagements. It is very important to be proficient at your craft before entering this space. 

However, once you are comfortable with your quality of service, you should make your services available to those who are looking for these options.

3. Roof and Property Inspection

One of the easiest ways to earn money with your drone is to conduct roof and property inspections. This is where I first began earning income with my drones. You simply need to be able to fly your drones over a building, capturing images of the roof or property from various angles. 

The key to this area of drone photography/videography is capturing the macro and the micro (big and small) details of the property. You are also welcome to check how much the roof inspection may cost.

4. Sports, News, and Concerts Reporting

Using your drone for sports, news, and concert reporting is a good option for earning income as well. In this space, it is important that you follow all FAA guidelines since you may be flying over people in some instances. Be sure to check on any necessary permits before engaging in this type of drone activity.

5. Stock Photography

Another relatively simple option for earning money with your drone is to take images that can be used for stock photography. Look online for companies that purchase stock images. If you take high-quality images and unique images, you may be able to sell these images to online portals.

6. Mapping

Mapping is a niche area in the drone photography field. In order to be successful in this field, you need to prepare, as it is very specialized. I suggest that you take a training course on mapping and get as much information as possible online before setting out to enter this area. Once you are prepared, you may offer your services to surveyors or engineering companies.

7. Agriculture

Agriculture is a good way to earn money with your drone. In this field, you can offer services such as counting plants, conducting assessments of fields or crops, insecticide application, and many other similar services. Here is the list of the best drone for agriculture.

8. Film and Clip Making

Here is another great area of opportunity when it comes to using your drone for making money. You can offer your services to independent filmmakers. Many films open with aerial shots of land or buildings.

Additionally, usually, they have scenes that show neighborhood overviews or that follow actors as they walk along a street or enter a home, etc. There are a plethora of opportunities in the film industry for drone use.

9. Architect and Resort Photo and Video Shooting

Photos and videos are very useful in the architecture field. You can offer your services to architects or architecture firms for lucrative rates. I suggest that you research this field carefully before entering it as well.

10. Drone Delivery

Using your drone for delivery services is a growing field of opportunity. Some large companies are contracting drone operators to provide these delivery services. Look online for more information about various companies you can work with.


Here are answers to a couple of the frequently asked questions about using your drone to make money.

Is a Drone Business Profitable?

Yes, a drone business is profitable. Of course, making a profit with your drone business depends on several variables. However, having a profitable business in the drone industry is very possible.

Are Drone Pilots in High Demand?

Yes, licensed drone pilots are in very high demand. There is much more work in the market than there are licensed drone pilots. Because of this, rates are very competitive and the opportunity to earn money as a drone pilot is very high at this time.

Final Thoughts

Earning money with your drone is a legitimate possibility. You should always seek to perfect your craft and by doing so, you can position yourself to earn extra or primary income with your drone. 

It is important that you understand how to set up your business before starting and seek tax and/or legal advice from professionals in those fields. Marketing your services is also critical to your success as a drone pilot. Look for ways to use things such as social media to let others know about your services as a drone pilot.

Do you want to start making money with your drone? Which field do you find the most interesting? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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