So, how is your drone business doing?

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Just wondering if it is working out, or is it still mainly a working 'hobby'? Are you earning money or are you doing it just for fun (break even)? How are you advertising? How are you insured and if you are insured, what limits do you have? What are the different ways our drones are used in business?
 
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:confused: No one? Seriously? o_O Too funny.
 

BigAl07

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It's a very competitive business venture and some people aren't willing to talk a lot about what they are doing let alone HOW they are doing it.

A) Earning $$
B) Advertising in print, social media, flyers, cold calls and word of mouth
C) $1M Aviation policy
D) Don't do dumb things and don't break FAA rules
E) many... too many to discuss but you can find many here: DJI Phantom Drone Forum
 
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It's a very competitive business venture and some people aren't willing to talk a lot about what they are doing let alone HOW they are doing it.
Couldn't agree more - not just with drone businesses but any type of business. Startups will always say they're doing awesome but look under the hood and everyone has their share of problems.

I'd venture to guess that most who started in the last 6-12 months are still in the starting up phase and not turning a profit. Most who I've talked to who are making consistent revenue are the ones who got in early.

One of the biggest things are how many and what types of customer relationships you had when you started. Establishing the right clientele isn't easy and takes time.
 
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I agree as well. I think if the use of drone technology was an add-on to an already existing business it provides a big head start. For example, if you are a real estate photographer with established clientele and got your part 107 license, you can now do the aerial shots without hiring a boom truck or helicopter.
Starting out from scratch will be tough if you plan on making a living from it unless you have an "in" with certain markets.
If your in a big farming area and are willing to make a decent sized investment (probably in the $15k range), you may be able to capitalize on agriculture opportunities.
 
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@Roadking how long have you been operating for? What struggles did you experience that maybe you didn't anticipate before starting?
 
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@Roadking how long have you been operating for? What struggles did you experience that maybe you didn't anticipate before starting?
So far I'm doing as I expected. I started about a month ago and didn't really expect to go live until next year. I'm retiring from a 40+ year career at a Fortune 500 company where I held executive positions in sales, marketing and customer service. I got a couple of jobs through word of mouth and the clients were so pleased with what I provided things may go quicker than planned.
With that said, I am not planning on making a living from the business. If I can do a few freelance jobs a week that would be fine. I enjoy flying and if the earned income supports my hobbies I'd be thrilled. I enjoy getting out and talking to people. One real estate company asked me to do a presentation at their team meeting. Good opportunity to stress rules and regulations. Instill fear of working with the unlicensed.
Total investment (not including phantom and accessories):
Part 107 course $99
Test $150
LLC $125
Business cards $10
Editing sw and website $125
A local paper called after I registered the business (LLC) and published an article and put me on a video on their website.
I think the low hanging fruit is real estate photos. Utility and cell companies seem to be doing it in house. Agriculture takes big investment as mentioned previously. May be some opportunity in commercial construction but more difficult to penetrate. Mapping also needs investment and connections unless you want to hustle. Happy to share and hope that helps.
 
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Wow! Sounds like you're doing great so far. Not bad at all for a month's work.

Agreed about the different industries. A common misconception in the drone community is that if you can fly a drone well then you can make money. That used to be true but it's largely not anymore (unless you have the connections, which it sounds like you're building up well).

I also agree that industries like mapping, ag, surveying, are much higher barrier of entries than the real estate photos. As with anything else it's a double-edged sword. Lower barrier of entry means higher volume of competition.

I'm actually part of a team making management/compliance software. That's why I originally asked. I'm always trying to learn more about people operating drones commercially.
 
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Thanks kevinm. My website link is in my signature if you want to see more.
Good luck with the compliance software. Sometimes support capabilities are more profitable than the actual industry.
The FAA is putting out a bid for instant airspace authorization. Not sure if it aligns with your efforts but maybe something to look at. Kevin from the FAA mentioned it recently.
 
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Thank you for the kind words. Things have been going well. We're still in public beta but should be launching our full product very soon. We currently have a web and an Android app.

We actually partner with AirMap and they take care of all the airspace management/authorization side of things. It's great to be able to lean on them for such an important piece of our product.

Best of luck to you! If you're looking for help or just want to chat, my e-mail is [email protected]. Happy to help however I can.
 

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It's just scary to think what the competition will be like in a year or two or three vs. the work available.
 

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