5 Ways to Make Money with Drones

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016 / by David Young

With the exploding growth of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle industry (UAV), new drone businesses are looking for new, creative ways to bring value to customers and make money with drones.  Here is a list of 5 ways people and businesses are making money with drones.

 

1)  Real Estate Marketing

With the millions of homes that go up for sale every year, real estate agents are always looking for ways to set their listing apart.  Every home seems to have the same marketing method.  First, throw up a few pictures of the inside of the house, the back yard, and a standard picture of the home from the front.  Then list it all on the MLS and hope someone likes what they see…Boring.

Real estate agents have been turning to drones to provide some lift to their listings. Videos are proved to bring MUCH more engagement than still pictures.  For example, a study by AdWeek showed that video posts on Facebook received almost twice as much engagement as photo posts.  With a remote pilots license and a reasonably priced drone, real estate agents can take their own real estate footage, increase engagement, and get more sales.

Here are some examples of real estate drone videos:

 

2) Infrastructure Inspections

Infrastructure inspections are more about being flashy and tower-photo-1more about being practical.  Bridges, pipelines,
cell towers, power lines, and retaining walls all need to be inspected.  Instead of sending a person up a 300 foot tower, why not send a drone?  It’s safer and faster.  Also, the footage can be saved for review or comparison at a later date.

Verizon recently used drones to inspect their cell towers after hurricane Matthew.  Companies large and small are starting to see the safety and efficiency benefits of using drones.

 

3) Agriculture Monitoring and Management

Farmers, agronomists, and other agriculture consultants use UAVs to help manage their crops.  Drones can quickly fly over a large field of crops, capture data, and with the help of software tools, tell the screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-5-42-38-pmfarmer where the trouble areas are.  This speed and convenience of information can help the farmer make better and more timely decisions about when to plant and what part of the field needs help.  Maps created from UAVs can also help estimate the crop yield, letting the farmer know what to expect.
The most popular tool at the moment for creating these ag maps is DroneDeploy.

DroneDeploy processes the photos captured from the drone and turns them into a digital map that can be analyzed using different algorithms.

 

4) Construction

Construction managers are using drones to take 3D models of their construction sites.  These models allow them to determine the progress being made and the amount of raw materials being used.  Again, DroneDeploy has some great tools for this.  With the DroneDeploy software, users can generate 3D maps that can be compared to one another to determine changes in volume or other measures.

For instance, lets say that you have a big pile of dirt that you are using to level some land.  You could fly your UAV over the dirt pile and create a 3D map to determine the total volume of dirt you are starting with. After doing a week of work you go back and fly your drone over the same area, creating another 3D map to determine the updated volume.  You could take the volume from the first week and subtract the volume from the second week in order to determine how much dirt you used on the job site that week.

This is just one simple example.  The applications here are pretty limitless.

 

5) Event Videography

Drones are brining a new perspective to all types of events: weddings, parties, concerts, races, marathons, you name it.  Photographers and videographers across the country are scrambling to get their Remote Pilot Certificate so they can incorporate cool aerial shots into their work.

Here are a few samples of cool wedding videos that use drones. (credit: AirWedding.co)

Weddings are just one simple example.  Any event that would look good with some aerial shots mixed in could benefit from some drone footage.  It’s a way for photographers and videographers to set themselves apart from the pack.

 

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