What Industries Do Successful Drone Pilots Fly In? (Survey Results)


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As part of our Mavic Mini giveaway last month, we ran a survey to find out more about you, our readers. Thanks to the 3,800 of you that responded! The information will be useful to us to design new courses and blog posts that will meet your drone needs and help you to achieve your goals.

Here are some of the survey results. We hope it helps you think about your own business or profession!

What Industries Are Popular for Drone Pilots?

The graph below shows in which industries you fly your drones commercially.

Best Industries for Drone Pilots

This one did not come as a surprise to us! As we have heard consistently on our podcast, the real estate industry is a good place to start flying a drone. There are smaller jobs available for beginners and it is easy to show how your drone’s photo/video capabilities can help realtors make sales.

But the real estate industry can be competitive. We wondered whether the industry affects how much a drone business makes, especially if the industry is particularly popular/competitive.

Do Drone Businesses Do Better in Some Industries vs. Others?

In the graph below, we removed people that fly drones as part of their normal job and only graphed people that fly drones as a side or full-time business. The orange bar shows people that make more than $10,000 in a year with their business. The blue bar shows people that make less.


Best Industries for Drone Businesses


Interestingly, the industry breakout for both groups was largely the same. Yes, businesses that made more than $10,000 a year were less likely to be in the real estate industry and more likely to be in the construction industry. But almost 70% of both groups were still in real estate, construction, or TV/Film. Even the percentages for less popular industries were largely consistent between the two groups.

Our Takeaway

Based on the graph, industry type did not significantly differentiate the high-income drone businesses we surveyed from the lower ones. For example, we did not see something like 20% of the high-income businesses and only 1% of the lower-income businesses in a particular industry.

It could be that the survey didn’t capture high-income businesses that carved out a niche within an industry. For example, a drone business that specializes in specific types of construction, like industrial projects, would fall into our broad header “Construction.” But so would a drone business that does all types of construction, like residential, commercial, and industrial projects. If there were a benefit to that kind of specialization, the survey wouldn’t show it.

Either way, we think how you run your drone business more strongly influences its success. How do you market your services? How well do you treat your customers? How are your video editing skills? How much time are you putting into the business? Maybe these companies are simply running better businesses and are beating out others in their industry.

But that does not mean that you can’t benefit by switching industries. Our podcast guests have suggested switching industries can be a good strategy. And the survey does imply that the construction industry might be a more lucrative industry than some drone businesses realize. There were many industries that don’t seem to have a lot of competition either—agriculture, mining, and education—just to name a few. Drone businesses should think about whether there are relatively more business opportunities in those industries compared to the competition.

What about People that Fly Drones as Part of their Normal Jobs?

In the previous graph, we left out professionals that fly drones as part of their normal job because they do not make business income. For example, a police officer might fly a drone as part of his job, but he’s still a police officer first.

So what about those pilots? What industries do they tend to fly in?

In this graph, the blue bars represent people that use drones as part of their normal job. The gray bars show the responses of people with drone businesses so that you can compare the two.


Jobs that use Drone Pilots

People that use drones to aid in their current job worked in different industries than those that own their own drone business. They were more likely to work in public safety and land surveying and less likely to work in real estate or TV/Film.

Many people wrote in industries we did not list. Although we created new categories (e.g. Public Safety) to help organize those answers, there were so many different types of industries that we left many in the “Other” bucket!

Our Takeaway

If you are a drone pilot looking to fly drones commercially, you don’t have to start your own business to make money flying a drone. You could join an industry, like public safety, where drones are becoming more widespread. Or you could think about ways drones complement the job you are already in. Trust us, from the number of write ins we received, drones can be used almost anywhere. Answers ranged from journalism and sports to meteorology and engineering. Give it a try!

What’s Next?

We hope that you enjoyed seeing the survey data. If you want to learn more about running a drone business, check out our article on starting a drone business in the real estate industry. Although it is focused on the real estate industry, we give some tricks and tips based on interviews with real drone businesses that apply to whatever industry you are interested in.

And if you have any questions or topics you want to learn more about, let us know at support@dronelaunchacademy.com.

Happy flying!

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Drone Launch Academy has helped over 40,000 drone pilots learn how to fly drones, pass the Part 107 Exam, and learn the skills they need to start making money with drones.

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