Owning a Quadcopter, or drone, has been every child AND adults dream since becoming extremely popular in the last 6 years. What could be more fun than flying a remote controlled gadget with the ability to fly 1000-feet away, right? These carbon fibre-reinforced soaring machines are the embodiment of modern tech.
It is important to research what you are buying to ensure you get a quality drone that will give you the performance you desire. Serious drone enthusiast can sometimes find themselves spending quite a lot on their new hobby. Don’t let that fact deter you; what if I told you that they can pay for themselves?
Before I start listing the many potential income opportunities, it’s important to be responsible when purchasing and flying a quadcopter. Be sure you read the FAA rules and regulations. Also, depending if you choose a larger sized copter, you may have to register it with the FAA for a small fee before taking flight.
If you feel you have a keen eye for detail or a love for photography, a drone with a 4k camera could make you a mint. For a small investment, you could utilize your new hover-cam to video anything from sporting matches to commitment services; just remember to recharge the battery to avoid missing any crucial parts.
It’s not hard to find people or council members who would be willing to pay to have their special moments caught on high quality video. The price of paying for a drone is much cheaper than a full-sized helicopter and pilot. A drone is also able to get closer for more intimate shots and detailed images.
Commercials and Websites
We’ve all seen those ads with aerial shots over the car yards or over the top of festivals, you could be the person to film them. Buying a drone and visiting local businesses to enquire about TV commercial and website projects could be a great way to get some cash and make a name for yourself.
Just consider that you will need a drone with a high quality camera and smooth gimbal motion. Getting quality video will require a decent drone and some skill behind the remote control pad. Talent in web-design or movie making wouldn’t be such a bad thing either.
Imagine having the natural skill of being able to manoeuvre a drone like an ace after the first few attempts after opening the packaging. Say you do: you could try your hand at professionally racing your unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The DRL, drone racing league, does exist, it’s an actual thing! The DRL is a competitive environment full of challenging courses and renowned pilots.
The league offers pilots a chance to race against the best drone handlers from all around the world for cash prizes of up to $250,000. www.miniquadclub.com, www.FPVlab.com and www.FPVracing.tv are great places to start. Learning to control you drone in the more experience “rate-mode” could land you in Dubai, racing against the likes of 15-year old prodigy, Luke Bannister.
Do you live in a lively, news-filled suburbia or city? News broadcasters pay well for good footage of accidents, fires and celebrity sightings. Though it’s a risky employment route, getting a few hundred dollars for capturing an aerial shot of a house fire could be a good way to start paying yourself back for those initial costs.
In 2014, an elderly man went missing. 3 days after officials combed the surrounding area, a man and his drone discovered the man’s whereabouts within 20 minutes. Drones are also used to cover wars in conflict zones. Ensure you are aware of your local laws and flight regulations in regards to flying over public buildings or populated areas.
Do you know anybody with farms or big properties? It may be worthwhile to spend a little extra on some accessories that can help you regulate any issues in the fields. With such vast canvases to patrol and maintain, the use of drones has begun to make a day/week-long job into an efficient aerial sweep.
This may entail spending a little more than most will want to. The DJI Matrice 600 AGSTAR- complete ready-to-fly agriculture starter kit will set you back $20k. This may sound like a steep investment to watch crops or even keep an eye on the bovine, but could be a lucrative business to the right entrepreneur.
Engineering and Repair
You could study these airborne, alien-like crafts inside and out as part of an engineering degree. You could make a profession building UVA’s and maybe even inventing your own personal design. This opens opportunities to start your own tutorial blog/vlog about everything from proper maintenance to personal preferences.
You could even open up your own repair business. There’s also money in buying old machines and using the parts to rebuild and resell. Remember the 80’s when you took your VCR or CD player in for repairs? Drone technicians are much cooler and a lot more in demand today.
Just as you were once a newbie, there are plenty drone plebes out there who are looking for someone to teach them the basics of flying. With that said, there are also people out there who will to pay for advanced classes too. Depending on your aptitude and willingness to train others, teaching a personalised training course could be quite lucrative. Along with an income, this will also offer you the chance to keep your skills sharp.
Teach me how to fly!
You could purchase a couple of training drones or instruct students with their own machines. The benefit of having your own training drones means that you are familiar with all of the functions and can carry spare batteries and replacement parts. Beginner students may be tempted to purchase cheaper drones that have less control or stabilisation and flimsy, easy to break propellers and landing gear, making them less than ideal for learning with.
I’m always looking for cool new ideas and things to try out with my friends. Frome wine tasting to archery and charter fishing to go-cart racing, me and my friends love making memories doing crazy new activities. We are always trying to out-do each other. For my brothers last birthday I took him and 8 mates to a firing range and we shot targets with a few different hand guns. I could definitely see us booking a drone party.
I don’t think some of my friends would go as far as buying a drone, but they’d pay to fly one for an hour or two. To set this up, you’d need a collection of quality drones, plenty of spare back-up batteries and somewhere with a lot of open space (to avoid collisions). Give everyone a quick tutorial and then let them re-live their childhood flying a remote control quadcopter.
This is the obvious one: the drone delivery service. Imagine working for a business and sitting back as you pilot packages to neighboring communities. Drones have brought a whole new side to the delivery business. Conceive the idea of being the modern-day, tech pizza boy who gets to pilot pizza across town!
Though this may be a futurist vision, a foot in the door opens plenty more. Everyone, from Amazon to UPS, are using drones for deliveries now and it won’t be too long before every man and his drone will have, or want, a job there. Imagine delivering your AVON or Tupperware without needing to do the legwork.
You can choose to purchase a night-vision or thermal imaging UAV with minimal noise output and go into security. That could be anything from a patrol of private property to supermarket surveillance. A 4K camera and some thermal imaging can go a long way if you seek out a security job (the average American makes USD$50,000/year).
You could even become the local neighborhood watch hero and catch out those nasty nocturnal vandals and intruders. There’s always missing cats and elderly people who lose their way; piece of cash for peace of mind, perhaps.
You can only imagine the cost of using a helicopter or aeroplane to survey land or check pipeline and electricity wires, luckily there’s smaller and more cost-effective ways to do it now. Finding downed trees and wreckage after storms makes it easier for towns and cities to start recovering after disasters.
Finding corrupt gas/water pipes or busted electrical wires efficiently saves communities dollars, dollars they’re willing to throw at you. It’s a job that’s as simple as navigating your UAV in search of the issue and reporting back
Being good at flying can also open up military paths. You could work your way to becoming part of a bomb disposal unit or an anti-terrorism surveillance team. Perhaps this isn’t a quick way to get some cash, but it’s a rewarding career path if you’re looking for something long-term. The Air Force offers some drone pilots a USD$125,000 bonus after their service is up so long as they choose to stay on for another 5 years.
Let’s stay in the world of reality: You won’t open your newly bought drone package and have green bills fly out into your lap. If you’re interested in a hobby/job then any employment that utilizes a drone could be for you. Just abide by the laws and remember that it’ll cost money to make money.
If you are already a Quadcopter enthusiast though, why not let your hobby earn you some side cash to help pay for some spare batteries or your next Quad upgrade?
We’ve given you some ideas to get you started, the rest is up to you