12 Commercial Uses For Drones | Your Drone Business Opportunities

When drones first started becoming popular, they were generally nothing more than a very cool, cutting-edge toy for adults.

But it didn’t take people long to start considering dozens of different commercial uses for drones!

Now that the FAA has finally established a set of regulations for the commercial use of Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (under 55lbs or 25kg), US entrepreneurs have begun exploring drone business opportunities.

The regulations seem quite strict at the moment and limit some potential business applications, but these can be overcome with a special waiver.

So, if you are obsessed with drones and would like to start a business where you get to fly them every day, here are some legitimate drone business ideas for you to consider:

1. Offering Courses

drone courses

Image: Bryn Salisbury – Flickr

The most obvious drone business opportunity is to offer UAV operating courses. These courses could be for everything from lessons for drone beginners, to advanced lessons on building your own one.

Courses can also be about cool techniques and tricks for drone videography and photography.

2. Leasing Drones

Hire a drone

Image: Birgitta Seegers – Flickr

Right now, drones are the coolest thing since sliced bread and just about everyone would LOVE to own one. While improvements in drone technology have made them more affordable for the average person, they’re still relatively expensive.

This could be in your favor. With a small initial investment (and the right insurance), you could rent out drones to certified operators.

3. An Advertising Business

“Dronevertising” is the next big thing in marketing. So equip a drone with a small video screen or lightweight banner, find a location where there are dozens, hundreds or even thousands of eyes to see whatever advertising material your drone happens to be carrying, and voila!

4. Special Events Photography and Videography

With high quality camera drones, you could cover every second of any event at a fraction of the cost, even if it stretched over hundreds of miles. The awesome thing is that a drone-mounted camera allows for a whole range of unique angles that wouldn’t be possible any other way.

That makes them a hot commodity, especially for weddings, lavish celebrations and other events (including sporting ones) that typically rely on a smaller budget.

5. Aerial Inspection Drones

One thing that all drones have in common is that they can get to places that would be difficult, dangerous or even impossible for a human. So offering inspection services is another viable drone business idea. The types of inspections that drones are capable of are wide ranging but include:

  • Oil, gas, and power line safety and integrity;

  • Agricultural surveying;

  • Solar arrays (both private and commercial);

  • Large forests, nature reserves, and other natural conservation areas;

  • Infrastructure at construction or building sites (this includes buildings that may be structurally unsound due to age, fire or natural disasters);

  • And pretty much anything else that needs to be physically checked for whatever reason.

6. Drones as Delivery Vehicles

While FAA laws governing the use of drones make it difficult to use them for deliveries at the moment, a Nevada-based company completed a number of store-to-door deliveries in November 2016.

Based on this, drone entrepreneurs are hoping that drone deliveries will soon be as much of a reality in the US as they are in other countries including China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, UK, Ireland, Canada, and Rwanda.

7. Drones for News Footage

With a decent drone, it is possible to capture footage of absolutely anything that might be considered newsworthy – whether that is a sporting event, a live concert, a crime in progress, a major accident, a natural disaster, a major conflict, or any other event that qualifies as news.

And even if there are no media outlets interested in your footage, with the right marketing you could build and monetize a popular website or YouTube channel for your drone business.

8. Drones for Humanitarian Purposes

When you consider how much more cost effective a drone is versus the traditional methods of doing things; as well as just how much they are actually capable of – using UAV’s for non-profit or humanitarian efforts seems obvious.

See also this video about ambulance drone

So far, there are drone businesses aiding with the following humanitarian efforts:

  • Surveying critical infrastructure after natural disasters

  • Delivering medical and other supplies to otherwise inaccessible areas

  • Constantly monitoring endangered wildlife

  • Aiding in search & rescue missions

  • Aiding the study of areas with serious health threats

9. Security Drones

UAV’s can move very slowly but they can also fly through the air at up to 100 mph. This means they’re one of the best tools available when it comes to surveillance and security.

One certified operator with a night vision camera-equipped drone could easily cover the same area as 4-6 guards.

Drones can be used both indoors and outdoors, making their uses for security purposes truly diverse. There are autonomous security drones as well!

10. Agricultural Drones

drone farming

Image: Mauricio Lima – Flickr

Commercial drones have been used since the 1980’s. Until recently, however, the rules governing their use has made it challenging to apply drones to agricultural purposes.

Now they’re finally becoming a popular tool in precision farming.

These days farmers are using both land and aerial agricultural drones, but the tasks that flying drones assist with include:

  • Crop spraying

  • Crop health monitoring

  • Monitoring irrigation equipment

  • Creating weed maps

  • Monitoring the movement and status of livestock

11. Drones for Feature and Documentary Filming

Although it is only since 2014 that using drones to film movies has been legal in the US, there are already a number of films that feature amazing high-quality drone footage; including Skyfall, The Expendables 3 and Chappie.

Another area where they’re extremely popular is with filming documentaries. To see just how endless the possibilities of drone-mounted cameras are, check out some of the videos featured at the New York City Drone Film Festival.

12. Underwater Drones

Unfortunately, there are a lot more environmental hazards for underwater drones (such as curious sea life, strong currents, water pressure, etc.), but there are underwater drones that allow you to enjoy, explore and inspect the watery depths – without getting wet!

They can be used for various activities including:

  • Inspecting docks

  • Evaluating underwater pilings of offshore drilling rigs

  • Checking fishing nets

  • Inspecting ships hulls

  • Filming or photographing underwater environments such as reefs and sea caves

Selecting Your Drone

Assuming you’ve already done some research on the drones available today you will already know that there are dozens, if not hundreds of drones to choose from. Some have better battery lives, some are more rugged and endurable, and others have better onboard cameras.

This doesn’t even take into consideration the effectiveness of the onboard GPS, how easy it is to use the navigation system, the UAV’s weight, and the weight that it can carry.

At the end of the day, your choice of drone will depend entirely on your own preferences and what type of drone business opportunity you plan to focus on. We’re happy to help you find the perfect drone so keep exploring the site!

Note: The one thing that every drone entrepreneur should do before launching their drone business is to visit KnowBeforeYouFly.org. Here you will find everything you need to know about using UAV’s in the US – whether it’s for recreational or commercial purposes!

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