How to Market a Drone Business – 5 Essential Tips

Increased commercial use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), also known as drones, presents many exciting business opportunities. Drones are being used in construction, farming, security and many other business sectors. There are also opportunities for working as a commercial photographer using a UAS. There is growing demand for drone pilots with approval to fly commercially, but it's becoming a competitive industry. If you want to make money with a drone, marketing is key to success.

Increased commercial use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), also known as drones, presents many exciting business opportunities. Drones are being used in construction, farming, security and many other business sectors. There are also opportunities for working as a commercial photographer using a UAS. There is growing demand for drone pilots with approval to fly commercially, but it's becoming a competitive industry. If you want to make money with a drone, marketing is key to success.


1) Get the foundations right.

Anyone flying a UAS for commercial purposes in the US must do so under the Small UAS rule, commonly referred to as "Part 107." Obtaining the necessary certificate involves taking a test at a Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) approved Knowledge Testing Center. Flying a drone for commercial work without the necessary qualification can have serious consequences, so don't promote your services until you have passed. Government regulation of drone pilots is likely to increase over coming years, so make sure you keep up with changes in the law to protect the reputation of your business. If you are new to drones start practicing with a low cost drone. 

2) Don't expect work to come to you.

Working as a commercial drone pilot is an exciting way to make money, but it's not an easy life. Many potential customers need to be convinced of the benefits of using a UAS. Demonstrating a drone's abilities by showing examples of images a drone can capture from the air is a great sales pitch, but costs and safety factors can be potential barriers.

You must be prepared to be proactive and overcome objections to make money from a drone business. If you're not a natural salesperson, consider taking some sales training. Once you do start to pick up work, you need to maintain sales and marketing efforts to keep assignments coming in.

3) Showcase your work with a website.

All businesses need a website in the digital age, and it's a great tool for showcasing aerial photographs and video footage for a drone operator. Potential customers are very likely to search for your company online before dealing with you, and some will look elsewhere if they can't find a web presence. A simple website giving your contact information, an overview of the company and some samples of your work is sufficient when you're starting out. If you have ambitions to become a major player in the drone industry, you'll need a corporate website with impressive imagery and examples of projects you've worked on.

4) Network for growth.

Digital marketing is a great tool for a drone business, but traditional methods of finding customers can also be very effective. Make contact with local businesses with a potential need for aerial photographs. Examples include real estate agents, construction companies and insurance businesses. Join local business networking groups and get to understand the market in your local area. Making contact with other commercial UAS operators can lead to work, as some projects require more than one pilot. Building personal relationships is a great way to market a drone business over the long term.

5) Recognize that marketing is as important as flying.

Spending time flying UAS may be your passion, but you won't make a living from it unless you spend time marketing and developing your business. As your enterprise grows you can hire people to do this for you, but some aspects of marketing will still require a hands-on approach. If you spend all of your time flying your aircraft, bookings will eventually dry up.

The need for commercial drone pilots is growing, but competition for work is high. If you want to make a living in this exciting industry, persistent marketing reaps rewards.
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