The first step of beginning the business building process is doing your research. Your research should analyze trends, examine current market demand, and the potential for profitability.
That being said, we can tell you that short-form video content is crushing it on Tiktok, Instagram, or YouTube. People love video, whether it's a B2B market like real estate and construction or a B2C market like weddings and events. You can leverage the enormous demand for video content by starting a drone business!
What is a Drone Business?
If you've ever come across those awesome cinematic videos online showcasing nature from an aerial video, weddings shot from above while slowly zooming in on the bride and groom, or those risky stunts captured from a birds-eye view, those were all likely done using drones!
Drone businesses provide aerial photography and videography services using - well, you guessed it, a drone!
You might be a photographer looking to add to your services. Or you may have an eye for shooting videos or are excited by the idea of flying a drone to capture special moments. Read on to learn how to start a drone business with our step-by-step business plan!
How to Start a Drone Business?
A well-researched and laid out business plan acts as a blueprint that you can follow as a guideline to launching and scaling your business, pivoting as your business needs change. Below is a business plan covering the most crucial and foundational steps to starting a drone business!
Drone Business Plan
As part of our drone business plan, we'll cover the legal basics, licensing, equipment, costs, and marketing. This blog will give you everything you need to start your own drone business and capture beautiful arial videos and photography.
Forming a Legal Entity
Legally structuring your drone business should be the first official step in getting your venture launched. When starting your company, there are a few selections to choose from, including choosing to register as a sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation.
For taxes, you will want to consult an accountant after you've registered your business to ensure that you're compliant by law and to leverage the most efficient structure. If you're located in the USA, you will need to apply for an EIN, a simple and free process.
As flying drones can pose a safety risk, business insurance is crucial. Business insurance covers your costs if your drone business causes material damage or harm to one of your clients or a passerby. Take your time researching business insurance plans and consider where you'll be flying your drone. You don't want to be stuck with a bill by accidentally damaging someone's home or business(if you'll be filming in nature, there's a lower risk you'll harm someone by accidentally crashing your drone, as opposed to a city with many pedestrians).
In most states, you'll need a license to fly a drone for commercial uses. The license will cost you upwards of $500 depending on your state, and as part of the licensing process, you'll need to pass a simple online test to ensure adequate knowledge.
Your drone license will determine the drone's weight you can fly, where you can fly the drone and the distance to people. While the license may be cumbersome, it will save you from heavy fines and potentially losing your drone in the future. Additionally, the costs will be covered, and you'll get a return on your investment with just a few customers.
In terms of physical supplies, you'll need a drone. Before purchasing your drone, it's a good idea to hone in on your target market and decide whether you want to focus on aerial photography or videography (or both!) since the costs can vary depending on the drone's features.
Aside from the drone, you'll need to invest in a simple yet professional website to which you will be directing your potential clients. You'll need to cover your packages, services and provide samples of your work on your website. This does not have to be overcomplicated. 1-3 examples of your work in different environments are more than enough to build traction! It's a good idea to take time to build up your portfolio and skillset before launching your website.
You'll also want to think about protecting your drone with a case, transportation options like a backpack, and any other accessories you may need.
How Much does it Cost to Start a Drone Business?
When it comes to starting a business, most people like to choose the option with the least start-up capital involved. Although this is not a bad idea, you'll be competing against a wider pool of entrepreneurs due to the lower barriers to entry.
For this reason, the costs associated with starting a drone business can vary. Drones can range from just a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. It may be best to start with a cheaper option, become an expert at providing incredible footage and marketing yourself, and then upgrade your equipment.
How Much Can you Charge your Customers?
When it comes to deciding how to price your packages, the rule of thumb is based on local market rates. You may consider offering your services for a free or discounted rate to build a solid foundation when building your portfolio.
However, if there is little competition in your town - you may be able to charge premium prices right away.
Consider offering discounts or bundles for those clients who need both video and photos, as well as multiple event discounts. For example, if you're filming a wedding, offer a discounted price if the client purchases a reception aerial photoshoot!
How to Market your Drone Business?
Marketing your photography and drone business is arguable the most straightforward part of the process. Firstly, you need to identify your target market. Here are a few options to choose from:
- Local government
- Real estate
- Real estate agents
- And more!
After honing in on your audience, you'll need to put yourself in their shoes and advertise on forums, websites, or social media networks that they tend to use. For example, if you choose to be an aerial wedding photographer, consider advertising in your local region's business magazine.
Starting a drone business is an exciting opportunity for you to unleash your creativity while making profits. By following our carefully thought-out business plan, you'll be sure to build a booming drone business and client base by the time summer rolls around!