Author Topic: Making Money With A Drone?  (Read 2753 times)

precrime3

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Making Money With A Drone?
« on: January 23, 2017, 11:00:27 AM »
I'm going to acquire a DJI Mavic Pro as soon as budget allows, and I've been seeing information about aerial surveillance, roof inspection, and real estate photos where you could make money by using a drone. Does anyone have any experience doing this?

Syonyk

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Re: Making Money With A Drone?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2017, 11:35:42 AM »
Do you have your pilots license? The remote operator certification is pretty easy to add.

If you don't, the process consists pretty much of getting your pilots license.

You'll need that to legally do commercial work with a remote vehicle.

precrime3

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Re: Making Money With A Drone?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2017, 12:47:35 PM »
Do you have your pilots license? The remote operator certification is pretty easy to add.

If you don't, the process consists pretty much of getting your pilots license.

You'll need that to legally do commercial work with a remote vehicle.

I will get my FAA licensing and what not out of the way once I get my drone. But how do you advertise this? "Roof inspection"? Is this like a viable side hustle?

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Making Money With A Drone?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2017, 12:57:33 PM »
Do you have your pilots license? The remote operator certification is pretty easy to add.

If you don't, the process consists pretty much of getting your pilots license.

You'll need that to legally do commercial work with a remote vehicle.

I will get my FAA licensing and what not out of the way once I get my drone. But how do you advertise this? "Roof inspection"? Is this like a viable side hustle?

I think you're underestimating "FAA licensing and what not." The way the rules are written, it's pretty much a requirement to be an actual pilot of real aircraft in order to do commercial drone work. Have you read the Part 107 rules? I know people who have failed the test. I work in video production, and it's a huge hurdle.

After that, it's just a matter of building the right client base. Have you talked to anyone in roofing and/or insurance to determine the viability of that kind of work?

Syonyk

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Re: Making Money With A Drone?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2017, 01:01:02 PM »
It's several thousand dollars to get a license, though I'm not sure what exactly it looks like from nothing to a remote operator license.

Seems expensive as a side gig. I'm planning on doing something along those lines, but I've already got the pilots licensed part taken care of.

Basically, the FAA wants actual pilots flying the things, and has written the rules as such.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 01:16:17 PM by Syonyk »

precrime3

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Re: Making Money With A Drone?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2017, 08:20:12 PM »
Do you have your pilots license? The remote operator certification is pretty easy to add.

If you don't, the process consists pretty much of getting your pilots license.

You'll need that to legally do commercial work with a remote vehicle.

I will get my FAA licensing and what not out of the way once I get my drone. But how do you advertise this? "Roof inspection"? Is this like a viable side hustle?

I think you're underestimating "FAA licensing and what not." The way the rules are written, it's pretty much a requirement to be an actual pilot of real aircraft in order to do commercial drone work. Have you read the Part 107 rules? I know people who have failed the test. I work in video production, and it's a huge hurdle.

After that, it's just a matter of building the right client base. Have you talked to anyone in roofing and/or insurance to determine the viability of that kind of work?

You right, I REALLY underestimated them. Wow okay. Huh. So do these same requirements apply for personal use? As I would love the drone, especially when shooting cool aerial shots when I travel.

EDIT: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-get-drone-license-to-make-money-faq/

Is this now incorrect or? It seems it's just a test and then $150 fee.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 08:22:56 PM by precrime3 »

Syonyk

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Re: Making Money With A Drone?
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2017, 09:34:50 PM »
Hm, ok.  That's changed a bit since I last looked, I think.

Basically, you have to pass the written test, which is the $150.  That's a bit more in depth than you might expect, though.

If you've already got your license and are current, it's a free add-on, pretty much.

So not quite as bad as I'd thought it was.  Still, not trivial.

Personal use, pretty much, you just need to register it (as far as I know, I'm not actively operating unmanned vehicles so don't use me as a reference here).  Commercial use is where the FAA cares.

I believe you also need a handheld aviation radio, or at the very least should have one to monitor local traffic.

https://www.faa.gov/uas/faqs/ has a bunch of information.

https://www.faa.gov/uas/getting_started/fly_for_work_business/

You'd need waivers to fly "over people," and given the FAA's approach to regulation, if you're flying over a building, you're probably flying "over people" by their standards.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2017, 09:37:39 PM by Syonyk »

precrime3

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Re: Making Money With A Drone?
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2017, 05:25:23 AM »
No worries, I'm pretty good at studying and passing tests lol. But okay, glad to see this might be feasible after all. And thanks for the info on the waivers and stuff.

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Making Money With A Drone?
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2017, 06:10:28 AM »

You right, I REALLY underestimated them. Wow okay. Huh. So do these same requirements apply for personal use? As I would love the drone, especially when shooting cool aerial shots when I travel.

EDIT: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-get-drone-license-to-make-money-faq/

Is this now incorrect or? It seems it's just a test and then $150 fee.

You still need the 107 waiver for flying at night, over people or over 400 feet (and other things), but those wouldn't necessarily be problematic for roof inspections. This is a little bit different than the last iteration I'm familiar with, but I'd imagine the test is still very comprehensive/difficult.

MaxP0wer

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Re: Making Money With A Drone?
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2017, 07:41:38 AM »
It is not as complicated as people are making it seem.  You study, pay your fee, you pass the test.  Follow the regulations and don't fly near airports.  I tell ya, everyone loves to make things sound so difficult that the person ends up doubting their decision.

Fishindude

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Re: Making Money With A Drone?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2017, 07:55:51 AM »
Know what you are getting into regarding risk and insurance.
Our insurance company very clearly informed us that we do not have any coverage for drone use on our construction projects, and that if we hired a drone operator to photograph projects, they want to see adequate insurance coverage beforehand. 

There is real fear of drones in the insurance industry, thinking they could do some serious damage that could lead to a catastrophic claim.  Imagine the cost of a claim flying a drone into a transformer or power lines that resulted in shutting down power and production at a manufacturing plant?


Syonyk

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Re: Making Money With A Drone?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2017, 09:36:35 AM »
^^

There is money to be made there, but the cost of startup would seem to imply that for someone who was saving up for such a device, they may not have the funds to handle insurance and other things that matter for actually getting work.

It's still a very new, reasonably uncertain area to play in - so there is certainly money to be made, but if the FAA interprets "over people" like they define "populated areas," you simply can't fly one over a city without a waiver.

I'm considering playing around with it for near-IR crop analysis, but I'd be doing fixed wing work over farm fields in a very rural area, so a lot of that doesn't apply to what I want to do.

J Boogie

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Re: Making Money With A Drone?
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2017, 12:57:13 PM »
Legal hurdles aside, I think drones merely complement existing/established businesses rather than act as their central service.

Example - Video production companies, Home inspectors, agricultural inspection. 

Starting a business because you have a fun new toy might just be the tail wagging the dog.

If any of aerial-image related career appeals to you however, don't let me stop you.  Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.