What is the Most Profitable Drone Business? A Guide to Getting Started

what is the most profitable drone business

The most profitable and significant business in the Drone Industry is a company called DJI. DJI, also known as SZ DJI Technology Co., Ltd. or Shenzhen DJI Sciences and Technologies Ltd., is a Chinese technology company that manufactures consumer and commercial Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs/drones) for aerial photography and videography. 

If you have an unmanned aerial vehicle and are considering entering the drone business, you may be more interested in how and where you can build your most profitable drone business. 

Then read on. 

This article was written for you.

Understanding The Drone Business

Though filled with hype (see our article on The Problem With The Drone Services Industry), we believe the drone business is an exciting venture. 

Drones have become increasingly popular in recent years, and their commercial use has opened up many business opportunities. The drone services market has grown exponentially and is expected to continue. Part of the hype is the unrealistic high estimates of the market size. We won’t speculate but will say that based on our experience with other players in the business, we see many attractive ways to be successful and build profitable drone businesses.

Operating a drone business requires a combination of technical skills and business acumen. 

It would help if you had a good understanding of drones and their capabilities and knowledge of the market and its potential. There are many factors to consider when starting a drone business, such as drone laws, other regulations, insurance, and equipment costs.

One of the most significant advantages of a drone business is the range of services that can be offered. Drones can be used for aerial photography, videography, surveying, mapping, inspections, and delivery services. The possibilities are endless, and the demand for these services is growing.

However, it is essential to note that the drone business is highly competitive, and success requires a unique selling proposition and a robust marketing strategy. You must also have excellent customer service skills and be willing to invest time and effort to build relationships with your clients.

Types of Profitable Drone Services

When it comes to drone services, a variety of profitable options are available. 

Here are some of the most popular drone business ideas that we recommend you consider when creating your drone service:

Aerial Photography and Videography

One of the most popular and profitable drone services is aerial photography and videography. With the ability to capture stunning aerial footage, drones are becoming increasingly popular in photography and videography. Drone footage and video footage are valuable in various industries, including real estate, event photography, and commercial photography. Becoming a drone photographer and building a drone photography business would be natural if you are an excellent outdoor photographer.

Mapping and Surveying

Drones are also helpful for mapping and aerial surveying. With the ability to capture detailed aerial images, drones can create accurate maps and 3D models. This can be useful in various industries, including construction mapping, agriculture, and search and rescue.

Real Estate Photography, Videography, and Building Services

Real estate photography and videography are other profitable drone services. With the ability to capture stunning aerial footage, drones can create high-quality images and videos of properties. You can also offer roof inspections by adding special drone sensors and learning about thermal imaging. You can also provide building inspection as a service. These varied services can be helpful for real estate agents, property developers, homeowners, and industrial building managers.

Security Surveillance

Drones can also be used for security surveillance. With the ability to capture high-quality aerial footage, drones can monitor large areas and provide real-time surveillance. Construction, event management, and security are among the many industries that value drone surveillance services.

Delivery Services

Drones can also be used for delivery services. With the ability to fly quickly and efficiently, drones can deliver packages and goods to customers. This can be useful for various industries, including retail and e-commerce.

Overall, there are a variety of profitable drone services available. These are a small sampling of the opportunities. We highly recommend thinking about combining your passion with a drone and considering whether your drone business idea provides an opportunity for a new drone service business to potential customers.

Essential Equipment for Drone Business
Essential Equipment for Drone Business

Essential Equipment for Drone Business

When starting a profitable drone business, you must have the right equipment to ensure that you can deliver high-quality services to your clients. Here are some essential gear you need to start your drone business.

Professional Drones

UAVs are the backbone of any drone business. You need them to carry out your operations. And it would be best if you chose a professional drone. When choosing your professional drone, you must consider technical factors such as flight time, range, payload capacity, and stability. It would help if you also considered durability, flexibility, precision, reliability, supportability, and reasonableness of lifecycle costs, factors that will affect your drone business profitability and success. Here you will find: Our recommend Top Professional Drones for Commercial UAV Pilots in 2023.


The camera is another essential piece of drone equipment for your drone business. It would help if you chose a camera that can capture high-quality images and videos. Some drones with cameras can be used for professional services. Other professional drones require a separate camera purchase. These cameras have advanced features such as 4K resolution, high ISO range, and high dynamic range.

Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging is a technology that allows you to capture images of objects based on their thermal energy. This technology is helpful in various industries, such as construction, agriculture, and energy. A thermal imaging camera can help with building inspections, detect heat loss, identify crop stress, perform roof inspections, and locate pipeline leaks.


GPS is essential drone equipment. It helps you navigate your drone and track its location. GPS lets you set up waypoints and automate your drone’s flight path. Most drones have an integrated GPS. However, professionals sometimes find it helpful to utilize a more accurate version of GPS, the Real-Time Kinematic (RTK). RTK technology significantly improves the GPS accuracy expected from drone surveying results, which can be gathered much more efficiently than other methods.


In addition to the essential equipment, there are several accessories that you need to have in your drone business. These include extra batteries, propellers, memory cards, and a carrying case. If you attach a sensor to your drone, you will likely need a gimbal. These accessories will help you operate your drone efficiently and ensure you can deliver quality services to your clients.

Can someone who does not have a commercial drone license fly the sUAS?
Can someone who does not have a commercial drone license fly the sUAS?

Becoming a Professional Drone Pilot

Becoming a commercial drone pilot is necessary to build your profitable drone business. 

To provide commercial drone services, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires a commercial drone pilot, commonly called a certified drone operator, to be in charge of drone flights. Regulators in other parts of the world need an equivalent commercial drone pilot license or certification.

Here are some steps to becoming a professional drone pilot:

We refer you to USA Drone Laws for more detailed instructions on becoming a drone pilot in the USA.

You can visit the Drone Laws website for all other countries and find your specific country.

Step 1: Get Your FAA Part 107 Certification or other equivalent

To become a professional drone pilot, you must obtain your FAA Part 107 certification or equivalent from your specific country. This certification allows you to fly drones commercially and is required by law. You can usually prepare for the certification exam by taking an online course or studying the regulations. The FAA Pilots Handbook is a great place to start for aspiring drone pilots (even if you are not in the USA).

Step 2: Get the Right Equipment

To become a professional drone pilot, you must invest in the right equipment. This includes a professional drone, a camera, and other accessories. It’s important to choose equipment that meets your professional needs and budget. Our Viper Drone website provides many reviews and resources on professional unmanned aerial system options.

Step 3: Build Your Skills

As a professional drone pilot, you must have the skills to fly your drone safely and capture high-quality footage. You can build your skills by regularly practicing or participating in aerial photography and videography courses. Staying up-to-date with the latest drone technology and regulations is also essential. We recommend you go here: Drone Laws as a starting point for keeping up with the latest regulations.

Step 4: Build Your Portfolio

It would help if you had a strong portfolio of your work to show your potential client. This portfolio should include high-quality drone photos and videos that showcase your skills and experience. You can build your portfolio by offering your services to friends and family, participating in drone photography contests, and creating projects.

Step 5: Join a Drone Program

Joining a drone program can help you build your skills, network with other drone pilots, and find new clients. Many drone programs are available, including those offered by manufacturers, photography schools, and professional organizations.

Step 6: Incorporate your drone company

While it may not be necessary initially, we highly recommend drone service businesses incorporate a drone company. Drone service businesses carry some inherent risk, and the liability protection of a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation (C or S Corp) will be invaluable should something unforeseen happen.

Legal and Insurance Aspects of A Profitable Drone Business
Legal and Insurance Aspects of A Profitable Drone Business

When starting a drone business, it is essential to consider the legal and insurance aspects of your operations. This will help you avoid legal issues and protect your business from financial loss.

Drone Regulations

The FAA regulates the use of drones for commercial purposes in the USA. In your country, there is a similar regulator. As a drone business owner, it is critical to comply with all drone regulations to avoid legal issues. This includes registering your drone, obtaining a remote pilot certificate, and following all airspace restrictions.

Law Enforcement

Drone businesses must also be aware of local and state laws related to drone usage. Some states have laws that prohibit certain types of drone usage or require drone operators to obtain additional permits. Researching and complying with all relevant laws is essential to avoid legal issues.


Drone businesses should also consider obtaining insurance to protect themselves from financial loss. Several insurance policies are available, including liability insurance and hull insurance. Liability insurance covers damages or injuries caused by the drone, while hull insurance covers damage to the drone itself. Researching and obtaining the appropriate insurance coverage for your business is essential.

We recommend choosing a reputable insurance company with experience in drone insurance. We are happy to provide you with a recommendation if you email us.

In addition to obtaining insurance, it is also essential to follow best practices for drone usage to minimize the risk of accidents or damages. This includes sending written or verbal notices to surrounding property owners, analyzing the drone for potential data security issues, and wearing proper safety attire. 

We recommend following rigorous drone pre-flight checklist and post-flight checklist procedures. We have provided free versions of the checklists we use online at those links. In our checklists, you will find that we recommend rigorous drone inspection and regular drone repair and maintenance practices for all equipment you use.

Competition in the Drone Market

The drone market is a rapidly growing industry with a lot of competition. As more and more people recognize the potential of drones, the market has become increasingly crowded, with various companies vying for a share of the sales.

Some of the most prominent players in the drone market include UAV suppliers DJI, Parrot, AeroVironment Inc., and Yuneec. DJI is currently the leader in the drone market, with a market share of over 70%. This dominance is primarily driven by their strength in the consumer drone sector. However, many other strong competitors have unique selling points in the commercial or professional space.

In addition to these big players, many smaller companies and startups are entering the market. These companies often focus on niche areas, such as agricultural drones or drones for search and rescue operations. While they may not have the same level of brand recognition as the larger companies, they can still be successful by targeting specific applications and needs.

Overall, the competition in the drone market is fierce, but there is still plenty of room for new players to enter the market. As long as companies are willing to invest in innovation and stay focused on meeting emerging needs, there is potential for significant sales and growth in the years to come.

agriculture drone services

Utilizing Drones for Agriculture

Drones have revolutionized the way we approach agriculture. Their advanced capabilities can help farmers increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve crop health. Here are some ways we can utilize drones for agriculture:

Mapping and Surveying

Drones equipped with GPS can produce three-dimensional cartographic visuals, which can help farmers map their land more accurately. This can cut the time and costs associated with traditional mapping methods. Land surveyors can use drones to collect data from the air, which is much faster and more efficient than mapping an area on foot.

Crop Health Monitoring

Drones can be equipped with cameras and sensors to detect crop health issues such as nutrient deficiencies, pest infestations, and diseases. This can help farmers address these issues before they become too severe, saving them money and increasing their yields.

Fertilizer and Pesticide Application

The efficient application of fertilizers and pesticides is a persistent challenge for any grower. Drones can help precisely deliver these inputs, reducing waste and saving farmers money. The Agras line of spraying drones from DJI can help deliver fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, seeds, and desiccants with precision.

Crop Dusting

Crop dusting is applying pesticides or fertilizers to crops from the air. This can be done with traditional airplanes, but drones are becoming an increasingly popular alternative. 

Real Estate Drone Photography and Videography
Real Estate Drone Photography and Videography

Drone Use in Real Estate

Drones have revolutionized the way real estate photography and videography are done. With drones, we can capture stunning aerial footage of properties that were previously impossible to get. This has made drones indispensable for real estate agents, property developers, and architects.

One of the most significant advantages of using drones in real estate is that they allow you to capture high-quality aerial footage of properties. This footage can be used to create stunning property videos, 3D models, and virtual tours. By providing potential clients with a more immersive and detailed view of a property, you can help them make more informed decisions about whether or not to purchase a property.

In addition to providing better visual representations of properties, drones save time and money. Traditional real estate photography and videography methods often require expensive equipment and lengthy setup times. With drones, you can quickly and easily capture high-quality drone footage, saving time and money.

Another advantage of using drones in real estate is that they allow you to capture footage from unique angles and perspectives. This can be particularly useful for showcasing properties with unique features, such as waterfront properties or homes with extensive gardens or pools.

Drones have become an essential tool for anyone in the real estate industry. Providing high-quality aerial footage of properties can help potential buyers make more informed decisions, save time and money, and showcase properties in a way that traditional photography and videography methods cannot.

Drone Services in Construction Industry
Drone Services in the Construction Industry

Drone Services in the Construction Industry

Drones have revolutionized the construction industry by providing an efficient, cost-effective way to inspect, map, and monitor construction projects. As a result, drone services in the construction industry have become one of the more profitable drone businesses in recent years.

Construction Mapping

Drones equipped with high-resolution cameras and sensors can capture detailed images and data of construction sites, which can be used to create accurate 3D maps and models. These maps and models can identify potential issues and optimize the construction process, saving time and money in the long run.

Inspecting Construction Sites

Drones can also inspect construction sites, providing a safe and efficient way to monitor progress and identify potential safety hazards. With drones, construction companies can quickly and easily check hard-to-reach areas like rooftops, bridges, and towers without scaffolding or other expensive equipment.

Monitoring Construction Projects

Drones equipped with thermal cameras and other sensors can monitor construction projects, detecting changes in temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors affecting the construction process. This data can be used to optimize construction schedules and ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget.

One of our clients used drones to monitor the volume of earth being moved on the site more accurately than was previously available.

Drone services in the construction industry have become essential for construction companies looking to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and ensure that projects are completed on time and to the highest quality standards. As a result, the demand for drone services in the construction industry will continue to grow in the coming years.

Drone Photography for Weddings and Events

Drone photography for weddings and events is a highly profitable business idea we recommend exploring in 2023. With a drone, good photographers can capture stunning aerial shots of the event, giving clients a unique perspective they will cherish forever.

Weddings are a particularly lucrative market for drone photography, as couples want to capture every moment of their special day. They also like that unique perspective, which makes it even more memorable. With a drone, you can catch the ceremony, reception, and all the little moments in between from a bird’s eye view.

Drone photography is also perfect for event photography. Whether a corporate event or a music festival, you can capture the entire event from that unique perspective. This type of photography is perfect for creating promotional materials and social media content.

In addition to capturing photos and videos, drones can also create 3D maps of the venue. This is particularly useful for event planners and coordinators who want to understand better the space they are working with.

Drone Services in Search and Rescue

Drone Services in Search and Rescue

Drone services in search and rescue have become increasingly popular over the years due to their efficiency and effectiveness in locating missing persons. We have seen drones used in natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes, where they can quickly assess the damage and find survivors.

One of the significant benefits of using drones in search and rescue is the ability to cover large areas quickly. Drones equipped with high-resolution cameras can capture images and videos of the affected area, which can be analyzed by search and rescue teams to locate missing persons. Additionally, drones can be equipped with thermal imaging cameras to detect body heat, making finding people in low light or difficult-to-reach areas easier.

They can be deployed quickly and easily. Unlike traditional search and rescue methods, drones can be launched within minutes of an emergency, allowing for a rapid response and increasing the chances of finding missing persons.

However, it is important to note that using drones in search and rescue is subject to regulations and restrictions. Drone operators must obtain the necessary permits and licenses to operate in emergencies and follow safety guidelines to ensure their drones do not interfere with ongoing rescue operations.

Drone delivery and Unmanned Cargo System Drone Services
Drone Delivery and Unmanned Cargo System Drone Services

Offering Drone Delivery Services

Drone delivery services are becoming increasingly popular and profitable. Some forecasters expect the drone delivery market to grow at a CAGR of 20.5% from 2021 to 2028. That is a fantastic growth rate if the market unfolds in this manner.

Drone delivery services offer a fast and efficient way to transport goods, especially in areas where traditional delivery methods may not be feasible. For example, drones can deliver medical supplies to remote locations, food to disaster-stricken regions, and packages to customers in crowded cities.

One of the most significant advantages of drone delivery services is their ability to reduce transportation costs. Drones can travel long distances quickly and efficiently without human drivers or vehicles. Companies can save money on fuel, maintenance, and labor costs.

However, offering drone delivery services also comes with its own set of challenges. In addition to following specific regulations, companies must ensure their drones have the necessary technology for safe and accurate deliveries.

Despite these challenges, many companies are already offering limited drone delivery services. Amazon has been experimenting and using drones to deliver to the last mile in some parts of the United States. Zipline has been using drones to deliver medical supplies in remote parts of Africa. And all the major package delivery companies, such as DHL, FedEx, and UPS, have been testing drone delivery services.

Drone delivery services can be a profitable business venture. However, you will be up against some big competitors. It requires careful planning, compliance with regulations, and investment in technology. 

Leading Drone Technology Companies

Regarding the drone industry, several leading manufacturers have established themselves as the go-to for high-quality drones. These companies have a significant market share and continuously innovate to stay ahead of the competition.

Regarding profitability, DJI is undoubtedly the most profitable drone business. They have a wide range of drones that cater to various industries, from agriculture to film and photography. Their products are reliable, easy to use, and have excellent resale value, making them a popular choice for businesses and individuals.

That said, we find many other niche providers that make more sense to consider for commercial drone services. Please visit our Viper Drones site for a better discussion of professional choices.

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