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Starting Drone Aerial Photography Business – Profitable Business Plan

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Drone aerial photography business is very profitable in the USA and it can be started with this simple business plan

Businesses nowadays overcome the decline stage by introducing or developing the existing product with the inclusion of technology. Apart from this, the survival of a business is decided by the satisfaction level of the customers on usage or experience. Coming to photography, aerial photography is not a new concept to the market. People have been productively using aerial photography for various purposes since 16thcentury. Having the core purpose same, the equipment that photographs is alone showing a rapid change in the recent days. In that line, drones have found a promising place. Now, this is what you will be using for your business.

What are drones?

Understanding a business is extremely important to execute it in the best way. Execution of any business requires a lot of backend work, especially clearly understanding the product or service and the demand for the same. Drones are machines with photographic abilities which is operated by a remote. Being an unmanned machine, drones allow the user to click photographs of various impossible locations. On the bottom line, drones can be understood as machines that work aerially to click pictures.

Demand for aerial photography

Demand forecast is a mandatory activity to be carried out by any firm wishing to start a business. The condition becomes serious if the service offered is a bit rare and is used by only a particular segment. On studying the demand and possible areas where drones can be used, the following are found.

  • Industrial inspection
  • Real estate Aerial Photography
  • Agriculture
  • Insurance
  • Government

All these together will give you a rough estimate of how much you can expect from your business. a constant follow- up of these segments is required to induce demand in places where it is found less. Also, this tracing will help you to know where exactly your marketing efforts should be made. On the whole, demand forecast does play a major role in establishing your business in the most lucrative way.

Business Setup costs

In an aerial photography business, the equipment used to capture images can only be first thought in the segment of business. Setup costs greatly vary from each business with the purchase of drones with varied features. Highly specialised drones will undoubtedly demand a high investment. Below listed are some of the drone models to be considered during investment decisions.

  • DJI Inspire 1
  • Yuneec Q500 Typhoon
  • DJI Phantom 4
  • DJI Inspire 1 Pro
  • Blade Chroma
  • DJI S900
  • Walkera QR X800
  • Yuneec Breeze
  • Parrot Bepop

The models listed, have their own specifications in terms of weight, flight time, prices, special function, battery and controller type. It is you who should decide on the best one for your business depending on the demand forecast and the investment available.

Once you have planned for drones, other elements of the setup can be easily planned. They might involve an office, workers, basic office stationery, cabins etc.

Points to remember when purchasing a drone

Ease of flight

Drones can be broadly classified into simple and complex drones. Simple drones are light in weight and is extremely easy to use. This becomes an added advantage if you are a new user or have less knowledge in operating drones. Simple drones will have basic buttons with less operating confusions. But, there comes a problem with stability of these drones in air. They might move in undesirable directions at times of hard wind. In such a case, a complex drone is advisable. The conclusion of this part is to wisely choose the type of drone depending on your abilities to operate it.

Functions or performance

Functions should be considered to serve all the chosen market segments. Each customer will have a different purpose of the aerial photograph and the drone which you will be using should be complementing the same. Restrictions in functions will not enable you to provide your service to your customers as demanded. Also, the factor that the drone is unmanned makes it necessary to have auto-pilot mode in it. Several other similar modes will be required to prevent your drones from crashing at the first very operation.

Camera

Here comes the most important part of the segment. You have to consider all the above to provide a top-class service to your customer, which is nothing but the photographs of high quality. These photographs can be produced at a higher quality only if the camera’s specifications or features are great. There is something called a gimbal system which should be present in a camera for producing high quality pictures. The purpose of this gimbal system is to produce pictures without the blur caused as a result of the wind or poor operation of the drone.

Battery life

Battery is important in all the devices and it matters more in drones considering the purpose of the machine. Imagine, a drone flying just stops half the way due to insufficient battery. In such a case, you will be at loss. Thus, it is mandatory for you to check for a highly lasting battery. Also, try buying drones which has two battery set- up. This can double up the flight time and reduce the work of charging.

Software requirement for the drone business

Firstly, think about organising the information or elements in your business in a systematic way. Various software programs are available to achieve this. Flight management is important to avoid crashes and to plan things at a lower cost. This type of management serves you in a way by allowing you to tackle uncertainties in the business. There are two popular software programs bringing all the listed benefits. They are,

  • Hover
  • Skyward

These two software programs are beneficial to you in the following ways.

  • There is database of the services of your business. Flight log is maintained and this helps you to track the progress you are making.
  • Crashes can be prevented only if you are informed of the weather changes. This software keeps you updated with the Real-time weather.
  • It is important to know the geographical restrictions laid in the business. During flight, the software program indicates you if you are operating in a legal location.
  • For better performance, fly maps have been introduced by these programs. While operating you can follow the routes for an extremely appreciable outcome.

After operation, and capturing the pictures there comes the need to store these images in appropriate and safe locations. You can use Dropbox or Google drive to store these files in securely. The next stage is to edit the image or video. You have two options here too. You can either use GoPro studio or Adobe Premiere to bring the image or video with the best effects. With this, your job is all done and set to be delivered to your customer.

Pricing your service

As a photographer, you will be working alone or may be one or two assistants to help you. I mean to tell that the business is merely not labour oriented. It is your focus or your efforts which will create a picture in the end. Thus, there is only the drone’s price to be taken into consideration before fixing the price. Your price may involve the worth or value of your picture. For example, as an entrant into the market you will have to fix less prices. Only then customers will attempt to try your service. On a contrary, your competitor being an established aerial photographer will price it high. This is because, he or she has already found a place in the market and the customers are ready to afford such an amount due to the quality at which it is delivered.

Pricing decisions can be made based on three different criteria.

  • Hourly basis
  • Day basis
  • Session basis

On an average, you can charge $200 per hour. Prices may vary depending on the location and angles the picture is demanded.

Licensing the drone aerial photography business

Undoubtedly this business also requires a license to operate. Though we call you all as operators or photographers, you are technically termed as pilots. Anybody working in the aeronautical stream as an operator will be called as a pilot. As pilots, you will need a license to carry out the business. The license is to check the aeronautical knowledge you possess. It is an examination and it costs $150 to appear for it. The drone pilot certificate is obtained from FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).

Two things are necessary in a drone business,

  • Drone registration
  • Drone pilot license

Drone registration can be done in the FAA website and costs around $5 per drone and the registration is valid for 3 years. Pilot license is valid for 2 years and it has to be renewed after expiry for continuous operation. The applications are available in the website under UAS category. The examination focuses on the following areas,

  • Emergency procedures
  • Airspace classifications
  • Regulations and limitation of flight
  • Aviation weather sources

Conclusion

Having said all these, I personally feel that the business holds a lot of responsibilities. Safety and regulations are to be seriously handled while running this business. All you can do to stand number one in the market is, by improvising the quality and being precise.

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