Congrats! Now that you are a licensed drone pilot you can start earning money, and here are 5 ways to get started.
In order to monetize from your drone, you must become licensed through the FAA, or it could result in future penalties and fines. Businesses that want to use drone footage, will have to go through someone is who licensed which makes you an in demand person! You can use your drone to make some passive income or even turn it into a full-time business!
#1 Sell Stock Video Footage
I use BlackBox Global and it’s a great resource to make some passive income! All types of videos sell as stock footage but drone footage sells VERY well. I started uploading some old footage that I had sitting around, and out of the 17 Clips I uploaded, 3 have sold in the last 3 months! The payouts can range anywhere from $15 to up $200 per clip! It is free to sign up for BlackBox Global, and once your clips are uploaded allow the payouts to roll in passively.
There are other sites such as Shutterstock, Adobe, Getty, iStock and many more. Be sure to research each one before signing up!
#2 Work with Real Estate Agents
Connect with local realtors to take photos for their properties, as aerial photography and videography is in high demand for the real estate market. A great way to get into the industry is to offer a complimentary session so they can see the value in using drone images for their brand.
#3 Start a Niche Focused Business
Find a niche and offer your photo + video services to people and businesses looking for content in that niche. For example I started @drinksafterdrone which specializes in taking images for Wineries here in CA. Once you start to build a clientele, you can position yourself as the drone expert in that field! You'll want to look into becoming insured, and registering your business as an LLC if you plan on doing this full-time. Other niches for example: weddings, hotels, environmental, church, schools, real estate, etc…
#4 Contract with Videographers and Other Businesses
Since you have to be licensed to shoot and use drone footage in a commercial manner, most videographers would prefer to contract a drone operator out instead of going through the process themselves! One way to get your footage out there for people to see is through YouTube, and I've actually had multiple inquiries through YouTube asking to purchase footage. You will want to research contracts and possibly consult with a lawyer in order to protect your intellectual property but it's worth it if you can sell clips for a good rate. I've had documentarians, local businesses and tourism companies reach out from social media alone!
#5 Selling Prints
I sell prints through my website host WIX but there are lots of other providers such as Pixieset + Pic-Time. If you are interested in Pic-Time I have 1 month free code (USE CODE: MJ56US) ! I use Pic-Time for my portrait photography as well. Selling prints is a great way to passively make income, especially if you are using a third party company to handle all the order processing, printing and shipping!
Let me know if this was helpful, and I would love to know how you are making money with your drone!
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