How to Make Money With A Drone: 12 Ways to Make Profit

How to Make Money With A Drone 12 Ways to Make Profit

Most modern owners of drones acquire them primarily for entertainment. For many, buying is the first step to a real hobby. However, modern drones allow you not only to enjoy piloting and aerial photography, but they also offer you the opportunity to turn your hobby into a business.

Today, as drones and their functionality expand, more different ways of making money appear. Of course, in order to use the drone as efficiently as possible, you must have good piloting skills, as well as know and be able to work with a flying camera (or other equipment, depending on the tasks). 

Therefore, if you decide to turn your hobby into business and you are creative enough, your possibilities are endless. But the first thing you need to do is to study the laws in your country about drones. Some countries, such as the U.S, France, U.K., Germany and India, require license to use drones for business purposes. So, before you decide to go into the drone business, study the law in your country. So let’s check out what jobs are currently being offered in the drone industry and how much you can earn with a drone:

Here you can get Drone Training license:

  1. DroneU Pilot Training Academy
  2. ABJ Drone Academy
  3. Drone Pilot Ground School Academy

So How Much Money Can You Make With A Drone?

Being a drone pilot can be a very profitable business. Professional drone pilots can earn from $3,000 to $7,000 per month if they are good at their job. This amount will depend on the job and the type of mission that you will be offered at the start, as well as their frequency. In my opinion, it is difficult to determine the right price. Depending on the type of mission, the quality and the conditions, the price may vary.

Today, many companies employ professional drone pilots who earn between $50,000 and $70,000 a year. Some jobs require various licenses and certificates, while some jobs do not require. In this article we will go through the most common jobs that are offered in this profession and you will see how prices vary. This is a summary of drone jobs that are available today:

12 Ways How To Make Money With a Drone:Earnings:
1. Earn Money With Drone Photography From $170 ~ $650
2. Inspection Jobs Using DronesFrom $450 ~ $1,300
3. Agriculture Jobs: Inspections and MappingFrom $450 ~ $1,300
4. Drones For the Production of Film and Video MaterialFrom $520 ~ $1,700
5. Freelance Drone Pilot From $200~ $500
6. Repair and Resale of Used DronesDepending on the drone
7. Drone Racing Sponsorship​Up to $10,000
8. Aerial Wedding PhotographerFrom $700 ~ $2,000
9. Inspection of Power Lines, Pipelines and Construction​Depending on the complexity
10. Search And Rescue Jobs Using a DroneVoluntary work
11. Drone Delivery BusinessMarket is not yet developed
12. Surveillance and Video MonitoringUp to $60,000 per year

1. Earn Money With Drone Photography

The use of drones in photography is probably one of the oldest areas of application for drones. For this reason, most drones are able to take photos and already have good image quality in their basic configuration. The manufacturers have worked on the models for many years and have constantly developed them further. The result is very good, yet affordable models for a wide range of uses. 

Earn Money With Drone Photography

The area of drone photography offers the lowest entry hurdles and enables you to get started on a relatively small budget. High-quality drone models cost little more than $1,000 and deliver very good image quality. For complex recordings with special cameras, however, more expensive models are required, on which different camera systems can be attached. For beginners, however, the models DJI Mavic Air and DJI Mavic 2 Pro are recommended.

In addition to taking pictures, the pilot can offer additional services such as image processing. This means that you can get more out of an order and you can still work productively on the post-processing of the pictures, even on days with bad weather. Either the very popular software Adobe Photoshop can be used for this, or free programs such as the open source image processing software Gimp. Payment is usually made per picture or per flight hour

Depending on the effort, the pilot should offer accordingly and include the postprocessing in the initial offer. However, it should be possible to choose this as an option and not as a compulsory component, as this can endanger the overall order.

The price of drone images depends on the effort, the flight time required and the customer. Often, pictures that have been commissioned by private individuals may only be used privately. If you want to use the recordings commercially, for example as a real estate agent, for a company presentation or as a marketing agency, you have to commission the pilot as a company and the pilot can charge a higher price.

How much can be earned in Drone Photography:

  • Private shots: 3 aerial photos, travel up to 30km, approx. $170
  • Commercial photos: 4 aerial photos, travel up to 50km, $399
  • Commercial photos: 8 aerial photos, travel up to 100km, $650

The digital post-processing of drone recordings is usually billed on an hourly basis. An hourly rate of $60 can be used as a guideline. These are two of the best drone photography in our opinion.

Best Drone for the Job:


  • Easy entry
  • Established and large platforms available
  • Many potential buyers


  • Sometimes horrendous commissions from platform owners
  • Own works must stand out with millions of pictures
  • The amount achieved cannot be foreseen

2. Inspection Jobs Using Drones

Inspections are usually requested from medium-sized and larger companies, since the drone can be used to quickly and easily determine the condition of a large plant or building. In addition to industrial companies, construction companies also need drones to inspect buildings, construction sections or bridges. 

They like to use them, because the processing time and the costs can be significantly reduced in comparison to a climbing team, which has to be secured in a complex manner, and yet the risk of personal injury remains.

Solar Energy Use of Drones

However, the equipment for inspection using a drone is usually more expensive than that of an ordinary camera drone. If you want to carry out the inspection in confined spaces, the drone must also be protected against collisions. For this reason, specialized drones have been developed. An example of such a drone is the Elios drone from Flyability .

However, these higher costs will be recouped through higher prices for drone flights. The price of a drone deployment on an inspection flight depends, among other things, on the object to be checked. It matters how complicated the approach is and how difficult it is to take the pictures and videos. Another factor is the size of the customer. Large companies can usually charge higher prices than small companies, but their requirements are usually higher.

In addition to the recordings and videos, the pilot can offer other services. Depending on the equipment of the drone, it is possible, for example, to check the insulation of a building using a thermal imager or to identify overheated switchgear in power plants and substations.

How much can be earned in Inspection Jobs:

  • Up to 1 hour inspection flight: $450
  • Up to 2 hours inspection flight: $780
  • Up to 6 hours of inspection flight: $1,300

As a rule, there is no post-processing of the images because the focus is not on aesthetic images.

Best Drone for the Job:


  • Pretty high earnings
  • Large selection of clients
  • Rising demand


  • Expertise may be required
  • Depending on the application, special drones may be required
  • Depending on the application, special software may be required

3. Agriculture Jobs: Inspections and Mapping

Drones are also increasingly used in agriculture. They perform a variety of tasks and can, for example, use special cameras and spectral analysis to record the condition of the plants. An example of this is the Parrot Bluegrass and the Parrot Disco-Pro . Appropriately modified drones also make it possible to spray plants with crop protection agents and to distribute fertilizers or farm animals such as parasitic wasps to combat the European corn borer.

Future Use of Drones in Agriculture

These drones are usually more expensive than ordinary drones because they have been specially developed for these applications and are sold in smaller numbers. Due to the higher acquisition costs, the pilot is in a comfortable situation, since the competition is less than for pure photo drones and he can push through higher prices on the market.

The achievable price depends on the area of ​​the job and whether it is contiguous arable land or widely distributed areas. The prices for drone flights in the agricultural area are in a similar range as industrial inspection flights. 

How much can be earned in Agriculture Jobs:

  • Up to 1 hour flight: $450
  • Up to 2 hours flight: $780
  • Up to 6 hours flight: $1,300

As a rule, there is no post-processing of the images, since here too the focus is not on aesthetic images. Farmers and agribusinesses are interested in improving yields and introducing new technologies, provided that they are relatively inexpensive and can contribute to the achievement of the main goals. 

UAVs in the agricultural complex are used for different purposes: field inspection, cartography, fertilizer spraying, etc. The latter, of course, is only possible if the drone is properly equipped, such as DJI Agras MG-1 , Agras MG- agricultural drones 1S , Agras MG-1P or Agras MG-1P RTK . 

It is unlikely that you will want to specifically buy these models, so it will be easier to use a flying camera to scan agricultural land for the status of fields occupied by certain crops. Special programs like DroneDeploy will help process the data received for the adoption of adequate decisions by the owners of the farm.

Best Drone for the Job:


  • Rising demand
  • A lot of potential for new uses and techniques
  • No license required
  • High earnings


  • Getting started can be more difficult than in other areas
  • Usually expensive software necessary
  • Expensive drones

4. Drones For the Production of Film and Video Material

Drones are also increasingly used in the production of films and video material. They can be used in different areas and are equipped with different hardware depending on the area of ​​application. To get started, the pilot can equip himself with simple but high-quality drones and thus produce videos with a resolution of up to 4k. However, video cameras that can record film-quality images are much heavier and have to be mounted on larger, and therefore more expensive, drones.

Drones For the Production of Film and Video Material

These customers are, for example, small and medium-sized companies for which image films are created, local bands to increase their awareness or marketing agencies which realize orders from customers through the use of drones. 

Larger companies and professional film studios, on the other hand, usually require significantly more complex technical equipment, which is why you shouldn’t be in this area at the beginning. However, once you have gained a foothold in the market, you can also get involved in this area and invest in higher-quality drones beyond the $10,000.

Post-processing of video material is more complex than post-processing of photos and the software required is usually also more expensive. As a result, the pilot can also charge higher prices. In addition, competition in the video material market is smaller because fewer people are familiar with post-processing videos than images. This makes it easier for the pilot to enter the market and gain a foothold faster.

How much can be earned in Filming and Video Material industry:

  • Up to 1 hour flight: $520
  • Up to 2 hours flight: $900
  • Up to 6 hours flight: $1,700

For recordings with higher quality drones for professional film productions, significantly higher prices can be achieved, but the equipment for this is also significantly more expensive. For a professional drone with a corresponding camera, you can quickly spend $20,000 – $30,000. 

The booking is often made on the basis of days, as it is not clear in advance how often a scene has to be rotated again. Offers are negotiated in advance and put together individually for the orders. Post-processing of video material is generally better paid than post-processing of photographs. 

Best Drone for the Job:


  • Pretty high earnings
  • No license required
  • Rising demand


  • Expensive drones required
  • Usually expensive software necessary
  • High investment

5. Freelance Drone Pilot

Although today large companies and government agencies are increasingly creating special units where full-time drone operators work, the market remains a fairly large niche for freelance pilots. If you have your own drone, you can register on the freelancers exchange and offer your services in aerial photography, object inspections or other tasks that match the capabilities of your drone and your skills as a drone operator. For example, you can use the functionality of the PilotHub service or even an ordinary freelance exchange on various websites, where there are already job offers. 

How To Choose Right Drone (UAV) Drone Buying Guide

There is a broad scope of work for freelance pilots, and you need to see what works best for you and whether you have the skills you need. Examples of jobs may be in sport, where a sports company will hire you to capture the most interesting moments of a sporting event and make short video material for publicity purposes. This may be more like an additional income stream than a major business, as you will not always be sure to find the right clients month after month.

Another area of application for making money with drones is real estate photography. Of course, brokers want to stage their properties as well as possible in order to sell them. Ideally before the potential buyer has seen the property on site. So you have good chances to win new customers in this area, also on request and with appropriate references.

How much can be earned in Freelance Pilot job:

  • It varies from $200 to $500 per hour

For this kind of work, you won’t have to invest big money in a drone like we saw in the examples above. You will need a slightly better drone that costs above $1000 and you will be in a good position to complete tasks as freelance pilot.

Best Drone for the Job:


  • Potentially large market
  • Strong demand
  • Varied work


  • A lot of personal initiative necessary, without references difficult to get to customers

6. Repair and Resale of Used Drones

Different type of drones today are becoming extremely popular as a hobby, a sport, a tool for making money, etc. More and more people are investing in the purchase of such devices. Not everyone can afford to buy a new drone, especially if it is equipped with an excellent camera and has a lot of smart features.

But the purchase of an used drone  seems more affordable. Some people begin to specifically engage in the sale of such drones. Often, such a business is combined with services for the repair of apparatuses and the supply of inexpensive spare parts and components.

Repair and Resale of Used Drones

Alternatively, if you have a sufficient level of knowledge and small means, you can buy broken drones from those owners who dont want to spend money and time on repairs. This is reminiscent of the business of people who buy old or crashed cars and make money from selling parts that were in good condition or assembling and repairing cars for other owners.

A similar business with respect to drones looks approximately the same. Broken devices can be disassembled into spare parts or used for repair and restoration, then to sell a working model to those who wish.

How much can be earned by Repairing and selling drones:

  • Price varies by type and model of drone

The advantage with this job is that you do not need any license or company to do this. This may be an additional source of income for you, but you need to know electronics to make this work quality and get customers.


  • No need to own a drone
  • No major investment required
  • No certificate or license required


  • Required technical knowledge
  • Not high earnings

Related Article: 10 Best Drones For Starting a Business

7. Drone Racing Sponsorship

Drone racing today is turning into a popular sport and a source of good income. For example, in 2016, the prize pool of UAV racing in Dubai amounted to 1 million US dollars. Big business has drawn into this sphere, because the races are broadcast on leading sports channels, attracting great attention of spectators and advertising.

Drone Racing Future Sport

As a racer, you can earn from sponsors up to 100 thousand dollars. Of course, this sport requires excellent knowledge of unmanned technology and excellent pilot skills. The organizers of the competition also make certain requirements for the drones themselves, as well as their accessories. Today there is already an international league of pilots-racers, which you can join. In this article you have more about Drone racing: Everything about Drone Racing

So if you decide to be a part in drone racing, it will take a lot of time and effort to sharpen your skills and become a top drone pilot. Also, as in Formula F1, you should also build and modify your own drone here to give yourself an edge over other pilots.

How much can be earned in Drone Racing:

  • Up to $10,000 or more if you have sponsorship

Although this is more intended for younger ages, they have better and faster reflexes than older people. So if you have a son and would like to bring him into this world, feel free to try it because you do not need a big investment.

Best Drone for the Job:


  • very high profits possible if you are a good pilot
  • No major investment required
  • Possibility of sponsorship


  • It takes a very long time to become a good pilot
  • Good knowledge of drones and aerodynamics

8. Aerial Wedding Photographer

Wedding photographers tend to work from the ground. However, with the advent of flying drones, ground-based photographers have gain big competition. This is a very profitable business. And if you specialize in aerial photography of weddings, you know your business well, masterly control the camera and the drone, then this way of earning money can become the main one.

Often drone photographers work together with ordinary wedding photographers, which brings a good income to both sides. If you work alone, then this is also a good option. Make a business card and give it to bridal shops and place an ad (online) so that potential couples can find it and call you.

Aerial Wedding Photographer​ Drone Jobs

As a source of income, video shooting from the air is no less in demand than aerial photography. Be it weddings, large corporate events, concerts, real estate agencies or any other events and organizations, customers really want to see amazing and exciting videos. This is one of the most profitable types of business, and you can even become famous thanks to the videos you created.

How much can be earned in Aerial Wedding Photography:

  • Up to $700 – $2,000 per Wedding

This type of work requires a quality camera, so you need to equip your drone with a really cool camera such as GoPRO. All this will pay off very quickly if you decide on this type of business. This type of work is exclusively for outdoor weddings, where you can capture incredible scenes. If you prove yourself in this business, you will very easily also get new clients through referrals.

Best Drone for the Job:


  • Good profit
  • Very easy to find clients
  • No license required


  • Need to invest in drones and other equipment

9. Inspection of Power Lines, Pipelines and Construction

Basically, such tasks are solved by full-time inspectors and regular pilots. In Russia, as you know, most of the communications (power lines and pipelines) belong to companies with state control. However, there are orders in this area. 

This allows you to save on the work of a whole team of inspectors, as well as reduce risks in the field of labor protection, because a drone with a camera can work there (especially at altitude), where it is extremely difficult and dangerous for a person. Drones are increasingly being used to control the construction of various facilities. So, you can try to use the drone for these purposes.

Drone Use In Energy Sector

While it may be difficult to do this as a full time job, because you will find it difficult to find full-time clients, you can try some smaller companies that need such services. Larger state-owned firms have certainly already invested in the development and monitoring of power lines and have purchased their own drones, so it will be difficult to work with them. More about this topic you have here: Drone Use in Energy Sector

How much can be earned in Inspection of Power Lines and Pipelines:

  • Depending on the complexity of the job

Best Drone for the Job:


  • Good profit


  • Hard to find clients
  • Hardly can become a full time job

10. Search And Rescue Jobs Using a Drone

Drones have been used for search and rescue activities for some time. In fact, drones can quickly fly through the air and thus allow services to make a quick assessment of the situation. Fire departments, mountain rescue workers and rescuers have become accustomed to using drones to help them rescue people in danger.

In the mountains, the emergency services use the drone to find and locate a person. Thus the helicopter can quickly land where the victim is and help the rescuers to rescue him. They are also useful at sea. In fact, drones allow rescuers to monitor swimmers and potential sharks.

Search and Rescue Drone For Saving Lives

It is also possible to equip drones with a thermal camera allowing the emergency service to search for someone in danger at night or on difficult terrain, even during a fire. Maybe in a few years drones can be used to extinguish fires. The Latvian company (Aerones) is currently working on a new drone with a garden hose that can be controlled remotely. I wrote an article for those who want to know more10 Ways Drones Can Help Save Lives .

When environmental disasters occur, help is needed in locating missing people or animals. You can help by directing your drone over the affected area to look for any signs of life. Of course, basically this kind of work is voluntary, and for many it will seem strange to demand money for it

But sometimes search teams attract additional help for a fee. Especially if you really need help finding something or someone specific. The method of earning is probably controversial, but as an option it is quite acceptable.

How much can be earned in Search and rescue missions:

  • Its mostly a voluntary work

Best Drone for the Job:


  • You are doing a humane act
  • You participate in saving lives


  • You need to buy a drone
  • you must have a drone license

11. Drone Delivery Business

When talking about how to make money using drones, we should not leave the drone delivery business. The concept of parcel delivery by drone is gradually becoming a reality all over the world. If the packages could land directly in their garden or land gently on their balcony, this will change the delivery game. Over the past couple of years, various drone testing and package delivery have been done. Therefore, this is one of the ways you can participate in this profitable business.

Future of Drone Delivery Business

In the United Kingdom, it was in 2016 that the online retail giant, Amazon, launched delivery by drone, directly in the garden of a customer who lived near a warehouse. No large-scale deployment has followed, although the “Amazon Prime Air” project still officially exists.

On the other hand, in Africa, the Zipline company has developed the delivery of drugs and medical equipment, particularly to Rwanda, to facilitate the supply of medical centers lost in the bush or in regions difficult to access. 

Delivery of parcels by drones is a relatively new niche in the field of postal deliveries, over which the largest world companies and retailers are puzzling. Delivery by a drone involves the use of an unmanned helicopter – a drone. The container with the package is located at the bottom of the aircraft, or is mounted on top.

One of the first in the field of delivery of drones was the American company Amazon, which began to use copters to transport orders to customers. The advantage of such delivery is in speed and the absence of traffic jams, traffic lights. In addition, this is a great opportunity to reduce the cost of the courier, repair of vehicles, fuel. It would seem that this innovative solution is ideal for working with oversized mail.

How much can be earned in Drone delivery business:

  • Unknown (The market is not yet developed)

The problem with the drone delivery business is that commercial drones are unable to deliver large packages, and have very short flight time, which limits them to make large deliveries. So if you are going to get involved with this type of business in person, my advice is to wait until the technology has developed a bit. Big companies like Amazon are struggling with this concept, so this is not the right time for this business. I wrote about this topic and you can find out more at this link.


  • A lot of companies want this type of delivery


  • The technology has not yet been developed for drone delivery
  • Currently oversized requests that cannot be delivered
  • A very expensive investment

12. Surveillance and Video Monitoring

Since drones are usually equipped with cameras today, they can be used for surveillance and video monitoring. This is why major companies around the world hire drone pilots to video monitor their facilities. It is far more cost effective to hire a drone pilot to do such a job than to pay for the entire monitoring system.

Persons who fly such drone must therefore comply with data protection requirements as soon as certain or identifiable persons are included in the recordings. This applies regardless of whether the images are kept or not. 

Can Police use Weaponized Drones

Also drones can be used except for surveillance I in private investigations. Drones have the great advantage of being in the air and being able to record crystal clear at any moment, making this job less dangerous. In addition, drones are less noticeable and give a clear overview of the situation. Therefore, when using a drone, it can cover the complete control of the space to be monitored. Advanced drones also feature thermal cameras that provide better and more effective insights into surveillance.

How much can be earned in Surveillance and video monitoring:

  • Up to $60,000 per year

Police in America are increasingly using drones for surveillance and video monitoring. When major matches are in stadiums or concerts, every event should be followed in detail so that, if an incident occurs, the perpetrators can be identified. Of course you wouldn’t be entitled to that, because it’s too dangerous to operate a drone over a large group of people.

Today, in the United States, there are oversight jobs that can earn up to $ 60,000 a year at some companies. So if you are interested in this type of business, feel free to get even more informed.


  • Not a dangerous job


  • License required
  • Quality and expensive drones needed


By reading this article you could see that there are many ways to make money using drones. Today, there are many ways you can turn this hobby into a real business and make a good money. An increasing demand attracts more and more commercial drone pilots and there are numerous earning opportunities. The area in which you want to try your luck strongly depends on your own ideas, interests and goals. The possibilities are definitely there and we hope by reading this article you get better insight how to use drones to do profitable business.

Of course, before you decide to seriously engage in this operation you need to determine the area you would like to work in and buy the right drone for the job. This will determine your choice of drone model (if you have to buy it) and your capabilities. What is your opinion on this article? Let us know what you think!

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