make money with drones

I’ve always been a techie for decades since working on mainframe computers and electronics in San Diego during the 70’s. For the past 38 years, living in Panama City Beach, Florida, I’ve kept up to date on advancing technology and several months ago got a DJI Phantom 4 advanced drone which is great for aerial photography since it takes photos at 4K resolution. Initially didn’t think there would be much of a learning curve but I was wrong. Let me be clear, the Phantom 4 is not a toy and the DJI app is quite complex with a lot of variables and parameters. This drone locks onto several satellites after being powered on and has several automated flight programs. It has a flight distance of around 4 miles although I’ve only taken it to about 3 miles. In sport mode this drone can fly around 45 miles per hour with obstacle avoidance disabled.

Real Estate Video and Aerial Photography in Panama City Beach, Florida

Obviously most aerial drone pilots in Panama City Beach, Florida try to work in the real estate business to make money. Realtors need more of an edge in this competitive market to be successful and drone pilots offer a different vantage point to showcase the features of large properties for sale. The money you can make shooting videos and aerial photography for real estate is quite substantial. For example a typical drone company in Atlanta GA would charge around $1,000 for shooting a 240 acre property with a lake. This would take around one day of shooting and another day of video editing and production. Not bad money working for 2 days! This is of course if you own the drone company and do the work yourself.

Don’t make a mistake most new aerial drone pilots in Panama City Beach, Florida make by flying too high altitude. The goal is to show off the home and not a little dot for the roof. Try keeping most of the house in the frame and various different photos showcasing different angles and key points of interest of the property. Aerial photography can be a zoom out to show relative areas of interest such as lakes, shopping centers, schools, etc.

Outdoor Wedding Aerial Photography

A lot of weddings are done outside in Panama City Beach, Florida especially on beautiful scenic beaches. Imagine the impressive 4K videos and aerial photography of a wedding on a beach. Post video editing and production with special effects and background music would result in a spectacular product any new married couple would love to have for memories.

Roof Inspections For Insurance Companies

We all know it can be dangerous for insurance inspectors in Panama City Beach, Florida to inspect roof damage and a drone pilot can make it safer, quicker and more cost effective. Traveling to areas hit by large storms can keep you busy and make good money.

Cost of Starting a Drone Aerial Photography Business

Starting a drone photograpy business in Panama City Beach, Florida obviously includes purchasing a professional 4K drone such as the DJI Phantom 4. It comes with one battery which will get you around 25 minutes flight time and will not be enough especially if you are shooting large real estate land for sale. Also comes with one micro 16GB SD memory card which is not enough considering you are shooting 4K high definition video and aerial photography. I suggest buying some ND lens filters for days when there is a lot of sun to cut down on glare and these typically cost around $100.

If you are a drone pilot in Panama City Beach, Florida not only providing aerial videos and photography but video editing and production with special effects and background music, then you will need to buy a software program for this as well. The one for Windows I recommend is Adobe Photoshop for photos and Adobe Premiere for video editing and rendering. Of course the price goes up if you include your time for video production so this can be quite lucrative.

Getting a FAA Part 107 License

If you are using your drone commercially to make money, you are required by the Federal Aviation Administration to acquire a part 107 license. There are study guides on the internet and search for the nearest location where you will have to go and take the test. The test appears more oriented towards general aviation and not much to drones. The part 107 test costs $150 and is valid for 2 years.


Forgot to mention another avenue of making money with your drone is soliciting resort hotels on beaches. Hotel business is very competitive and they are always looking for different ways to showcase key features of their property.

Another cost is your mileage so if it’s an out of town job, charge extra for mileage. Let’s say you are shooting drone video and aerial photography of large land way out in Panama City Beach, Florida with no AC outlets anywhere to charge your batteries, you might want to consider getting a jump box with AC outlets or small gas generator. I also recommend buying a three port battery charger so you can charge more than one battery at a time and not wait around for battery charging time.

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