How to Make Money with a Drone

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Flying a drone is a fun activity, but what makes it more exciting is that you can use your drone to generate freelance income. Check out my step-by-step guide about how to make money with a drone, along with a list of freelance drone jobs to get started today. 

Drones are the most-loved toys for tech-savvy individuals. They’re futuristic unmanned aerial vehicles that you can fly anywhere you want using a remote control. 

If you love your tech-toys, you probably own a drone and have fun using it already! However, do you know that this instrument can help you earn six figures every year? 

How to Make Money with a Drone

Yes, believe it or not, this mini helicopter with an attached camera can help you take up many paid jobs and even start your own business. 

So, if you’re wondering how to make money with drones, I’ve got you covered. 

Go through this detailed guide for how to make money with drones, along with a list of potential job options to kick start your career right away. 

How Much Money Can You Make With Your Drone?

I know I’ve roped you in by mentioning a six-figure income. While there are people out there actually making this amount using drones, you have a long way to go as a beginner. 

Apart from your expertise, many other factors influence your earnings when making money with a drone. These include your gear, technical knowledge, target niche, and the price you set for yourself. 

Typically, a freelance drone pilot can charge anywhere from $75-$200 for aerial photos. However, you can set your own rates depending on the effort you put in and your location’s market condition. 

Besides that, if you sell or provide services through aerial videos, you can charge around $500 to even $1000 for a comprehensive video session. 

A drone during sunset

This way, if you complete at least one or two similar projects per week, you can easily earn around $2000-$3000. 

Additionally, by pitching in high-quality editing services and working with high-end companies, you can even bag around $4000 for a single project. This eventually adds up to a six-figure annual income. 

But, before you get to that, you’ll have to learn how to use your drone professionally. Yes, flying a drone for fun is one thing, but you’ll initially have to invest both time and money if you want to earn through it. 

DJ Mini 2 Drone

If you’re still driven enough to learn how to make money with a drone, go through my step-by-step guide below. 

How to Make Money With A Drone – Step-By-Step Guide

You’ve finally made your mind up to turn drone freelance work into your primary source of income. Great idea! But, if you’re thinking about getting started with a flimsy drone without any post-production training, you’re making a mistake. 

You see, when you start out as a freelancer, you’re not just doing freelance drone freelance work, but running your personal drone business. Even if it’s on a small scale, a business requires preparation, training, and investment initiatives

Here’s my comprehensive guide to provide all the details you need to figure out how to make money with a drone. 

Step 1 – Get a Drone

A drone is the most important equipment you’ll need to kickstart your drone freelance endeavor. If you’re apprehensive about the investment costs of a professional drone, don’t worry. 

A white drone

Attributing to the quick advancements in drone technology, drones with professional cameras aren’t that expensive. At least compared to the start-up costs of other businesses, it’s relatively cheaper. 

You can get a high-quality drone under $2000, and if you’re looking to start with modest means, you can go for drones under $1000

DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 Drone Quadcopter

Similarly, you can find used drones for resale on the internet, which come at relatively low prices. Later, you can purchase a new drone when you start earning enough.

Step 2 – Get a License Drone-Flying License

I know it sounds funny, but there’s actually a legal license for flying drones. You see, when you’re flying a drone, you’re technically accessing the air space and even intruding into the privacy of other people. 

If you do that without a proper license, you can get sued. So, to prove you’re just doing your job as a professional, get an FAA Part 107 drone license. 

For that, you’ll have to take a short aviation test. After you’ve filled the $150 fee, you’ll get all the material you need to prepare for the test. 

You can also find study guides or join FAA training classes to ace the test. Don’t be scared; 92% of the students register for the test will pass. 

However, if you’re expecting they’ll test you for your drone-flying skills, you’re wrong. Instead, the test mostly includes theoretical flying techniques and safety procedures. Once you pass, you’ll get a license valid for two years. 

Step 3 – Get Your Drone Insured

If you’re planning to take up freelance drone jobs such as aerial photography or inspection, you should invest in a proper investment plan. 

Initially, go for commercial liability insurance. This will protect you if your drone ends up damaging someone else’s property or invades someone’s privacy. 

Also, if you don’t mind adding up to your initial costs, you should get your drone and additional equipment insured for a higher premium. 

Step 4 – Buy And Learn to Operate Editing Software

If you’re concerned about taking photos and videos using a drone, you shouldn’t be worried at all. Nowadays, drones come with all sorts of advanced options, so shooting the content is the easiest part. 

The main part comes after you’ve taken the photos and videos. To refine and add a professional touch to your products, you’ll need to purchase and learn various editing software ropes. 

You can start by learning important techniques like color correction, sky replacements, and using the magic eraser on Photoshop. 

In the case of videos, you can produce high-quality results during post-production by using software like Adobe Premiere or iMovie. Remember, editing videos is much harder than editing photos. 

So if you’re selling videos, make sure to collect ample footage so you can just cut out the parts you don’t want to use instead of spending hours fixing them. 

All these software have a steady learning curve, but achieving these skills can help you stand out among your competitors. 

Step 5 – Start your Drone Business

Now that you’re ready with your equipment and a proper skillset, it is time to kickstart your business. To do that, you’ll have to land your first client. 

There are many ways to advertise yourself to people willing to hire a drone photographer. You can start by spreading word of mouth around your neighborhood or handing out flyers highlighting your services. 

Furthermore, you can extend your reach by signing up on popular freelancing sites. While there are many dedicated freelance sites for drone experts, you can try out the conventional ones to reach a broader audience. 


One of the high-quality sites you can use to land freelance drone jobs is Flexjobs

Flexjobs is an easy-to-use platform that lets freelancers showcase their talents to potential clients. Here, you can sign-up for a small premium and search for relevant gigs according to your skillset. 

You can also get training to run a professional freelance business and land high-paying clients through Flexjobs resources. Similarly, the site has more than 150 skill tests that you can take to make your resume credible. 

Once you land your first client on the platform or from anywhere across the internet, there’s no stopping you. You can quickly get further jobs by posting reviews or getting referrals from happy clients. 

Step 6 – Work On your Credibility 

After you generate a steady workflow as a freelance drone pilot, the next step is to bring consistency and credibility into your work. 

Try creating a brand name for yourself in the industry. Make sure your brand identity is relevant to your target audience and market yourself accordingly to rope in regular customers. 


If you can’t afford professional marketing or graphic design services, you can do this yourself using Canva. The website has tons of logos and website templates to choose from to enhance your brand image on social media and across the internet. 

Besides that, you can even hire professional graphic designers on the platform if you’re willing to invest further into your business. 

Similarly, try to restrict yourself to a single drone pilot niche. This will help you establish yourself and build credibility in the industry. 

As you grow, you’ll have to gather some helping hands, create a customer support team, and increase the equipment you own to cater to the job offers you receive. 

And that’s how to make money with a drone for beginners. Once you start out with passion and dedication, the sky’s the limit. 

Ways to Make Money With a Drone

Now that you’ve been through my step-by-step guide for how to make money with a drone, you’re probably ready to choose your freelance drone pilot niche. 

Believe it or not, there is more to flying drones than just taking aerial photos. You can sell your drone services to several industries, including real estate, agriculture, and even search and rescue. 

Here’s a list of ways for those wondering how to make money with a drone. 

   1. Sell Stock Photos and Videos

Selling stock photos and videos is perhaps the easiest way to make money with a drone. 

For those wondering how much do drone photographers charge? Or what’s the typical drone videographer salary? You don’t have to worry about that in this case. 

Just take high-quality aerial photos and post them online on websites like Adobe Stock, Shutterstock, and Envato. These sites are free to use and pay you a small premium every time a user downloads your photo. 

Envato elements logo

Although the remuneration per download is relatively meager, it can add up quickly if you concentrate on the quantity you post every day. Besides that, displaying your talent on stock websites can help you land other paid gigs and increase your online presence as well. 

You can pair this skill up with another freelance drone job. Try clicking extra photos for every project and post them on stock sites for some side income. 

   2. Become an Aerial Wedding Or Event Photographer

Nowadays, there’s a huge demand for aerial drone photographers for weddings and events. To incorporate the wow factor in their events, clients often want to hire a drone photographer to capture every aspect from a unique perspective. 

That’s where you and your drone step in. 

However, don’t expect to make quick money as soon as you advertise yourself on the internet. That’s because the field is highly saturated, and the competition is increasing by the day. 

Nevertheless, you can establish yourself by excelling in some skills other drone photographers won’t offer. This includes high-quality photo and video editing or providing impeccable customer service. 

If it is your first time on the job, remember to use the natural scenery and space around you as much as possible. Besides that, avoid taking sun-facing photos as they tend to turn out dark. 

Most importantly, learn to control your drone in the crowd, so you don’t hurt anyone. 

As far as the remuneration is concerned, there’s no specific answer to how much to hire a drone photographer. Your charges depend on the effort you put in and the range of services you provide. 

   3. Take Photos For The Real Estate Industry 

A drone is the ideal advertisement tool for the real estate industry. Let’s face it; there’s no better way to analyze a property with all its attractive attributes than photographing it aerially. 

Drones for real estate

If you’re thinking about how to make money with a drone, you can take photos for advertising campaigns of resorts, residential buildings, parks, and whatnot. 

While taking real estate photos with your drone, you should try to capture the aspects that entice potential buyers. For example, if a hotel is located at the beachfront, make sure your images and videos highlight that point. 

To make money with a drone, you need to invest the same with real estate; you can start investing in small amounts. If you’re planning to purchase a house but only have small cash, there is real estate that you can invest with 10k or less.

   4. Other Freelance Drone Jobs To Take Up

Apart from taking, selling, and editing photographs, there are other jobs drone pilots can take up to earn money. Some of these options include, 

  • Aerial surveying for places that are hard-to-reach for ground transport
  • A professional inspection of rooftops, solar panels, and electrical lines. 
  • Conducting paid surveillance for buildings and properties
  • Private investigation
  • Dedicating drones to deliver goods where ground vehicles cannot reach
  • Using drones to help sustain crops and provide targeted irrigation in agriculture
  • Helping rescue operation workers deliver supplies and medicines for disaster relief
  • Teaching others how to operate a drone
  • Blogging about drone photography and earning through monetization

If you’re planning to work as a freelancer with your drone, you’ll probably come across Upwork to look for clients or outsource. To widen your source and be able to reach more, there are numerous Upwork alternatives to consider.

Can You Make Money With a Drone? 

Yes, there are tons of opportunities for those wondering how to make money with a drone. All you have to do is follow the steps I mapped out in my comprehensive guide, choose a niche, and start making money. 

There are excellent careers like freelancing drone such as jobs in real investment trusts that gives best pay. Both promise the best commissions and stable employment that many of us don’t even know exists.

Remember, freelance drone jobs aren’t like your 9-5 day job. If you’re working as a drone service provider, you’re running your own business, which requires dedication and hard work. 

If you’re ready for that, you can easily hope to make a six-figure annual income. 

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