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The FAA, which stands for the Federal Aviation Administration legalized the commercial use of drones in 2012 in the USA and 2013 drones were commercialized in Canada. Ever since many brands and individuals have utilized this intriguing technology for many reasons. Some of which includes; remotes sensing, aerial surveillance, motion, film making, agriculture, and oil & gas exploration.
With a high level of demand, many have chosen to start up their very own drone business. Like every other business, networking and promotion is the key to increasing your clientele base. However, when it comes to owning a drone business, there are a few different steps required to excel.
How To Start A Drone Business
The following are essential tips for starting a commercial drone business.
Get The Appropriate Certifications & Licenses
In every country, state or province, there are specific government procedures required for you to undergo before flying a drone commercially. In the United States of America and Canada, the process is pretty straightforward and well documented. To get yourself registered as a commercial drone operator in these countries, you will need to pass through the following steps;
- Obtain an FAA 107 Certification for you and your pilots (USA)
- Obtain a drone pilot certificate (CANADA)
- Register and obtain a Business License (USA & CANADA)
- Decide on a business (USA & CANADA)
FAA Part 107 Certification (USA)
If you are interested in owning a drone business, you probably understand what the FAA Part 107 Certification is. The FAA Part 107 Certification, which was passed in August 2016 makes it easier to get a certification to be a commercial drone operator.
Before the issuance of this rule, getting a certification required drone operators to undergo a cumbersome process that took a lot of time. However, now, it only involves a minimal amount of steps;
- The legal registration of drones here
- The passing of the knowledge test to ascertain how much you know about drones.
- Completing form 8710-13 via the FAA IACRA System
It is important to note that as long as you receive compensation for your drone services, then you are a commercial drone operator. A major misconception is a fact that your services must be exchanged for money. However, this isn’t necessarily the case, as you will be considered a commercial drone operator regardless.
Hence, it is essential to register your drone, pass the knowledge test and complete the form as mentioned earlier. This way, you can avoid getting into trouble.
Special Flight Operations Certificate (CANADA)
It is a similar process in Canada. The only difference is the wordings. The following link has all the information you need in other to register your drone, pass your test, apply and obtain a pilot certificate. Applying for a Special Flight Operations Certificate.
Decide On A Business Structure
The next step you need to undergo before obtaining a legitimate license for your commercial drone business is deciding on a business structure. Your choice of business structure will be determined by your location most of the time. This is, because, there are several different business structures in different countries.
However, in the United States and Canada, you can only decide between being a sole proprietor or a corporation. Both options have their very own pros and cons, which you should take very much into consideration before making a decision.
For instance, becoming a sole proprietor is considered the most straightforward route, as it involves filing for state, province or local business licenses.
However, it automatically means there is no distinction between you and your business. This invariably translates to the fact that your drone business liabilities and debts are yours to bear. The Pros and Cons of Sole Proprietorship
To avoid this problem, most commercial drone operators opt for forming an LLC or a corporation. Although this might involve more paperwork and filing fees, it is worth the coverage you receive. The Pros and Cons of Corporation
Register Your Business
Once you have figured out what business structure you are most comfortable with, the next important step is to register your business. The registering process is usually simple and straightforward. All you need to do is find out the website for your Secretary of State and follow the instructions outlined. This, of course, isn’t free, as it will cost you a sum of money.
That being said, this amount is usually under a hundred dollars. Aside from registering at the state or provincial level, depending on the laws of where you plan to operate, you might need to register in your city.
Once you complete the steps mentioned above:
- Register your drone
- Pass your drone test and drone review test
- Register your business
then you will be a legitimate licensed commercial drone operator.
Every business venture requires the right coverage to avoid risks and setbacks. For commercial drone businesses, there are types of coverages you can choose from; Hull Insurance & Liability Insurance.
The Hull insurance provides coverage only for damages done to the drone. This insurance type comes in handy when your business operates costly systems.
Unlike the Hull insurance, Liability insurance provides coverage for damages done to a third party. This insurance takes care of damages that include bodily harm and property damage to a third party. It is typical for most businesses to ask for proof of liability insurance before working with a commercial drone operator.
Define Your Services
Drone services are required in a wide variety of industries and business sector; hence you need to define your functions. Before setting up your own drone business, you will need to decide what sector to target and what services you will render.
How to use drones to make money
Some of the most profitable sectors right now are;
- Film making
- Fire Fighting
- Site surveying
- Parcel Deliveries
- Imaging structures
- Precision agriculture
- Family Fun Occasions
- Lighting Concert Shows
- Counting Stockpiles
- Search and rescue
- Weather patterns
- Wedding Ceremonies
- Private Investigation
For detailed explanation of the list above, visit Dronezon
Selecting The Proper Hardware & Software Configuration
An essential part of owning a commercial drone business is utilizing the appropriate drones for your services. Depending on your target sector, there are specific drones that get the job done. With proper research, you can navigate this easily. Aside from providing your services with the appropriate hardware, you also, need a good software provider.
Software providers make the process of mapping, automating flights and processing data hassle free. To make this less tasking, it is preferable to use a comprehensive software provider.
Marketing & Financial Management
Like every other business, networking and marketing your services is required for growth. Also, managing your finances will help you keep track of your profits and losses. This will help you stay organized and figure out on ways you can improve your business.
To market your services online. You need the following
- A website
- Optimize your website
- Social Media business pages
- Ad campaign (Facebook & Google Ads)
- Local business directory advertising
Owning a drone business is now a profitable venture as confirmed by many drone operator business owners. If you are in between whether or not you should start a drone business. You need not have troubles deciding after reading this article.
Good luck on starting and profiting from your drone business.