Estimated reading time: 15 minutes
Starting a drone business for the real estate market is an exciting and profitable venture.
Luckily, the business opportunity is not limited to a few: From realtors to videographers, photographers, drone pilots, or a combination of all can start this business.
How do you start a drone business for real estate market?
You start a drone business for the real estate market by learning the basics (for starters), finding and retaining customers, working with real estate operators, and understanding your competition.
This article provides all you need to know to start a successful drone business in the real estate world. The outline includes reasons for starting this business, the steps you should follow, how to get and retain clients, and more.
Table of contents
- Why Start a Drone Business for Real Estate Industry?
- How Do You Start a Drone Business for Real Estate Market?
- 1. Get Approval and IACRA Registration:
- 2. Check State and Federal Regulations:
- 3. Select a Drone Business Type and Structure:
- 4. Buy and Register Your Drones and Equipment:
- 5. Get Liability and Drone Insurance:
- 6. Acquire Advanced UAV Training For Yourself and Your Staff:
- 7. Design Your Pricing Structure:
- 8. Set Your Standard Business Operations:
- 9. Finding & Retaining Clients:
- 10. Get Familiar With the Drone Community Developments and Trends:
- What Type of Drones Are Ideal for Real Estate?
- 1. Contixo F24 Pro: Best For Budget-Friendly Beginner Drone-
- 2. DJI Phantom 4 Pro: Best For High-Quality Video Footage-
- 3. Autel Evo 2 Pro: Best For Longest Flight Time with high-quality footage-
- 4. DJI FPV: Best For Indoor Photography and First-Person View Shots-
- 5. DJI Air 2S: Best For High-Quality Images and videos-
- Wrap Up:
Why Start a Drone Business for Real Estate Industry?
The main reason you start a drone business for real estate industry is that the niche offers attractive business possibilities. Some opportunities include drone flying, footage editing, and giving potential homeowners realtors all-inclusive and impressive homes and property shots. The various job types give you job security.
A well-shot videography allows real estate agents to display their properties in the best way possible. Thus, it clarifies it for potential buyers what they could buy. For that reason, real estate drone videography has become increasingly essential for those who want to scale high in the real estate market.
Also, a drone business requires little capital, so you can start small and grow gradually.
The market is up-and-coming. Even so, the business opportunity has downsides which may make it rough for starters. Thankfully, we are here to ensure you have the proper footing in this exciting business.
How Do You Start a Drone Business for Real Estate Market?
You start a drone business for real estate by following the 10 simple steps:
1. Get Approval and IACRA Registration:
Venturing into a real estate drone business means that you have become a commercial drone flier. Unlike recreational drone pilots who follow no guidelines, commercial drone pilots must follow specific rules and regulations.
Therefore, you must first get full certification from the authorized body, Federal Aviation Association (FAA). To do this, you must visit the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application- IACRA (FAA website) to apply for a new Airman certificate.
The whole process occurs on the website, and an identification number is sent to your email. That is the unique identifier you present to your certifier to complete your application.
For example, in the US, you must pass the Part 107 exam to get an FAA Part-107 license before you fly a commercial drone.
You must also obtain an FTN number after registering with IACRA before scheduling an FAA knowledge test. Studying for the aeronautical knowledge exam will take roughly 20 hours and cost you approximately $150.
However, you must choose an authorized testing center and pass with a 70% score or more.
You should submit the score on the IACRA website to finalize your application and obtain a permanent Part-107 certificate in 1–3 months. Moreover, you must pass a flight review twice a year after every 2 years.
2. Check State and Federal Regulations:
Some nations use strict regulations to limit the use of commercial drones. Therefore, you must know your region’s specific rules and regulations.
Additionally, local commercial unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) regulations differ from recreational ones. However, no specific FAA drone rules restrict private drones from flying over private property by certified pilots.
However, some local laws limit where you can fly commercial drones, and you need to familiarize yourself with such too.
3. Select a Drone Business Type and Structure:
Since there are various drone business opportunities, you must select the one you want to venture into. That way, it becomes easy to analyze the market of your operational area.
It includes discovering other companies’ operating approaches and determining whether to enhance their strategy and compete against them. You could also decide to take a different route altogether.
A consumer survey is one of the most effective market analysis methods. It helps to identify a new drone business to focus on as your target market.
What are the available drone business opportunities?
The available drone business opportunities include the following:
- Aerial photography/ videography
- Sites and listing 3D models
- Drone mapping
- Site monitoring
- Drone imagery
4. Buy and Register Your Drones and Equipment:
You need at least one drone to kick off: You can buy one or rent a few to cut down on start-up costs and initial investment.
Drones are quite an investment, especially professional ones. After buying, you must register any drone weighing over 0.55 pounds with the FAA in the US.
In addition, you must purchase other operational equipment, such as propellers, cases, and batteries.
5. Get Liability and Drone Insurance:
Like any other aircraft, drones also cause accidents: Damage your property, get lost when flying, or damage another person’s property due to a mishap. Hence, knowing how to insure your real estate drone business and do so correctly is vital.
There are two types of insurance, including hull and liability insurance.
Hull insurance protects your property and covers your drone and operating equipment against damage. On the other hand, liability insurance has high premiums, providing the highest percentage of third-party coverage against damage.
6. Acquire Advanced UAV Training For Yourself and Your Staff:
A drone is a technical device requiring some skill to operate. Thus, getting additional or advanced training (you and your staff) and acquiring the required certifications is necessary. That way, you become more helpful to your customers than your competitors.
7. Design Your Pricing Structure:
After identifying the type of real estate drone business you would like to venture into, you can settle on your ideal pricing structure. You can select hourly or daily rates, charge per project, or have a retainer for regular clients.
Also, different factors such as expertise, location drone model, permission level, image quality, staff involved, and more influences your pricing.
A long-term approach can be more beneficial to your business as it provides constant work and can allow you to employ the required staff. Also, it allows you to choose a billing cycle and inform your clients clearly and in a regulated manner.
However, knowing you do not get reliable income initially is good. Therefore, if you do not have reserve money for essential needs, stick to your current job until you stabilize in the new business.
8. Set Your Standard Business Operations:
Drones have no demanding storage requirements, so you do not need a large physical location to operate from. However, you can have one if it adds value to your customers.
Even so, you must determine the maximum reach for your device when executing the job, even if you will be operating remotely.
Furthermore, you must track your flight records and monitor information like maintenance logs and total aircraft flight hours.
9. Finding & Retaining Clients:
This step is the ultimate goal when you decide to start any business. Hence, you should create an effective marketing plan to reach your potential clients and get long-term contracts, if not lifetime ones.
Some of the most reliable marketing strategies are creating a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – friendly website and developing an app. Also, you can connect with a complementary business or post your business portfolio on social media.
Word-of-mouth and hashtag strategies, too, can help.
How Are the Potential Clients In the Real Estate Industry?
Potential clients for the real estate drone business include the following:
- Facebook friends: If you post your amazing videos and photos on Facebook, your friends will share widely, attracting clients to your business. Once they get in touch with you, you must be able to show them what Return-On-Investment your business will provide to theirs. If you convince them enough, they may give you a job.
- Developers: Partnering with a developer is difficult but not impossible. Simply identify a new development, take a few minutes of film, edit it, polish it up thoroughly, and send it to the developer as a gift. A catchy video can become your pathway to landing a new job.
- Realtors: Real estate dealers are the greatest beneficiaries of your services, and usually, each has several properties at a time. Therefore, partnering with these industry professionals can provide attractive job opportunities for you.
- Photographers: You can work with photographers as they have a wide range of clients who are your potential clients. While they focus on normal photos, you can focus on reality aerial shots.
After finding customers, ensure you retain them by delivering services that meet or exceed their expectations. Why? Getting more jobs from your existing clients is easier than acquiring new ones.
These customers will market your business to their colleagues, friends, and family, expanding your market reach.
10. Get Familiar With the Drone Community Developments and Trends:
Drones are continually getting upgraded, and so is their market. Thus, you must stay updated with every change in the industry. That way, you can know developments and trends on demand and adjust accordingly.
Consequently, you stand tall in the growing and competitive market niche.
What Type of Drones Are Ideal for Real Estate?
Below are 5 types of drones ideal for real estate:
1. Contixo F24 Pro: Best For Budget-Friendly Beginner Drone–
The drone is ideal for low-budget starters yet takes top-notch photos and videos. Sadly, the device lacks obstacle avoidance, making it difficult to use.
However, Contixo F24 Pro has some state-of-the-art attributes like gesture control and automated flight modes that you would only find in more expensive drones.
Contixo F24 Pro has a 28-minute flight time, 8.3MP camera quality, and requires an intermediate skill level. Special features include a remote control that you can fold and a bag for storing the gadget.
2. DJI Phantom 4 Pro: Best For High-Quality Video Footage–
DJI Phantom 4 Pro is a big, heavy drone with the largest flight function collection. Its multiple intelligent sensors and 1” CMOS 20MP camera quality allow you to capture clear and sharp videos.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro has automated functionalities and flight modes and specialized propellers that minimize footage noise by 60%. It has a remote, so you can use it to control your drone.
The device has 30 minute flight time and is suitable to beginner’s skill level. Other notable features include the ability to trace its route after losing signals and taking photos while recording videos.
3. Autel Evo 2 Pro: Best For Longest Flight Time with high-quality footage–
Autel Evo 2 Pro has a 40-minute flight time that is more extended than many other camera drones. Its camera quality is 1” CMOS 20MP allowing sharp recordings and images to be captured.
The drone’s basic functions do not need a smartphone, as its controller has a screen (built-in). Also, it has an automated flight mode, so you can focus more on capturing footage than drone flying. Its fly skill requirement is intermediate.
Other special features include gesture commands and obstacle avoidance of 360 degrees. It also has a foldable design and aperture range, which is adjustable to take top-notch images in all lighting situations.
4. DJI FPV: Best For Indoor Photography and First-Person View Shots-
DJI FPV is different from other camera drones, giving you a fantastic first-person view. Moreover, it has DJI FPV goggles, allowing you to shoot accurately and take error-free videos. Although it has a remote, you can still use a motion controller if you wish.
The drone’s camera quality of ½” CMOS 12MP allows you to take stunning ultra-HD 4000 pixels photos and videos. Its small size makes it ideal for indoor use due to its ease of control.
DJI FPV has a flight time of 20 minutes and requires an intermediate skill level.
Other fantastic features include an extra wide vision field at 150° and three different skill levels of flight modes. In addition, this drone has ADS-B AirSense, that senses any aircraft around and can, thus, avoid it.
5. DJI Air 2S: Best For High-Quality Images and videos-
DJI Air 2S is an extremely user and pocket-friendly drone with safety measures and built-in modes. It lets you take precise photos and videos with its 1” CMOS 20MP.
You can fly Air 2S automatically using the DJI Fly app. Thus, you fly the gadget in a predetermined pattern or circular in a specific area easily. That allows you to take shots without worrying where the drone is flying.
Also, the drone fight restrictions limit its capabilities in zones automatically. Even so, you can switch off the function.
The device requires beginner skill level and a flight time of 31 minutes. Other special features include a master shot feature that converts your shots into a short video and ADS-B AirSense, which alerts you about nearby drones.
Is a Real Estate Drone Business Profitable?
Yes, a real estate drone business is profitable. Many customers are looking for good drone services in the industry, and so are the returns. Thus, investing your money and time in this field is worth it. It can offer you a reliable source of income in the long run.
What Is the Minimum Age to Become a Drone Pilot?
The minimum age to become a drone pilot in the US is 13 and 16 years for recreational and commercial drone pilots, respectively.
However, it is not too early to fly a drone. You can start piloting earlier if your parents register the drone for you and are responsible for your flying.
Why Are Drones Ideal for the Real Estate Business?
Drones benefit the real estate business by giving you the aerial footage benefit. A drone’s aerial shot gives you unique perspectives of capturing your listings. While it is unlikely that you would naturally view your listing from 60 feet up, it would be the best viewpoint to show a property’s layout and size.
What Do I Need to Study for a Drone License?
Some subjects you need to cover when studying for a drone license include aviation regulations, radio communication protocols, and emergency procedures. Plus, aeronautical decision-making, reading weather charts, drone maintenance, and more.
Can I Sell My Drone Photos?
Yes, you can sell your drone photos. However, you can only do so after obtaining a commercial drone license. Also, the photos and videos you sell must comply with the Part 107 regulations of the FAA.
Undoubtedly, drone flying and real estate can make a good combination of a profitable business opportunity. Worry no more if you have considered venturing into this market but do not know where to begin.
We have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to start a drone business for real estate market. Following the guidelines and selecting an ideal drone above, you will have the proper footing in the real estate industry.
Be sure to interact with the field experts and learn from their mistakes to minimize your time up the ladder. Also, work with potential customers to identify market gaps you can fill.