A beginner's guide to starting a drone services business

Written by
Brooke Hahn
October 3, 2023

The drone industry and demand for drone services has grown considerably in recent years, providing exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs to establish their own drone services businesses. Drones (also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles - UAVs), have found applications in various industries, from agriculture and real estate to photography and surveying.

If you've ever dreamed of combining your love for technology and flying, launching a drone services business might be the perfect venture for you. But where exactly do you start? In this beginner's guide, we'll walk you through the essential steps to get your drone services business off the ground.

1. Understand the regulatory landscape

Before launching your drone services business, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the legal and regulatory requirements governing drone operations in your country. Regulations can vary significantly between countries, so it's essential to stay informed and comply with the relevant authorities.

In the United States, for example, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has specific guidelines for drone operators. You may need to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate (Part 107) and adhere to airspace restrictions, flight altitude limits, and other safety protocols. In Australia, you typically need to obtain a Remote Pilot License (RePL) and operate under the regulations set forth by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

2. Define your niche and services

Next, you'll need to identify your niche and the specific services you plan to offer. Drones have diverse applications, including aerial photography, videography, surveying, agriculture, construction site monitoring, and more. Choosing a niche allows you to tailor your business to a specific target market and build expertise in a particular area.

Consider your interests, skills, and the demand in your local area when selecting your niche. Conduct market research to assess the competition and identify opportunities for your drone services.

3. Invest in the right equipment

Choosing the right drone and equipment is vital for the success of your business. Select a drone that aligns with your chosen niche and offers the necessary features, such as camera quality, flight time, and payload capacity. Additionally, invest in spare parts, batteries, and maintenance tools to keep your drones in optimal condition.

Remember that the quality of your equipment can significantly impact the quality of your services and your reputation in the industry.

4. Develop your skills

To operate drones professionally and offer high-quality services, you must become a skilled pilot. Enroll in a reputable drone training program to learn the fundamentals of drone flight, safety protocols, and regulations. We recommend our partners over at Drone Launch Academy or PilotByte if you're looking for additional training and resources!

Practice flying your drone regularly to improve your piloting skills and gain confidence in various flight scenarios. Consider pursuing additional training and certifications related to your chosen niche, such as photography or GIS (Geographic Information Systems).

5. Create a business plan

Like any other business, your drone services venture should have a well-thought-out business plan. Your plan should outline your business goals, target market, pricing strategy, marketing plan, and financial projections. A solid business plan will serve as your roadmap for success and help you secure financing if needed.

6. Obtain necessary permits and insurance

Depending on your location and the nature of your services, you may need permits or licenses to operate your drone business legally. These permits could include airspace authorizations, waivers for specific flight operations, or even permission from property owners when flying over private land.

Additionally, drone insurance is essential to protect your business from potential liabilities, accidents, and equipment damage. Consult with an insurance provider experienced in drone coverage to find the right policy for your needs.

7. Market your services

Once your drone services business is set up, it's time to market your services and attract clients. Create a professional website showcasing your portfolio, services, and contact information. Utilize social media platforms, online advertising, and networking to reach potential customers.

Consider offering promotional deals or discounts to attract your first clients and build a solid customer base. Building a strong online presence and maintaining positive reviews can also help boost your reputation in the industry.

8. Focus on safety and compliance

Safety should always be a top priority in the drone services business. Follow all safety guidelines and regulations, conduct pre-flight checks, and regularly inspect and maintain your equipment. Stay informed about updates in drone technology and regulations to ensure you are always operating within the law.

9. Find a geospatial platform

If you're planning to offer mapping services, or you want to visualize your drone-captured images on a map view and easily share with your clients, you'll need a geospatial platform (like Birdi - ideal for drone services businesses). Our customization features like adding your own branding and create multiple workspaces for each of your clients gives you that added level of professionalism too, which is ideal for your drone services biz!


Starting a drone services business can be an exciting and rewarding venture for beginners with a passion for technology and aviation. By understanding the regulatory landscape, defining your niche, investing in the right equipment, developing your skills, creating a solid business plan, obtaining necessary permits and insurance, marketing your services, prioritizing safety and compliance, and partnering with a photogrammetry platform, you can set a strong foundation for your new business.

We're looking forward to seeing your drone business grow, and hopefully being a part of your journey!

Brooke Hahn
Brooke has been involved in SaaS startups for the past 10 years. From marketing to leadership to customer success, she has worked across the breadth of teams and been pivotal in every company's strategy and success.