With the enactment of Part 107, the Small UAS Rule, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a press conference that the government estimates there will be over 600,000 new commercial drone operators licensed this year. But will there be the demand to match the supply? Here are the top 5 industries hiring small commercial drones now, based on real job requests tracked on our sister site, JobforDrones.
#1. Real Estate. Real estate listings have become more and more sophisticated. With virtual tours and showcase videos, the aerial view has become a normal piece of the real estate portfolio. Margo Maloney, a successful realtor on Massachusetts’ exclusive North Shore, says that drone shots can add a lot of value: “Agents are looking for aerial shots to be part of the package now – they do a great job of showing the whole property, the neighborhood, and the proximity to attractions like beach access.”
#2. Weddings and Events. The wedding photographer has been a big part of the event industry for a long time, with offerings becoming ever more elaborate. Photographers are often booked a year or two in advance, and stage multiple sittings for the couple – including engagement pictures, rehearsal dinners, and outdoor photos in full wedding gear on a date well before the actual event. As photographers look for more creative offerings, drones offer a new perspective. A good drone photographer can show not only the happy couple, but all of the attendees and the venue as well.
It isn’t only wedding couples who want to document their important moments with aerial footage. JobforDrones has had requests from people who want a drone photographer to capture their surprise engagement, anniversary party, church picnic, or company event.
#3. Marketing. Visit any resort website, and you’ll see the results of some stunning drone photography. Visit many resorts outside of the US, and you’ll see the drones over the beach taking pictures. There’s no question that aerial footage provides breathtaking vistas of large properties like beaches, golf courses, and resort campuses – and they’ve always been part of the package. Where large resorts previously paid for helicopters to take the footage, they can now get the same results for a much smaller investment with a local commercial drone operator.
Because of the lower price point, it isn’t only large properties now that can afford the aerial footage. Local businesses are taking advantage of commercial drone photography too – think surfboard rentals, kayak adventure tours, and restaurants, bars, and event venues in beauty spots.
#4. Property Management. Forget the glamour -property managers are responsible for solving problems. And an aerial view of any large property can help managers to pinpoint and correct problems quickly. Jobs come in frequently from property managers – or even residential owners – who need help to see what areas of a property are subject to flood, where perimeter fencing needs repair, or what sections of parking lots and access drives require attention first.
Aerial photography not only helps property managers address problems, it’s become a necessary part of the claim process after a problem occurs. Many people call for a drone to document a situation as part of a submission to their insurance agency.
#5. Construction Construction companies are quickly becoming aware of how much easier it is to manage a construction site with drone footage. It’s good work for a commercial operator – drone businesses frequently get requests to visit a site once a week for the entire course of a project, sometimes stretching over several months. Even smaller construction projects are getting the benefit of drones – many homeowners building a home some distance away want a good method of monitoring progress.
These are the top 5 industries by the numbers- but there are numerous jobs for home inspection, agriculture, film, and other industries. “We’ve seen a huge uptick in jobs coming in over the last few months,” says Harry McNabb, JobforDrones’ Global VP of Business Development. “It’s clear the market is heating up.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.