How Small Businesses are Leveraging Drones in New & Exciting Ways

Initially, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) struck a chord with hobbyists and those looking for a fun new toy to tinker with. But, as drones have become more practical and affordable, tons of exciting new uses began to pop up.

All kinds of small businesses are leveraging drones to get an edge on their competition and develop innovative new uses for UAVs. Today, we’re going to cover how small businesses are employing drones to propel their businesses forward.

Event Photography & Videography

One area where drones have had a major impact is in event photography and videography, especially when it comes to weddings and special events.

Drones offer a unique new perspective that’s simply impossible to capture on the ground. While any special event can benefit from the use of aerial photography and videography, it’s become an especially popular add-on to wedding packages for photographers and videographers.

Thanks to drone technology, couples can capture every detail of their big day from an exciting new perspective, and they’re willing to dish out top dollar to add drone footage and photos to their multimedia packages.

Beyond weddings and parties, drones are also becoming more popular for capturing sporting events. Drones can easily capture footage from a perspective that was once reserved for high-end camera rigs that only major networks and news outlets could afford.

Thanks to drone technology, photographers and videographers can shoot aerial footage for a small fraction of what it would cost to shoot that same footage ten years ago.

Real Estate Advertising

The real estate industry was quick to realize the potential that drone photography and videography held with regards to their businesses.

Real estate agents are using drones to provide a unique aerial perspective for their home listings.

Hotels, resorts, and golf courses are also able to use aerial photos and videos to provide a complete perspective of their properties for potential customers.

By providing an innovative new perspective on their listings and advertisements, they’re able to stand above the competition, which has led to a massive uptick in bookings and memberships for those businesses smart enough to employ drone technology.

Couriers

While drone delivery is still in its infancy, we’re inching closer to a future where last mile delivery services can harness the power of drones to make their deliveries.

While logistics concerns and restrictions are still being worked out, drone deliveries will be a powerful new tool for couriers, and a great way to differentiate themselves from competitors in the next few years.

Surveying

One industry where drones have had a major impact already is on land and agricultural surveying. Thanks to the aerial perspective that drones bring to the table, surveying jobs that once took days or weeks to complete can now be handled in just a few hours.

Within agriculture, farmers had to choose between putting eyes on the ground to survey their fields or hiring expensive manned aircraft to do their surveying work. Having someone walk the fields to survey conditions represents a massive labor cost. With manned aircraft, surveys could be completed quickly, but the costs were high.

Thanks to drones, farmers can enjoy the same perspective they’d get from an expensive manned aircraft without the need to hire an expensive third-party company to handle the survey.

Beyond agriculture, land surveys, in general, have been revolutionized by UAVs.

In the past, aerial land surveys were completed by small planes and helicopters. Completing surveys was expensive, and due to the nature of manned aircraft, it was still difficult to get a complete survey for purposes like cartography, topography and GIS updates.

Not only have drones made this process much cheaper, but they’re able to fly much lower and slower than manned aircraft, which means drone surveys are more complete and more accurate than ever before.

Savvy small businesses in the surveying field are already unlocking the power of drones to handle agriculture and land surveys. Thanks to the relative affordability of drones and the quality of the images and video they can produce, this is one industry that’s been revolutionized by this exciting technology.

Architectural Design

Thanks to drones, architects have been able to achieve an entirely new perspective for design projects. Tony Westrude from Architectural Landscape Design says “Drones have become invaluable when we survey and design a new plot”

Drones allow architects to use images and footage from construction sites to create 3D renderings of their plans. This allows architects to design their projects with a valuable new real-world perspective into how the final design will look.

Thanks to the accuracy that drones bring to the design and rendering process, they’re also able to eliminate costly mistakes and redrafts that were common before drone technology was available.

Security

Drones also have the potential to revolutionize how small security businesses handle event security.

Thanks to the birds-eye view that drones provide, a single drone can provide a unique perspective that would be impossible for a team on the ground to capture.

Large businesses or event spaces that needed large security details in the past are now able to enjoy the same degree of security with far fewer employees on the ground, which greatly lowers the cost of security.

Inspection

One field where drones have the potential to revolutionize is the inspection industry. Construction and insurance inspectors and even government agencies can greatly reduce the time and effort required to complete thorough inspections with drones.

For construction inspectors, drones allow them to survey the progress of a building and identify any problems with the construction in real time.

Insurance inspectors can use drones to help them review and evaluate claims to provide their customers with faster service. This can be especially helpful in instances where a severe storm has made it difficult to visit the area by car.

For government agencies, drones allow them to inspect infrastructure in a new way that greatly reduces cost.

It also removes the danger of having to send an inspector into a hazardous situation. For example, imagine how much cheaper and less dangerous it would be to inspect the structural integrity of the Hoover Dam with a drone, compared to with an inspector.

Advertising

Small businesses and advertising firms alike are beginning to understand the potential drones have as an advertising tool.

Imagine you’ve just opened up a new restaurant in town; advertising banners attached to a drone can allow you to increase awareness of your new place among your target demographic.

Savvy marketing companies are already using drone technology to provide a unique new advertising product to their customers, and this is an area that’s going to continue to expand as marketers look for new and innovative ways to reach their customers.

Drone Operation, Repair & Maintenance  

All of the applications we’ve discussed thus far require an experienced drone operator. While many companies will begin adding dedicated drone teams to their workforce in the future, tons more businesses will instead choose to hire independent operators to complete their drone-related tasks.

As an experienced drone operator, you’ll be able to make a healthy living by providing your services as a freelancer. New businesses are harnessing drone technology on a daily basis, and as a drone operator, there will be plenty of opportunities to provide your services as a drone pilot to businesses in need.

Of course, with more drones being used in business applications, more drones will need repair and maintenance. Small drone repair shops should see a major uptick in business as drone technology becomes accessible to more businesses.

Adam Torkildson