Was there such a thing as a drone gold rush? Does it still exist or have you missed the boat? In this blog, we will discuss the importance of this subject and break down each stage to try and predict whether it is still worth using a drone to make money in 2022.
At the beginning of any technology revolution, there is a stage in its evolution called the ‘Innovator’ stage. This happened in the drone industry about 8-9 years ago and led to a lot of people joining the industry and making quite a lot of money.
Back then you needed a great deal of specialist knowledge to enable you to design, build, tune and fly your model drone. Not a lot of people had this skill or knowledge and so this led to the drone becoming a very sought after tool and a bit of a luxury for some.
The next stage is the ‘early adopter stage’. Pre-built drones started to appear on the market and that helped a lot more people into the industry. It was essentially a short cut and people with enough money could buy their way into the industry without having to understand how to build a drone.
DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ was one of the first drones to hit the market that would work pretty much straight out of the box and would be able to be used to camera (adequate) images for the day.
Then came the DJI Inspire 1 which was one of the first dual control drones that would work out of the box and would be suitable for film use on productions. The ability to independently control the camera with a separate operator to the remote pilot was a game-changer.
This led to a huge influx of people joining the industry with smaller, cheaper and more capable aircraft. The PfCO drone course was also becoming more cost-effective each year which allowed more people to invest in using this new technology for commercial purposes.
Trough of Disillusionment
This is the stage we are currently in. Drones have become smaller, more capable and more powerful than ever before. The majority of people now know that drones are a very useful tool and this has led to what some people believing as the industry becoming more saturated.
Individuals who have bought a drone hoping to make a fortune are now fed up and wondering why they are not a millionaire overnight. New individuals are seeing this disappointment and thinking that they have missed the boat.
This is where the industry is starting to mature as people have to start to realise that you now need a plan for your business and you can no longer 'just get a drone and website'.
It's now all about marketing and making yourself stand out from the crowd of other DJI Mavic and Mini operators.
Have you seen our 'How to build a successful drone business' Sales and Marketing Course? It's a 6-week online training programme that guides you through how to successfully market your services using the techniques we implement throughout our own company.
Slope of enlightenment
On the 31st December 2020, the rules and regulations for drone flying chnaged. They became less of a barrier and helped to open up the industry to a new wave of people and industry uses. The requirement for a formal qualification to operate commercially disappeared and all operations became about risk.
Drones are becoming more of a necessity or tool and this will help to expand the industry once again as more and more people start making use of the technology. With an A2 CofC, it is possible (with the right aircraft) for people to do small low-risk operations such as taking property photography or roof inspections without having to close down roads.
Plateau of Productivity
The last stage is the plateau of productivity. We are transitioning to this stage now we have adopted the new rules and regulations and as soon as a new wave of certified drones appear. These new drones will enable operators to utilise far better permissions (A2 CofC) for low-risk operations and this, in turn, will lead to a steady influx of people entering the industry once again.
We will see a delineation between those who use drones as a tool and therefore only require it for a small percentage of their work versus those whose business is based on their usage of drones such as aerial cinematographers.
As more and more industries realise the potential for these aircraft, the drone industry will steadily increase at a more gradual rate, well into the future with the usage of drones further permeating into more industries.
Drones are here to stay. However, as with any business, it will not make you rich overnight. If you join the industry now or decide to stick with it then you will be best placed now the ‘slope of enlightenment' is taking hold.
The newly certified drones that allow you to fly in the Open Category will be a game-changer for the industry and will mean that those who want to fly as a hobby can do so, and those who want to fly commercially don't always have to spend a fortune on training.
It's going to be an interesting and exciting 12 months as we wait to see what the manufacturers will release and how consumers and industry will exploit the new regulations for their own personal or commercial use.
Frequently Asked Questions
From the 31st December, in the UK you will need to do the Drone and Model Aircraft Registration Education Service as a minimum if your drone is between 0 - 25 Kg and has a camera. If you want to get better permission to fly your drone closer to uninvoled people you may need to do an A2 CofC drone course or a GVC drone course and get an Operational Authorisation from the CAA.
Yes, but you may need to get a certificate or authorisation from the CAA is you need to get closer to people with larger drones.
In 2022, for a balance of quality and portability, you can't go wrong with the DJI Air 2S. However, if you prefer to have a manual shutter then you may want to look at the DJI Phantom 4 Pro+ V2.