Are you a drone enthusiast thinking about career opportunities in the drone industry? This particular article might help you to figure out an entry point. Real-estate. Yes, you can start your commercial flying in the real-estate industry. You won’t even need a team to start and can work as a freelancer. Let’s quickly get to what all you need to know to kick-start.

Type of work 

You’ll need to go to the place with your drone, capture aerial images and probably a video of the property, come back to your studio, process the images, and share the final product with your client. It will be used for promoting the property for sale. Thus, it will showcase your photography/ videography, editing, and flying skills altogether. These properties could be housing developments, business complexes, hotels, malls, and many more.

Drones to start with

You need not spend on a very high-end drone for real-estate photography. You can start with a basic drone with 12 MP resolution for still images and 4k HD video recording. Drones like Skydio 2, DJI Inspire 2, Mavic 2 Pro, and Phantom 4 Pro are widely used for the job.

Post production/ processing raw images

You need command on an editing software, as these edited pictures & videos will be part of your final deliverables. There are a lot of options available, Adobe’s Photoshop, InDesign, and Lightroom are the most common go-to options for photo editing and Adobe’s Premiere Pro, Apple’s Final Cut Pro used for editing video footage. There are free versions available for a few with limited options (good for a start), and going forward you’ll need to buy a licensed software at some point for smooth and more professional work.


Always define your deliverables from the very beginning of your project. Having a clear discussion with your client about your offerings is always appreciated. Define how many photos or videos you are going to provide. Will you be providing just digital copies or prints are also included. Will you be sharing all the raw photographs?

How to price your service?

First of all, there are no standard rates in the industry. It will vary with the location and the skill set you have. But if you add up all your initial costs and try to cover it in the first year of your business, that’s a good start. The initial cost majorly includes your whole equipment cost, insurance, software license, training courses that you have taken to up-skill yourself, and marketing costs.

You can charge an hourly rate to your clients or can create a package. The hourly rate usually ranges from as low as $30 and goes up to $250 or even more depending on your experience and the demand in the market. A package is priced on deliverables and not the no. of flight hours. You can create a scope of work and reduce or expand it based on the client’s budget. Again, not standard but generally pilots charge $75 to $150 for 5 to 15 fully processed images and add another $50 to $125 for 1 to 3-minute video. If you foresee high travelling cost for a project, make sure you mention it separately to the client.

Additional tips:

If you are a beginner in commercial flying, try to find real-estate agents or property owners in your area and do a free of cost photo-shoot for them. This will help you in creating your portfolio and possible connections for future paid work.

Create your website, showcase your portfolio, and put the clients’ testimonials. You can also print business cards. Doing these two basic things makes you look professional already.