Lincon

Drone Pilot-Lucrative or not?

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Hello everyone,,

New to the drone world and I'm a bit confused about the state of the job. From other parts of reddit, news articles, and several, several websites people talk about how ridiculously lucrative being a drone pilot is, that for a comparatively small entrance fee (a drone, and remote pilot's license), you can make quite a bit of money. In fact most sources on the web I've found show salaries between 100000-400000 dollars a year especially for commercial (construction, surveying, mining jobs, etc) use and those that get further certifications like quality assurance, insurance, safety, and thermography certs. And then I find this subreddit and posts about how much drone pilots make and you guys seem to be all doom and gloom. The price for simple aerial photography is dropping and I've seen several of you guys say plunging headfirst into a drone pilot career isn't a good idea, only getting a few hundred per job or something, but I've only seen you guys use real estate job examples. But it seems contrary to everywhere else on the internet, so help me out? Is it because most people on here are involved in basic aerial photography and not more lucrative jobs like surveying a construction site or checking thermals for any broken pipes in a building, etc? Or is it just that this subreddit is extremely small and the majority of drone pilots aren't on this subreddit? Or most of the professional drone pilots haven't taken to travelling for the job and just stay in one place? It's just odd, being that this is a very new career, with the certification only coming about 2 years back, with almost no one knowing about the career enough to commit to being a pilot, it makes it SEEM that this should be a brand new exploding job and pretty much everywhere else sends that message.

I'm a tech oriented kid that really has no idea what to do with their life, wasn't able to get into college and am currently just working a crappy out of high school minimum wage job. Looking for any lucrative opportunities to pull me up by the bootstraps, found drone pilot a while back and I was shocked with the low start-up fee for a ridiculous return in investment. Can it possibly be that good, or will it be much harder than Ive been led to believe?

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Hi Lincon,

Quote

 In fact most sources on the web I've found show salaries between 100000-400000 dollars a year especially for commercial (construction, surveying, mining jobs, etc) use and those that get further certifications like quality assurance, insurance, safety, and thermography certs.

In the 3 years since Part 107 became active, there are over 70,000 folks that have gotten the certificate.  Are there high paying jobs out there?  Probably a few.  Are the majority of the jobs available paying between 100-400k?  I'm afraid not.  Please post any of those sites that make this claim.

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Yah, this is a super loaded (but always fun to wax philosophical on) question.

Replace "drone pilot" with "painter" — there are licensed and insured painters that get stuck in Craiglist / Thumbtack-land where it's a race to the bottom, and the painter can only sustain small paying gigs here and there. But then there are painters who stick with it and keep honing their craft. They know more than all other painters in their local geography. They've built a large network, have an impressive portfolio, online marketing presence and offline sales process and strong client delivery SOPs. They're painting commercial buildings and getting longer-term and larger contracts.

OK, maybe not the best analogy, but I'm trying :) There are a myriad of opportunities out there. But, just getting certified and buying a drone won't get you any business. There's no easy money in this (or any service-based?) industry.

It's the months and months and months of networking and business-building that'll make one pilot successful vs. another. I continue to be amazed by our students that are out there hustling and finding great work. The opportunities are out there. But they won't be handed to you on a silver platter.

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