Way back in 2016, Goldman Sachs research projected a $100 billion market opportunity for drones until 2020, particularly from growing demand from commercial and civil government sectors. Today, drones are used in a variety of purposes in different industries: construction, agriculture, insurance, offshore oil/gas refining, real estate, journalism, utilities, mining, and more. The rise of vlogging has also pushed the demand for drones and drone rentals.
One important sector of the burgeoning drone industry is dedicated to drone rentals. Drone rental is growing. Many businesses are being established to serve the growing market of people or establishments who are interested in renting drones for a variety of reasons.
Why should you rent drones?
Drone rental is a legitimate money-making opportunity because many individuals or owners of small businesses don’t need a drone to regularly operate their business. Since buying a drone is a big investment and it also takes a while to learn how to operate it properly, many businesses just decide to rent it whenever they need one. Since each business is different and needs a drone for different purposes, it can also be confusing to choose which drone will best serve their needs. Each business may need to use a certain type of drone for a specific type of job.
Drone rental is a better alternative versus spending money on a drone that will only be used occasionally or even for a one-time thing. Renting a drone will not only give you affordable access to use the technology, but it also allows people and businesses to test out drones in a risk-free way. You can test out a drone to see how it flies and decide whether it’s worth buying or not. Plus, when you rent a drone, you don’t have to worry about maintenance and replacing parts and accessories.
Renting a Drone
Before hiring a drone, it would be helpful to understand the process of renting drones.
Visualize and plan out your shots.
Before hiring a drone, the very first thing that you should do is to visualize and plan out the shots that you want to take. This can be done by creating a storyboard. Figure out the concept with your team and then identify the shots and their sequence. To help you identify the shots, here are 5 primary types of drone shots:
- Aerial pan shot
This shows a panoramic view of the landscape.
- Tracking shot
The drone moves parallel with the person or object being tracked.
- Pedestal shot
This is when the drone moves up to show the viewer a scene from a higher vantage point.
- Flyover shot
This is when the drone flies over a venue or subject.
- Reveal shot
This shot requires the drone to steadily move in a particular direction to slowly reveal something.
Choose the right drone.
Based on the shots that you have identified, you need to think about what drone best serves your purpose. If you don’t know anything about drones, just identify the features that you need: flying time, height limit, range limit, camera resolution, and lens details. Once you provide these details, an excellent drone rental company will be able to provide the best drone that meets your needs.
Look for a reputable drone rental company.
When you’re looking for a drone rental company, check if they have considerable experience in the industry and if they offer a huge selection of drones for rent. Having the latest models is important, but the drone rental company should also stock older models. You should also consider pricing options and locations where the company ships its drones. It also helps if you look at the list of clientele that the drone company does business with. Lastly, it is important to verify if the drones for rent are registered with the FAA.
Choose the drone and rental duration.
Select the drone, choose the dates that you are planning to rent them, and the duration of the rental. Many drone companies recommend that you put longer rental duration than you originally intended just to have buffer time just in case of unexpected delays.
Payment, Shipment or Pick-Up
Many drone rental companies offer insurance policies which will cover for drone damage or theft. For an additional price, you may also select drone accessories to go with your rental. You can either pick up the drone in a specified location or have it shipped to your location. You need to check whether the shipping rates are part of the payment or if you need to pay an additional amount for it.
Option: Hiring a Drone Pilot
If you are not sure how to operate a drone or if you want a professional result, you may hire the services of a drone pilot.
Return the drone.
When you’re done using the drone, you may return it to a physical location or ship the equipment back.
When should you rent drones?
Here are some of the ways that you can use drones:
When you’re traveling to another country whether for business or for pleasure, it makes sense to rent a drone instead of carrying your drone equipment to different locations. On an international flight, it will be a major hassle to check-in your drone equipment because it will affect your allowed baggage weight. Check if the country you’re visiting rent out drones so that you have more room in your luggage.
You can create a compelling marketing campaign using drone technology. Engage your target audience by creating one-of-a-kind marketing videos that speak about your brand. Using drone technology will add a unique perspective to your brand, and it will more likely create an impact on social media.
A farmer can hire a drone in order to monitor his crop. This is a time-saving measure, especially when you need to inspect thousands of acres of farmland. Different measuring equipment can be attached to drones to measure the height of crops, crop density, the health of plants, etc.
Real Estate and Construction
Real estate and construction companies can use drones in a variety of ways. They can survey land and gather information at job sites. Realtors use drones to take videos and images to be used for building inspections and marketing materials. Building inspections can now be done safely and inexpensively using drone technology because drones can take high-resolution, close-up photos of hard-to-reach places such as roof gutters or chimneys.
Photographers and videographers can now take high-quality images and videos of landscapes, sporting events, wildlife or weddings from an aerial perspective.
The best drone renting sites
When you rent a drone, there are many things to consider – including the price, your purpose for renting one, and the kind of technology it offers.
Here is a list of the best drone rental sites:
At the Blue Skies website, you can choose from a wide variety of rental drones and accessories. They have a diverse rental fleet with many options for hobbyists to high-end cinematographers. Customers from various industries rent their drones – agriculture, fire, security, energy, land survey, public service, and more. The company ships to any address in the United States, but international shipping is also available on a case-by-case basis. Blue Skies also offers new and used purchase options and trade-ins. This Washington state-based drone rental company has a great motto that encompasses what they’re all about: “Yeah, We’ve got a drone for that!”
The Lens Depot
The Lens Depot is well-known for ground-based photography equipment. Over the past couple of years, they have also started renting out drones and drone equipment. You can rent drone equipment and they can be shipped all over the U.S. Local pick-up is also available in two Florida locations – Orlando and Tampa. The Lens Depot is consistently high-rated for product quality and their affordable rental rates.
One of the first companies to rent out drones in the U.S., CameraLens Rentals first rented out the original DJI Phantom way back in 2013. They ship nationally to all 50 states, using UPS as their primary shipping provider. The rental period can be customized based on the customers’ needs – anywhere between 1 to 180 days. Founder Barry Jackson says that their company is more than just about drone and drone accessories rentals. They also give expert advice on the best drone to use for a specific situation. For Jackson, it’s all about industry knowledge and excellent customer service. The company prides itself on its expertise and giving honest recommendations to customers. The company also established a sister site specifically geared towards drone rental: American Drone Rental.
Dronepal is a platform that connects individual drone owners with people looking for drones. Whether you are a drone owner or if you need to rent a drone, DronePal will get you connected. The site makes it easy for prospective drone renters because the drones are categorized based on industry: video editing and production, geo-mapping and surveying, film or TV, and weddings and events. Signing up on the site allows you to have access to the services and also to post your own listings.
Lensrentals has been around for more than 10 years. It is the largest online rental providers for photography and video equipment. With the advent of drone technology, this Tennessee-based company has started to rent out drones. They only carry the best drone brand as well as support equipment that users need to get great footage. They rent out DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Phantom 4 Pro, and DJI Inspire 2. They have decided to be very selective about the drones that they rent out because they want to provide high-quality equipment with the best support and best service that they can give.
Just like Dronepal, Fat Llama is also a peer-to-peer rental company. The platform is available both in the U.K. and the U.S. It is best described as an “Airbnb for stuff”. Not only does it offer drone peer-to-peer buying, selling, and rental of drones, it is also a marketplace for cameras, bikes, camper vans, and more. The company believes that sharing is the future, and they are getting people to work together so that it is quick and easy for them to share their belongings. Another great thing about Fat Lama is their unbeatable global insurance policy. A lender will be covered up to $30,000 against drone theft or damage.
Maverick Drone Systems
Maverick Drone Systems primarily distributes drone systems in the US. They are also a premium drone rental company, with a specialized team of UAV engineers and pilots that have over 20 years experience and 1000 hours of RC flight experience. The company has an elite fleet of drones that are equipped with Gas Detection Sensors, UAV Granule Spreaders, LiDAR Sensors, 30X Zoom Cameras and industrial-grade drones that can operate in extreme environments. The company also offers 3D mapping, UAV Repair, and Video production services. They carry major drone brands and accessories: Aerovironment, Autel, DJI, FLIR, Flyability, Freefly, MicSense, Powervision, and Propeller.
If you need to rent drones in the UK, Heliguy is the best rental service company. The company offers short or long-term rental, a wide range of equipment and accessories, and even expert guidance and advice.
Things to Remember
Here are final reminders and things to remember when renting drones:
- No-Fly Zone
You need to follow the FAA’s strict guidelines on where drones are not allowed to fly. First, you shouldn’t fly your drones within a 5-mile radius of airports, unless you notify the airport beforehand. You shouldn’t fly your drone over government facilities, natural disasters, crime scenes, or people’s private property. You also cannot fly drones over sporting arenas or stadiums an hour before, during, and an hour after a major event. Check out FAA regulations before letting your drone fly in the air.
- Drone Height
Drones should only fly below 400 feet. You need to stay within that limit.