Careers in drone industry

I am doing a PfCO with Uplift Drones, I have taken with a view of changing my career to working in the drone industry. I have no work experience that’s relevant to it.
Can anybody throw some light on where I go from completing my PfCO ?
All I know is that after passing my flight asessment, I could work under a companies PfCO but complete my manual to obtain my PfCO.
Is a PfCO and having my own drone enough for this career change?

No mortgage or substantial bills to pay would also help.




And no kids / dependants / etc :blush:

It’s certainly enough for a career change :+1:t2:

However, I worry that if you’re asking this question it won’t be a very long or a very successful career :slightly_frowning_face:

Suggest not giving up the day job until you’re making enough money in drone jobs to cover it.

And save well for winter as you may have no work at all for weeks or months on end (weather, etc).


Having been self employed for the first 20 years of my working life, the best advice my accountant ever gave me is this, if your expected profit does not double your current wage then stay where you are and maybe think about a side line instead.

I’ve always worked on getting sideline to cover the mortgage and its a happy medium.


The question you first need to ask yourself is “what is the drone industry”. I may want to work in the movie industry but as what? Make up? Hair? Acting? Writing? It’s a similarly broad field. Are you looking at thermographic work, surveying, agricultural, search and rescue, videography and so on. To build a “career” you’ll probably need to specialise and that may come with specialist equipment and more training. How’s your geo-data knowledge or thermography skills? Have you got the software for it, or even a PC that can run it?

I’m heading into a small career break through voluntary redundancy, my PfCO is in a few weeks and I hope to make some money from it. I’ll be applying for jobs everyday though. In the UK you could conceivably only get 130 flying days a year so you’d need to be pretty busy to make it your only source of income after you’ve allowed for insurance, travel and so on.

Don’t let this stop you from giving it a crack though, just have a plan b.


My opinion, having run 2 businesses over 27 years.
Sounds like you need to get your feet under the table with the big boys.
Sub-Contracting for Wind Farms (off shore/on shore) Aerial Mapping, Power Line Surveying, General Surveying work, Hyperlapse Photography of Sites requiring it.
Just a few of my thoughts, but, doubt you will make enough without filling in with a bit of “One To One” Flight Training/Tuition, and a few bread and butter jobs.
Good Luck in trying though!.
Promoting your business will be the most important thing to get right !


What about teaming up with a wedding photographer and doing some free shoots to build up a showreal/portfolio? I did that with stills, and it was fun, good experience, but with me didn’t eventuate into a career.

I’m using my pfco as a sideline and I’m getting some interesting work and I’m developing my own niche area based on leveraging what I already know (ecology and technology) and using my existing contacts. From there it’s starting to snowball by word of mouth. However, I’m not trying to pay the bills or live off the income, so I don’t mind a 3 month gap between big jobs, and I can pick and choose. Not appearing desperate to a potential client also goes a long way.

Reach out anywhere you can, offer some estate agents some free work, if they like it you might get more paid work. Join some forums like camera people and film crew sites, advertise yourself there. It’s a scattergun approach to maximise your chances of work, it’ll take time to build.

And maybe ask yourself this: if any muppet can fly a drone these days, what makes my services special?

Good luck and don’t lose heart!


Hi @wavewasp

Try looking up jobs for drone operators- they come up but only in the US! Unless you have an in with an existing business I think you are unlikely to find someone offering you a job.

Like the others suggest, it is a crowded market and whilst there are lots of different areas in the drone industry, it is unlikely to give you a ‘liveable’ income at the start and you will need to invest in your own business to grow.

Probably much like the wanting to become a professional photographer, you are going to have to work and build your skills part time until you have the background and clients to go professional.

But if you want it that much, good luck to you

Very sound advice there.

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They say the quickest way to make money as a photographer is to sell your cameras and lenses.
I’ve been toying with the idea of changing my carrier from IT (at it for over 40 years) to anything to do with drones, but I don’t think it’s realistic .
As an IT contractor , I literally have to spray my cv out - potentially applying for hundreds of gigs when the market is crap. I don’t think the drone industry will be any different . You’ll need a lot of luck to work with the “numbers game”.


I was in the photography game many years ago and it wasn’t good back then. Occasionally a good photo will sell to a newspaper or magazine and give a nice return but it’s not often. Do you remember when videos were all the rage and everyone opened video rental shops?
Then dvd rental shops
Most went to the wall very quickly, without earning the owners a living.
I fear drones will become the same.

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I owned a video shop 1985-1994 it was almost like printing money, then Blockbuster opened in the town and fucked me over ;o(


And now theyre fucked


Seems everyone gets fucked in the end? There’s something profound about that, I think.

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@wavewasp are you still here mate?

Thoughts on the feedback thus far? :thinking:

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E I anio, the farmer wants a drone pilot.

Mail]( for Windows 10

I have no idea what that means…