If you think buying a drone is like buying anything else you’ve ever bought in your life, please read on and get your mind blown.
I own a video production company called Playground located in the SF Bay Area. I buy equipment all the time… from cameras, to lenses, to stabilizers, etc. As a team, we decided to jump into the drone game. It’s a flourishing industry that’s projected to be over a $100 Billion industry by 2020. So we thought let’s do it.
We did our research on which drone to buy and decided on the DJI Inspire 2. Got it on Amazon. That was the easy part.
Here’s where things got crazy.
Apparently buying a drone is less like buying a camera, and more like buy a Boeing 747. The government is all up your ass with what you do with your drone because… IT FLIES! And flying in the air is a big goddamn deal. DJI says, “hey buy this cool drone” but you don’t get how serious it is until the FAA smacks you across the face.
So here are my 5 unexpected costs of buying a drone.
- CRASHING YOUR DRONE ($375 or more)
You’re going to crash your drone. That is an absolute certainty. I’ve bought insurance all my life and never broke anything. Before I even got to 5 takeoffs with the drone, I crashed it. I was afraid it was going to cost $2000 for DJI to fix it, but luckily, they repaired it for $375. Not bad.
- BATTERIES ($300)
The set of batteries you get with the drone last about 30 minutes before you have to charge again. You WILL need a second pair or even a third pair of batteries to get any kind of decent shooting done.
- DRONE FLYING CLASSES ($500)
After I crashed my drone, I realized I needed classes to understand it better. This was invaluable. I learned both the mechanics of flying and all the functionality of the drone. The different modes, the settings, etc. (http://www.dartdrones.com)
- THE FAA PART 107 CLASS ($250)
Apparently, you need to be certified to make money off your drone. I did not know that. So, in order to pass your PART 107 certification, you REALLY need to study. I went on http://www.dronepilotgroundschool.com. The material is incredibly dense, but that site made it bearable. I ended up passing my test with a 97% score thanks to them.
- The FAA PART 107 TEST ($150)
So the actual test itself costs $150. You just go to your local testing center to take it (https://federaldroneregistration.com/part-107-test-centers/). The test is 60 questions and takes about an hour.
BUT, the cool part is… I’m getting pretty good at flying the drone now. Check out my footage: