Last Thursday, we hosted a webinar for UAV operators and business managers who are in the early stages of launching commercial drone operations (you can watch an on-demand recording here).

Nearly a thousand entrepreneurs from all over the world peppered us with questions for over an hour, so it was a good thing we had three drone industry experts presenting with us: Andrew Dennison, COO of LIFT Technologies (you can read Andrew’s expert advice on setting up a drone ops workflow here); Dallas Vanzanten, Owner of CloudD8ta; and Michael Singer, CEO of DroneView Technologies.

We didn’t have nearly enough time to answer everyone’s questions, but we got a great sense of the challenges facing those of you who are just getting started.

We’ll be following up on your most frequently asked questions in a series of blog posts over the next several weeks.

First up, we received dozens and dozens of questions around finding customers and marketing. In fact, 36.6% of our attendees said that marketing is their biggest business challenge. In such a new field, there’s a lot to learn about serving customers and increasing market shares, so we’ll be coming back to this topic again.

Knowing where most of the customers are now is a great place to start.

According to a Goldman Sachs research report, the vast majority of commercial drone applications are centered on two industries: construction and agriculture. Goldman estimates that by 2020, the market for drone jobs in the U.S. alone will be $1.3 billion for construction and $1.4 billion in agriculture. Those are huge market sizes and may provide guidance for drone operators looking to specialize in a certain industry or wondering which types of aircraft and imaging software to invest in.

There’s something to be said for specializing. You learn exactly what your customers want and you develop the experience necessary to deliver it.

Of course, there are plenty of other industries with lots of market potential. These include insurance, various energy sectors, journalism, and real estate.

Check out the infographic below (and here’s an interactive version with specific numbers). And if you’re looking for best practices, be sure to click the graphic to download our new eBook, The Essential Guide to Launching Commercial Drone Operations.


The Global Market for Commercial Drone Operations [Infographic]