How to Start a Drone Security Company
Historically, the military, private companies, and individuals needing security for a special event have relied on manpower for surveillance. Security personnel walked the area periodically to identify and tackle any security issues. This required significant manpower and left great room for error.
In the early 2000s, however, the military introduced aerial surveillance as part of their security strategy. Personnel and emergency responders gained access to real-time images, helping them identify vulnerabilities and act quickly to mitigate any loss or injury. Increased drone availability and a dramatic decrease in costs over the last decade have made it possible for security companies to now include drones as part of their security strategy.
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Learn how to start your own Drone Security Company and whether it is the right fit for you.
Start a Drone Security Company by following these 10 steps:
- Plan your Drone Security Company
- Form your Drone Security Company into a Legal Entity
- Register your Drone Security Company for Taxes
- Open a Business Bank Account & Credit Card
- Set up Accounting for your Drone Security Company
- Get the Necessary Permits & Licenses for your Drone Security Company
- Get Drone Security Company Insurance
- Define your Drone Security Company Brand
- Create your Drone Security Company Website
- Set up your Business Phone System
There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your Drone Security Company. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
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STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a Drone Security Company?
Initial costs for this business range from $50,000 to over $200,000 and will depend on the clients you plan to serve and the number of employees needed for each contract. At the very least, you will need several drones, which range in price from $1,900 to over $18,000. You will also need to invest in software, additional hardware, computers, and your own on-site security system. With the exception of your drone investment, payroll will represent your largest startup expense. You will need to hire experienced drone operators, employees to man the live feed, and personnel on-site to address any security and/or mechanical issues that arise while performing surveillance.
What are the ongoing expenses for a Drone Security Company?
Like many businesses, payroll will represent your largest ongoing expense. Beyond that, you’ll need to consider the following when formulating your monthly budget:
- Routine maintenance, repair, and replacement of drones and related equipment
- Rent/mortgage, utilities, phone, and internet
- Website maintenance
- Travel expenses
- Taxes and insurance
Who is the target market?
Drones can be used to help monitor parking lots, corporate campus perimeters, college campuses, detention centers, outdoor venues, and events. Your marketing strategy should include all possible business opportunities. Sales pitches and literature should be educational and relatable for key decision-makers.
How does a Drone Security Company make money?
Your drone security business will generate revenue from each property that you monitor. Some clients will require your services regularly, while others will only need security for a special event.
How much can you charge customers?
Pricing for your services will vary depending on the number of drones needed, required personnel, the length of the event, and the length of the contract. When negotiating your price with potential customers, you will want to consider your business’s ongoing expenses, including planning time and personnel needs.
How much profit can a Drone Security Company make?
Since this is still a relatively new sector of the security industry, there is not a lot of information regarding potential profits. However, your standard security company generates between $40,000 and $60,000 annually per security unit. If you use eleven drones at your startup, you stand to clear over $600,000 in revenue. Your annual net profit will vary depending on labor and other ongoing expenses.
How can you make your business more profitable?
If you enjoy working with drones and are looking for ways to expand your business and maximize profits, consider additional ways to utilize your drones when they aren’t surveilling a property or event. Drone operators have found success as filmmakers, photographers, and inspectors.
Offering a drone repair service or hosting drone flying courses could also be effective ways to scale your business. Additionally, given the profitable nature of the security business, you will want to consider expanding the security services your agency offers.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is very important. Read our detailed guide on how to name your business. We recommend checking if the business name you choose is available as a web domain and securing it early so no one else can take it.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your Drone Security Company is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
You can form an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
- LLC Taxes
- Sole Proprietorship vs LLC
- LLC vs Corporation
- LLC vs S Corp
- How to Start an S Corp
- S Corp vs C Corp
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
Besides being a requirement when applying for business loans, opening a business bank account:
- Separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- Makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank or credit union.
Open net 30 accounts
Net 30 accounts are used to establish and build business credit as well as increase business cash flow. With a net 30 account, businesses buy goods and repay the full balance within a 30-day term.
NetMany net 30 credit vendors report to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our best net 30 vendors, guide and start building business credit.
Get a business credit card
Getting a business credit card helps you:
- Separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- Build your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money later on.
Recommended: Apply for an easy approval business credit card from Divvy and build your business credit quickly.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
Make LLC accounting easy with our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
Recommended: Get a logo using Truic's free logo Generator no email or sign up required, or use a Premium Logo Maker.
If you already have a logo, you can also add it to a QR code with our Free QR Code Generator. Choose from 13 QR code types to create a code for your business cards and publications, or to help spread awareness for your new website.
How to promote & market a Drone Security Company
Defining your target market is the first step towards developing a strategic marketing strategy. If your focus is on large enterprises, it may be necessary to hire or outsource a dedicated marketing team. Low-cost strategies such as social media, search engine optimization- (SEO) driven content, and paid ads on Google and LinkedIn should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. Networking, industry involvement, and an informative website will round out your marketing and advertising efforts and help you build a solid reputation in the industry.
How to keep customers coming back
As a business owner, it is important to keep in mind that happy customers are your most powerful advertising tool. To keep your clients happy, you must maintain a high level of professionalism and maintain an open line of communication at all times. Concerns should be addressed in a timely manner, as should inquiries from both current and prospective clients.
Still unsure about what kind of business you want to start? Check out the latest Small Business Trends to help inspire you.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.
Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use. Check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2023 to find the best phone service for your small business.
Recommended Business Phone Service: Phone.com
Phone.com is our top choice for small business phone numbers because of all the features it offers for small businesses and it's fair pricing.
Start a Drone Security Company in your State
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
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Is this Business Right For You?
An individual who is passionate about flying drones and is looking for innovative ways to turn their hobby into a profitable business venture is best suited for this profession.
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What happens during a typical day at a Drone Security Company?
As a drone security business, your duties will be split between servicing your clients and marketing to new customers. When your marketing efforts convert a prospective client into a new contract, you will sit down with key personnel to identify their specific needs. One client may need 24/7 surveillance, while another may need your services for a special event.
Regardless of the parameters of a particular contract, it is important that you walk the property and identify any potential weaknesses. This ensures you identify potential problems and that your client has time to fortify the property based on your recommendations. This also informs your security team of any particular areas that may require special attention.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful Drone Security Company?
If you are considering this unique business venture, you will first want to enroll in an FAA-approved aeronautical training program. At the end of your training, you will be armed with your Remote Pilot Certificate, which is a requirement for anyone planning to use a drone commercially. While not required, a background in security services will help solidify your reputation and ensure you understand the various requirements for launching and managing a successful drone security business.
Individuals hoping to build a successful security business would also benefit from excellent communication and interpersonal skills, business development, and marketing techniques. As with any great leader, it is important that you analyze your strengths and weaknesses and surround yourself with a team that adds value in areas you might be lacking.
What is the growth potential for a Drone Security Company?
The drone security industry is still in its infancy stages. However, its expected annual growth is 20.5%, leaving substantial growth and profit opportunities for entrepreneurs considering this business venture.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Learn from other business owners
Want to learn more about starting a business from entrepreneurs themselves? Visit Startup Savant’s startup founder series to gain entrepreneurial insights, lessons, and advice from founders themselves.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a Drone Security Company?
Before setting out on your business venture, it is recommended that you carefully map out a business plan. The drone security industry is fairly new, with more and more being learned about it each day. Thorough research into market needs, total upfront costs, and effective marketing strategies will help set you up for long-term growth and success.
How and when to build a team
Unlike other startup businesses, it won’t be possible for you to manage this type of business as the sole employee. If you are looking to save on payroll expenses, consider hiring team members on a freelance basis or partnering with another security firm that can furnish you with employees on an as-needed basis. Just make sure that you appropriately vet every team member and perform a background check.
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