Drone Business Strategies — How to Fly Car Dealerships

Drone U
4 min readJun 22, 2018


Flying Car Dealerships can be lucrative for drone pilots

Selling cars is a cut throat business where the customer has a wide variety of choices. In this tough business environment, smart packaging and innovative marketing can help a car dealership stand out from competition. But this is easier said than done. Dealerships have gradually progressed from traditional marketing techniques to digital mediums such as online ads and email marketing. Using drones is another creative marketing technique that can help a car dealerships establish connect with a prospect. So, how does a drone pilot get business from car dealership?

How to market your drone business to a car dealership

Before you contemplate flying a car dealership, remember this is not an easy job. Because you need to maneuver through tight spots, you should consider these jobs after you have some flying experience under your belt. We recommend flying experience of at least a year.

Start with some basic research. Who is responsible for making marketing decisions at the car dealership? You can easily look up this information on the dealership’s website or through an online directory like Manta. It is always better to call up the concerned person directly in order to get things moving fast.

When you make your sales pitch, highlight your past work. Have you shot footage for other dealerships in the past? If yes, you are at a huge advantage. Sharing your drone footage is the best way of turning a “No” to a “Yes”. If not, do not despair. If you are a newcomer with no experience flying car dealerships, you can consider offering free work in exchange for rights to use the footage.

If the car dealership is already using drone footage, try to see the footage before making your pitch. How can improve upon this current footage? Do you have a better drone and a camera which will help you come up with a nicer end product? Do you have better skills? If the answers to these questions is “Yes”, there is a good likelihood you will end up getting the job. Remember — do not trash competition in a bid to show that you are better. This does not go down well with most clients.

How to Enhance Drone Footage Quality and further your drone business

The most important factor that affects the quality of your drone footage is the time of your shoot. In order to determine the best time to shoot, visit the dealership at different times of the day. When does the main entrance and front sign look the most attractive? Can you get better footage shooting at sunrise or at sunset? Once you figure out the best time to shoot, you will have to figure out the right camera settings and accessories. Do you need a ND filter? If yes, which ND filter will give you the best results?

You should turn on all lights in a car dealership before commencing your shoot — this will bump up the appeal of your footage. Turning on headlights of all cars in the dealership is also a good idea. We also recommend procuring some footage of moving cars. Shooting a moving car will bring authenticity and variation to your drone footage. Our subject tracking course discusses how you can overcome the various challenges of shooting a moving object.

You can also ask a couple of people (who look like prospective clients) to walk through the main entrance. Including this will help the dealership establish an emotional connect with all prospects who enter the dealership. Make sure that the parking lot is neat and tidy. And all cars are properly aligned. If the cars are unevenly spaced, this shall be glaringly visible in your final footage.

Finally, show the dealership in as many cinematic motions as possible. Getting a nice long shot will ensure that you get location based data also. Showing the neighborhood serves a dual purpose — you can highlight the dealership location and increase the appeal of your footage.

Pro Tip — Remember to clean your camera lens before the shoot for best results

Challenges of Flying a Car Dealership

Flying a car dealership is a lot similar to flying real estate — both are obstacle laden jobs. You will need good skills to fly your drone over vehicles and in between vehicles. Often you will need to fly barely a few inches above a $100,000 vehicle. While higher end vehicles have shorter antennas, the lower end cars still have the longer antennas. Take extra care that you do not end up flying into any of these longer antennas. In case you bump into an obstacle and damage your prop, be sure to replace the props immediately.

For this reason, we recommend using the compact Phantom 4 Pro when flying a car dealership. If you own an Inspire, maneuvering your drone through tight spots shall be a greater challenge. And, do not fly without insurance, or you will be personally liable for any damages.

In order to ensure that you do not end up flying over people, you will have to rid the dealership premises of all people for the entire duration of the shoot (1–2 hours). Having a VO will help ensure that no person gets close to the drone during a shoot. We recommend using cones to cordon off areas.

And our last suggestion — If there are high KV power lines in close vicinity, be sure to check for interference using a RF spectrometer. And remember to stay at least 50 feet away from these power-lines.

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