Try it before you buy it has become all the rage these days. When consumers get a taste of a product through personal use, they often decide to purchase it. You’d love to try out a drone before committing to it. How much would you pay to rent one?
Here are the average prices of renting DJI drones for a week:
- Mavic Enterprise Dual drone with Smart Controller: $478
- Mavic 2 Zoom drone with Smart Controller: $311
- Inspire 2 with X4S: $563
- Mavic Enterprise Dual: $438
- Mavic 2 Zoom (no Smart Controller): $249
- Inspire 2 with X5S: $763
- Phantom 4 Pro: $288
- Spark: $127
- Mavic Air: $192
- Mavic Pro: $215
- Mavic 2 Pro drone with Smart Controller: $325
- Inspire 2 with X7: $1,013
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about renting drones. That includes what makes for a good rental company, whether you need drone insurance, where to rent your drone, and if you can get a discount. You’re not going to want to miss it!
What to Look for in a Drone Rental Company
You’re so excited to get your hands on a drone in a rental capacity. This time with a drone can help you decide whether you want to commit to buying one. Alternatively, you may choose to rent several drones to get a feel for which one you like most.
Regardless of your reasons for renting, you want to ensure you get the best possible drone for your money. That begins with making smart decisions now. Here are some factors to keep in mind as you dig into your drone rental options.
Range of Brands
We write primarily about DJI drones here, which is why we included the prices for renting them in our list above. That said, other drone brands exist, and you may be interested in one of them as well. In fact, if you’re comparing brands, then you’ll want to try drones from DJI, Autel, Parrot, Hubsan, YUNEEC, and more.
The company you’re renting the drone from should have a fair range of options from all the top drone brands, giving representation to each.
Two days certainly isn’t long enough for you to get used to operating your rental drone, but two weeks might be pushing it. A flexible rental length is ideal, but even a standard weeklong rental should suit you fine.
Hands down, one of the biggest factors to keep in mind as you select a drone rental company is the price. It pays to research the various companies (which we’ll talk about later in this article) and compare rental costs. This way, you can get a great deal on your rental.
You do have to expect that the rental price of the drone should be commensurate with its purchase price. That’s why some of the DJI drones available for rent that we talked about in the intro are available for $300 to $400 and others $700 to $1,000.
Ways to Pay
The drone rental company should make it as convenient to pay as possible. That would mean accepting credit and debit cards as well as other payment options like Apple Pay or PayPal.
Methods for Transport
In most instances, when you rent a drone through a company, you’ve found said company online. Since they’re probably not in your neck of the woods, the drone must get to you somehow. That’s often through shipping.
The company should not count the time the drone is shipping to you into your rental time, as you don’t have the drone to use anyway.
You also want to choose a rental company that makes it very easy to send the drone back safely and in the best condition. This way, you don’t incur any surcharges or fees for damages.
Should You Buy Insurance for Your Rental Drone?
Speaking of damages, they certainly do happen, right? While you hope you won’t break or crash your rental drone, it’s always a possibility. After all, not every accident is even your fault. Another drone could crash into yours. That other person owns their drone, but you don’t. Now, who has to pay to get the rental drone replaced?
Should you be found responsible for any damages to the rental drone, you could have to pay for the repair or replacement costs yourself out of pocket. You may wonder if you should get the rental insured then. At least this way, you wouldn’t have to cover the costs of everything alone.
We say yes, it’s worth paying a little extra for insurance on your rental drone. The peace of mind this will give you will make your week (or longer) of rental time far less stressful. You can finally stop obsessing over worst-case scenarios because you’ll know that, should one happen, you’d be okay.
Insurance options can cover parts of the drone, such as the hull. You can also get insurance for accidents, whether you caused one or not. Don’t expect your drone rental company to supply this insurance, though.
Instead, you’d have to select a drone insurance company and pay for a coverage plan that way. Your options include BWI Aviation Insurance, Thimble (formerly known as Verifly), DroneInsurance.com, and SkyWatch.AI.
Should You Rent a Drone if You’ve Never Flown One?
Alright, so let’s say you’ve never flown a drone before. You’ve always wanted to try it, but you don’t have any friends or family who are into drone piloting to borrow a drone from. Before you drop several thousand dollars on a high-end drone, you want to practice with one first. To you, renting seems to be the best idea. Is it?
It can be, but not always. We’re not here to burst anyone’s bubble. If you really want your first experience with a drone to be a rented one, that’s your prerogative.
There are several things to keep in mind as you proceed with renting a drone.
You Need a License for Commercial Use
You’re probably not thinking of up and starting a drone photography or videography business if you’ve never even operated a drone before. Also, with a week’s time for the rental, maybe two weeks, you wouldn’t get very far with your business.
Still, just in case the idea crossed your mind, we want to state that you must have a license for commercial drone operation. This license is issued through the Federal Aviation Administration or FAA and requires you to pass a test to obtain. By the time you got approved for your drone license, it’d probably be time to return your rental.
It’s much better to stick to non-commercial uses for your rented drone, such as flying it around your yard, the beach, the park, or the neighborhood.
We do have an in-depth guide to getting your FAA part 107 certificate here if you're interested in learning more.
Choose a Less Complex Drone
Doing so serves you in two ways. For one, it’s easier to understand a more basic drone. Also, these drones are typically cheaper to rent. It’s a win-win!
Foregoing Insurance Would Be a Bad Idea
The most seasoned pros have probably crashed a drone or two before. As a complete rookie, your chances of doing the same go up exponentially. If you were thinking of skipping the drone insurance before because it sounded like too much hassle, here is one instance in which we definitely recommend it.
Yes, that does mean paying extra, but so too would ponying up for the costs of a drone repair or replacement. At least with insurance, you’re not out hundreds, potentially even thousands of dollars on a pricy rental drone you crashed.
The Drone Must Come Back in Good Condition
Another great reason to pay extra for the insurance? When you a rent a drone from a company, they expect you to send it back to them in the same condition in which it arrived.
That’s the case with any rental company. If you were to rent a car or an RV and it arrived with a smashed fender that wasn’t there before, that’d be your fault. Even in the days of renting movies and video games, if your disc came back with a huge scratch, you’d have to pay the difference. Well, either that or not get your deposit back.
Accidents happen, and that’s understandable. Should you crash a rental drone, you shouldn’t hide it. Instead, you should call the rental company, tell them you have insurance, and ask what the best recourse is.
Can You Get Discounts on Your Drone Rental?
Everyone loves saving money. If you want to shave down the prices of your rental drone, you’re going to be interested in getting a discount. Is it possible?
Sure, the rental company may offer discounts or coupons, but it’s at their discretion when it happens and what the discount is. Right now, with the holidays right around the corner, many companies are slashing prices left and right to accommodate for consumer demand during this very busy shopping season.
Even once the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are over, other holidays like Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day are other times of the year to get a good sale. The drone rental company could also reduce prices because of a personal milestone or even just because.
We recommend you track the drone rental company’s website closely. Also, sign up for their email list, read their blog, and follow them on social media. This way, when a deal arrives, you’ll be ready to jump on it.
Which Companies Rent out Drones?
Ready to get renting? We’re sure you are. Here are some of the top companies and brands in drone rentals:
- Blue Skies Drone Rental in Bothell, Washington
- Heliguy in Carrollton, Texas
- Camera Lens Rentals in Chesterfield, Indiana
- US Drone Rental in Chesterfield, Indiana (fka American Drone Rentals)
- Fat Llama , which is an app for renting, buying, and selling anything, not just drones
- The Lens Depot in Orlando and Tampa, Florida
- KitSplit, which operates like Fat Llama
- LensRentals in Cordova, Tennessee
- Drone Pal, which has a membership component
If you’re looking to rent a drone for a week, you may pay anywhere from $200 to $1,000+ on average for a DJI drone. It’s also within your best interest to add an insurance plan to that payment in case you damage or crash your rental drone.
If you were on the fence about whether you should rent a drone, hopefully this article convinced you to give it a try!