Even though the Federal Aviation Administration has yet to approve the use of drones for nationwide delivery services, some states allow them for business uses, such as aerial photography and landscape surveillance. Using these relatively small, battery-powered devices, you can obtain photos and high-quality video from a much higher altitude easier than ever.
But with prices usually ranging between $500-1,000 per drone, they’re not cheap investments. In fact, the best way to protect the investment of a business drone is to make it last with proper storage when it’s not in use. This is especially true for people using drones to map farmland, where the drone is stored during the winter or off-season for several months.
If you need long-term storage for a business drone, you should consider renting a self storage unit, provided it comes with the necessary climate control features and security amenities, as well as the right amount of space.
Finding Adequate Space for Drone Storage
“Drones come in many different shapes and sizes,” says FlyWorX, a leader in aerial photography and videography based in Atlanta, Ga. “Some are a few inches wide, and others can be up to six feet in diameter. The larger [drones] can be disassembled to fit in a carrying case that’s about 3x3x3. A small drone, such as a Phantom 2, can fit in a case that is about 2x2x1. These cases often carry the drone, propellers, batteries, cameras, and spare parts together.”
As FlyWorX points out, the one thing to remember about storing drones is that they come with all kinds of equipment, from spare propellers and batteries to charging stations. You also need to accommodate any separate videography/photography equipment, such as cameras, tripods, and portable screens.
When judging how much space you’ll need for business drones in self storage, keep in mind the number of drones being stored and the accumulated amount of equipment. The case and equipment for a single large drone probably won’t require a space much larger than a 5×5 storage unit. If storing more than one business drone, however, a 5×10 storage unit or larger would make sense.
Unit size is also a matter of safety and convenience. If the storage unit is too crowded, it’s difficult to step around drone cases, tripods, and other equipment without knocking them over and potentially causing damage. Also, if you need to grab something quickly from your unit, having more space will make it easier to reach the items you need.
Why Climate-Controlled Storage Is Useful for Drones
What makes self storage a valuable option for business drone storage is climate control. This feature, installed in a self storage unit’s interior, combines an air conditioner, heater, and dehumidifier to manipulate temperature and humidity levels inside the unit. This is absolutely essential when storing items with electrical components, such as drones.
“Electronics stored in [a facility without climate control] may get moisture on the inside of the equipment, resulting in damage from the humidity and temperature changes,” explains Al Gardes, Director of Operations for Elmwood Self Storage in Harahan, La. “A climate-controlled storage unit would keep humidity and temperature the same year-round and better protect electronics.”
When storing drones, FlyWorX says you should also remember to monitor the conditions around drone batteries. “Drones are mostly powered by LiPro (Lithium Polymer) batteries. Excessive heat can damage these batteries, which can be [hazardous] if then charged or used on a drone.”
In addition to being hazardous, using a damaged battery could create unpredictable consequences. For instance, with a damaged battery, the drone may no longer be able to fly. Should the power could cut off while the drone is in the air, it might not survive the fall, which means repairs or replacement.
Other Self Storage Features to Consider for Storing Drones
Finding a facility with good security features may be worthwhile when storing drones. Most facilities have basic security like perimeter fencing, gated access (meaning you need keycards or keycodes to gain entrance to the facility), and unit locks. However, since business drones are expensive, you should look for facilities that also offer more advanced security features, like video surveillance and alarmed units. The combination of these features will better protect your business drone(s) from potential break-ins and theft.
Another feature to think about when looking for storage is 24-hour access. This feature is helpful because not only can you access your storage unit without having to worry about the facility’s hours of operation fitting with your schedule, but you can also stop by whenever you want to check your equipment or grab your drone(s) for quick use.
Why Use Self Storage for Business Drones?
Drones are especially valuable when used for commercial purposes, so make sure your investment is protected during any long stretches of inactivity with climate-controlled storage and storage security.
Be sure to ask your local self storage facility about available unit sizes, climate control, and security amenities so that your drones will be in good shape for flight in the spring and summer.