At this point in time, most anyone with serious interest can save up and buy a drone. Whether it’s one of the miniature, almost toy-like drones that are available as budget options for low-key amusement, or a full-fledged quadcopter with HD video capabilities and advanced features, there’s sure to be an option that suits most people who would like to have a drone. While this may be the case, however, it’s also still true that the truly high-quality drones – the ones behind some of the most impressive videos we see and functions and capabilities we hear about – are very expensive.

Indeed, Drone Deliver profiled some of the best drones under £500 as high-end options, and while it’s true that £500 can get you quite a lot on the drone market, it still won’t come close to covering the best and most expensive options on the market. Now, whether or not anyone actually needs drones from this expensive end of the spectrum is up for debate. Barring professional needs, a drone over £500 is overkill for most consumers. Still, it only helps the drone market and the development of improved drone tech if the best options become more accessible to the masses, so to speak. So it’s worth wondering now and then how that might happen.

The passage of time would seem to be the only realistic answer, which is to say that as the years go on, we’d expect drones that are now £1000 or more to come down closer to that under-£500 price. However, this may simply not be the case. The data shows that drones are getting more expensive, not less – which means we may have to consider if there are other ways in which drones could be made more affordable. Incidentally, looking at some other factors – existing payment plans, digital payment schemes in other industries, and established means of making expensive products available – we can in fact envision some other ways by which pricier drones can be made somewhat more accessible.

Publicised Payment Plans – You may not realise it, particularly if you’re reading an article like this, but there are actually payment plans already for some of the nicer drones on the market. This isn’t so unusual for modern tech (just think about how people pay for the latest iPhones), but it’s something that receives little to no publicity. A little bit more advertisement of the fact that high-end drones can be purchased with instalment plans rather than sticker-price payments might just make them appear more accessible to thousands of interested consumers.

Pay-by-Use – This is an idea we’re pulling from another tech industry altogether – specifically, that of casino-style arcade gaming online. Because these games involve real money and deposits and bets made over time, sites and apps hosting the games have had to be creative about offering secure and appealing payment methods. One thing they’ve come up with is the ability to pay by phone, which is to say that accumulated payments simply wind up on a user’s phone bill. This is almost an old-school idea, but a brilliant one for expensive tech purchases, and one that could be applied creatively to drones. We haven’t seen anything like it yet, but imagine, for instance, that you could have a high-end drone with just a small down payment, open an app connected to your phone, PayPal, or bank account, and pay as you use it – funnelling a bit of money to the company that made the drone by minutes used, until it’s paid f
or. It’s an idea we hope to see in practice.

Rebate Options – A rebate can refer to a lot of different things, but in this context we’re discussing it as the simple concept of partial refunds being applied over time. It’s an original idea (as far as we know) but something we can only imagine working very well for the drone industry, at least for a time. Drones, more than most modern tech, rely on demos and examples in order to appeal to consumers. People want to see what they look like in flight, what kind of pictures or video they can take, and how easily they can be controlled before the buy them. As a result, you’d be hard pressed to find a serious drone vendor that didn’t have photos and videos all over its site and/or social media channels. This is content that has to be paid for – so why not pay for it by giving rebates to existing customers? The idea is simply that people could pay full price for high-end drones, but have agreements in place to make back small amounts here and there by contributing video or photo content to the company they bought from.

For the most part, these are all hypotheticals and suggestions. But given that the drone market remains prohibitively expensive for some, at least at the high end, it’s worth thinking about the different ways in which we could see payments evolve in this still-emerging market.