Small Business - Legalities on Quantity orders

I've started a part time company building and selling small drones, such as FX61 Phantoms, multirotors, and custom stuff as needed. (Based on APM/pixhawk, etc)

My question is: I have a customer interested in 10 drones (50 originally, but I can't handle that volume at the moment) I am torn on how to handle this - AFAIK there is nothing illegal about selling them, but that many units makes me wonder if some additional research is warranted? To me, this is a grey area between fun toys and serious hardware. I know the Chinese (and other business) wouldn't bat and eye.

What are your thoughts? Any info is appreciated. I want to grow this business, and would love an order like that - but first and foremost I want make sure I comply with all applicable laws, and don't do anything that would cause myself, others, or the drone community any issues. 


You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones

Email me when people reply –


  • As long as the customer is based in the States you shouldn't have any issues. Its only if you are exporting the drones to country which is on the US sanctions list or the the parts and technology you are using is on the ITAR list. 

    Ideally for such a bigger order you should demand some payment upfront to fulfil the order and have good set of terms and conditions. 

    You can also ask the person buying the drones who will be End User. 

  • I'm the owner of an FAA Part 145 repair station, and I'm branching into drones business.

    If you intend to grow the business,  at some point,..  you may want to form a legal business and have some form of commercial insurance.

    There are local chamber of commerce and  offices that usually offer free counselling.

    I've done it myself.

    Good Luck

  • My two pennies worth - set up bullet proof terms and conditions of sale. Get a lawyer to help you or use one of the standard ones available. Get 100% payment up front before starting any project, buying any materials or even thinking about sending something to the potential customer. Don't offer discounts unless it's to signed-up agents who have established their sales credentials. Never give away samples. We supply stuff to organizations like NASA, ESA, Google etc and even they pay cash up front. Don't be shy about asking for money. If your customer is hesitant then he/she isn't a real customer. If they want to pay a large amount using Dollar bills then walk away. Get payment through electronic bank transfer or one of the large credit card companies. That way you have a legal paper trail. Go and do an MBA. ;-)

  • What is your company name or website?

  • where are you located and where is the customer located?

    • Both in the United States

      • If the customer is not considered a foreign persons, then I don't see the problem from an export perspective. What type of things are you unsure of?

        • I don't know, nothing in particular. Just the current climate of things. Maybe I am just over thinking it. 

          I'm still a novice in this business, and wanted to make sure I'm not missing anything. 

          • Sounds like a good opportunity to me.

            I would suggest you use a purchase agreement that the client signs for this type of order though that spells out things like the return policy, warranty period, and the type of support you will and will not provide and for how long. The customer may decide they want to return all the units after you have spent hundreds of hours building which case I would require at least a restocking fee if not a blanket statement indicating that returns are not accepted for custom builds.

            Also keep in mind that you could potentially be sued if the customer wants to blame you for one of these crashing. It would be good to get some form of liability/product liability insurance if you don't have some already.

            Also, be very very careful not to charge too little for you offerings. Don't forget to take into account things like the time it takes to test, fully document the product, and get all the legal/insurance aspects into place.

This reply was deleted.


DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @SmallpixelCar: Test my algorithm on real car
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @breadcentric: Evo is coming to town. If you have an #AWS #DeepRacer, you can purchase an extension pack! #Machi…
DIY Robocars via Twitter
DIY Drones via Twitter
RT @chr1sa: My talk on PX4 and FAA certification is coming up at 1:45 PST today on the PX4 Dev Summit livestream. Includes some cool new st…
Jul 7
DIY Drones via Twitter
RT @seesharp: I'm tuned into the PX4 / Dronecode free live conference. Great stuff. Microsoft AirSim talk in 10 minutes.…
Jul 6
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @masato_ka: 距離センサを3つとESP32を付けたラジコンカーをDonkeyCarライクにNNで自動走行。3層FC極小モデルをTensorFlow Lite for microcontrollerで動かしてる。機体は借り物でRumiCarって言います。Tenso…
Jul 5
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @SmallpixelCar: My car was able to go all the way autonomously until the crosswalk. It was only 100 yards from the target. What should b…
Jul 4
Liam left a comment on Agricultural UAVs
I'm Liam from T-MOTOR. I would like to reach out to see if there is any possibility for us to work together.
We are a propulsion system manufacturer who offers motors, propellers and ESCs for all kinds of drone applications which vary from secur…"
Jun 30
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @SmallpixelCar: Smart move. The car used the shadow to guide it through the bridge. This was never in the training samples. But it learn…
Jun 30
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @SmallpixelCar: Getting closer to the target. Single camera. Untrained road.
Jun 29
Richard Cox left a comment on Australia
"Anyone in the DIYDRONES Australian subgroup based in Alice Springs, NT?
I am experimenting with Ardupilot (standard Arduplane), Pixhawk 4 FC in a 4-ch
RC "AXN Floater Jet" foamy plane..."
Jun 29
Omar Sykes left a comment on Australia
"Hi everyone, I am looking for someone who is good at drone building, repair and software in Adelaide. Please give me a call on 0477 319 219."
Jun 29
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @RoboticMasters: #donkeycar
Jun 29
DIY Robocars via Twitter
Jun 29
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @RoboticMasters: Donkey car, car car car car car car; Donkey car, car car car car car car; Donkey Car. Anyone like our tiny tiny donkey…
Jun 29
DIY Robocars via Twitter
RT @SmallpixelCar: After improving DBSCAN speed, I can get 11 frame per second on @NVIDIAEmbedded Jerson Xavier MAXN mode and the autonomou…
Jun 26