“I have always been a free spirit and looking for new challenges,” says Markus Rockenschaub. The now 43-year-old from Katsdorf (Perg district) worked for many years in the marketing department of a bank and also tried out a wide variety of things, including working as a musician, wine merchant and event presenter. In 2015, he took the step into becoming self-employed as a part-time job: the father of two produced films for events – and regularly had to deal with drones. “The resulting video footage was nice. But I was looking for added value.”
Four years ago, Rockenschaub specialized in indoor drone inspection flights, and in 2021 he became self-employed as a drone pilot with his company “Aerovision Drone Support”. He supports companies, mainly from industry, in Austria and southern Germany in inspecting, checking and troubleshooting their systems. His customers include voestalpine, Amag, several energy companies and paper producers. Rockenschaub works with two special drones from Switzerland that are equipped with lights, 3D scanners and cameras. They are controlled by him using a tablet. They are used to inspect tanks, containers, pipes, channels, shafts and lines. According to Rockenschaub, the advantage for customers is the time and money saved: “In the paper industry, for example, there are containers with a diameter of ten meters and a height of 25 meters. Setting these up is a costly affair.” If the drone took over the task instead, these costs would be eliminated and no employee would have to put themselves in danger during checks. The drones are protected with a cage, “after all, you are flying blind.”
Still a niche topic
Rockenschaub wants to buy a third drone soon and use it to open up new business areas, such as hydropower: “The power plant lines from the reservoir to the turbine can be up to a kilometer long.” These could also be inspected using a drone.
Drone flights outdoors are now standard, but indoors they are still a niche topic: “In Austria there are only very few who are dedicated to the topic.”
What was your dream career as a child?
I used to play drums and wanted to become a drummer at some point.
How do you become successful as a sole proprietor?
You need a good idea, a bit of courage, you have to stay on the ball and have a solution ready from which the customers also benefit. If you’re active in a niche, you first have to build up a market – once it’s up and running, that’s great.
How could politics make your (professional) life easier?
There are certainly always opportunities for tax relief. There are many advice options available for people who want to become self-employed, but you have to approach it proactively.