FaceBook drone groups offer great impartial advice, it is always great to ask questions, but observe the etiquette of the group, and remember that group members compete for drone jobs, it pays to read between the lines.
1/. Free Advice - Before you buy gear, sign up to a Drone FaceBook group, members offer great impartial advice for free.
2/. Pre-owned drone gear - FB Drone Group members often offer great deals on secondhand gear, as members trade up to purchase of new technology. Either buy secondhand gear to learn with, before you commit to purchase of latest tech, or buy the latest tech to take full advantage of superior technology. Make sure you have plenty of batteries, battery recharger, and memory cards.
3/. Insurance - FaceBook group members will guide you on how to insure for liability and to protect your investment, which companies to use, which companies not to use.
4/. Training - FB Group members can advise on what companies offer the best training in your area.
5/. Getting Work - FB Group members can advise you on where to find work. Most drone operators get repeat work and referrals. I have seen some comments from FB Group members that paid membership sites don’t always offer value for money. Keep in mind that group members are potential drone job competitors, so read between the lines.
6/. Getting Paid - There are a few rouge companies that exploit rookie drone users, who pay late or don’t pay at all - FB Group members will advise you on best business terms of payment, and using copyright stamps on aerial images to protect your work pre-payment.
7/. Weddings - Perhaps 80% of wedding photography doesn’t require drones, wedding photographers have excellent people skills; wedding guests won’t buy photos that are unflattering. Many wedding photographers have purchased drones to do the odd aerial view. If you do weddings, always have business cards available to hand out to guests, referrals are very important.
8/. Property Surveys - Surveyors have time / budget restraints so pay top dollar to have drone operators available at critical times, e.g. when the architect is on-site. Many real estate agents now offer indoor drone footage for virtual viewing during Corvid Lockdowns.
9/. Thermal Surveys - require more technology, so job requiring sophisticated equipment may justify higher charge rates.
10/. How much to charge? - Depends on competition, alternative methods to achieve the same result. Somebody who wants a drone to check his roof for missing tiles maybe willing to pay for convenience, but if you charge too much, he may just get his ladder out of the garage! Alternatively, drones can save contractors significant costs, so consider the savings your service provides. Don’t forget to factor in cost of drone equipment, depreciation, insurance, training, licensing, travelling costs, and total time with travel and operations at $XX per hour. Keep in mind though that you may have competitors; if your charge rates are too high, you may loose clients for good.