Consumer drones have begun to downswing in cost tremendously. Drone manufacturers, namely DJI, have begun to create better systems around logistics and supply chain, which drive costs down while the quality of the technology continues to improve. Each day, the disparity between today's basic model drones and yesterday's professional grade drones becomes less and less. This is one of the reasons drones are being adopted into the daily operations of businesses in a wide range of industries.
These industry professionals are hoping to keep up with the competition, but also to keep their costs down as well. In response, business leaders might be tempted to task drone operations on one of their own, supplying the equipment and training, but ultimately saving on costs with freelance service providers.
Like anything though, you get what you pay for and business leaders should strongly consider hiring professionally-trained pilots. The quality of content and information that professional, full-time pilots bring to the table simply cannot be matched without potentially losing a whole lot of time and money along the way.
You Can’t Teach Experience
Beyond the actual flying of the drone, there is much to know when it comes to expert piloting. Effective drone pilots need to be able to read relatively complex maps and schematics, follow coordinates and other fixed points, and have some sort of working knowledge of survey procedures.
This is also true even when using a drone for imaging, as is done in real estate or for other marketing ventures. There is a noticeable difference between amateur video and professional imaging: mainly, the fluidity of the shots. A great drone videographer has an artist’s eye that works in conjunction with practical knowledge of aviation and how the drone moves to deliver the most aesthetically pleasing and smoothest video production possible.
A License to Fly
First and foremost, it is illegal to fly a drone for commercial purposes without a license. That said, licensing has become much easier to obtain due to Part 107 of the FAA guidelines.
So why not just certify someone on your team? For the same reason you cannot trust any average Joe with a drone license.
You must then be careful, even when hiring “pros”, as a lot of licenses have been issued and many of these pilots have yet to fly drones commercially. The big issue and the main reason to hire a licensed pilot with a solid track record of commercial work is liability.
If someone on your team is operating a drone without a license or insurance and that drone crashes, damaging property or harming a civilian, it is going to cost you big money. Even with licensing, the risk associated with lack of experience of someone who has just recently received their certification is disproportionately higher than of a specialist who does that kind of flight work every day.
The Right Stuff
The piloting course and licensing can be earned at a cost. This cost may be worth it to you, but the expenses associated with maintaining and improving your drone may not.
The role your drone plays is only one small facet of your business. For a professional pilot, it IS their business. Someone who flies professionally is going to come with accessories for filming and programs for data interpretation that ensure a top quality product.
Consider this: DJI’s Phantom 4 Pro is a great consumer-grade drone. In addition to the UAV, it comes with a remote, one battery, one case, one charger, and two sets of propellers for about $1500.
By comparison, here is what is needed to operate that same drone everyday in a commercial setting for most industries:
- extra batteries
- an iPad for remote viewing
- software for photo editing or data interpretation (depending on use)
All of these are extra costs that are necessities to most drone uses. Certainly, these are accessible to anyone in possession of a drone and drone license, but as with all things to do with your business, you need to weigh these costs, as well as those associated with risk, carefully before making any final decisions.
Want to utilize a professional drone operator in your business with quality work and without the financial burden or liability? DroneBase is here for exactly that reason. We have the largest network of qualified drone pilots in the world and have flown 100,000+ commercial drone missions completed in all 50 states and over 70 countries. Get started today.