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SarDog1980

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I'm looking into getting my FAA license for drone. I have had some cheap ones in the past but wanting to once licensed drone pilot and good at controlling the drone would like to start a small business now that I'm retired just doing something fun and getting paid to do it.
So the big question is what drone would you think I should invest it?
Any help would be appreciated
 

BigAl07

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I'm looking into getting my FAA license for drone. I have had some cheap ones in the past but wanting to once licensed drone pilot and good at controlling the drone would like to start a small business now that I'm retired just doing something fun and getting paid to do it.
So the big question is what drone would you think I should invest it?
Any help would be appreciated


First off WELCOME to the forum from your neighbor up here in western NC. Interesting screen name... SAR as in Search-n-Rescue?

Just like any other profession you need to chose a path and once you know what you're going to be doing THEN you go out and buy the right tools. You could get started for as little as (base price no extras etc) $999 or you could easily start out with $30K in a high end system with advanced sensors etc etc. Define what avenue of UAS Operations you want to delve into and then you can start sourcing and pricing your tools.

Here's an exert from my "speech" I give to any wanna-be-entrepreneur (in the UAS Industry or otherwise). This one was in response to a request about "what to charge" for UAS services . . .

That's not the type of question that is easily answered on an International (or Country wide) forum (nor should it be).

Business pricing is derived from many variables and most are fairly unique to YOUR business and are fairly "regional". By that I mean what it costs me to operate my company for a day here in western North Carolina probably isn't the same as where you are in Kansas. Giving you my rates could potentially ruin your chances of getting off the ground (pun intended) in the first place. You need to know what is currently "acceptable" in your part of Kansas and it's going to take some effort and time on your behalf to find that out. Also you need to know how much time you're going to be spending in Post Processing, Editing, Finalizing, Delivering etc.

  • We Shoot to acquire DATA. (Travel to site, time at site, travel back to office)
  • We process the DATA at the office.
  • We outsource some of our edits and do some in-house. I know how much each costs.
  • Edited DATA is then processed into our system, named, cataloged, and then uploaded to a secure CLOUD platform for ease of delivery to our clients.
  • Some projects requires Reports, Models, Printing (Large Format Maps), and other time intensive processes.
  • We create invoices, send invoices, and collect payment.
  • We track invoices/payments etc and enter then into our Backoffice system.
  • All of this and then we have to maintain, repair, upgrade, update etc all of our systems (air, ground, IT etc).

We pay for editing software (Video and Picture), Cloud Software, Backup Software, Accounting Software, and Image/Video Delivery software just to name a few. That doesn't even start to touch the software we pay for in terms of FLIGHT and SAFETY.

I've been helping Small Business Owners for several years and the very first thing you should do when considering a business (before you even spend the first penny) is develop a strong and comprehensive Business Plan (BP). I'm not talking about the 1-page template you get on Google but a in-depth plan that includes:
  • Detailed Business Description
  • Market Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Competition Analysis
  • Organization Description
  • Products & Services Details
  • Financial Projections (Cost and Income)


From this BP you'll actually know how much it's going to cost to start the business, how much you SHOULD charge per operating hour, what your competition charges, and hopefully what your local market will "handle" in terms of charging.

It's VERY important to define and understand some key points of your business:
What unique skills (not equipment) do you bring to the table? Merely owning a Mavic and having Part 107 does not make you an Aerial Photographer.

Are you able to provide a quality product that exceeds Johnny's nephew in middle school who just bought the new DJI Mini 2? Your product will be your calling card and if it doesn't scream WOW you're only setting yourself up for failure and a bad reputation. It any market it's hard to overcome a bad rep but in Real Estate (thats one of the most NETWORKING group of professionals I've ever dealt with.) it's even tougher. They talk to each other a LOT! The only thing they won't talk about is sharing their "Secret Weapon" etc. If you're lucky, you will end up being that Secret Weapon one day that helps them save/make more $$.

What is your Cost of Doing Business(CODB) per day? Per Hour?

On top of CODB how much do you need to make each day to stay in business?

A "real" Business Plan takes time, effort, and in some cases $$ to do and do it right. The good part is it could change the course of your business from the start. Example: When we started developing ours, we had an idea of what to charge per "shoot". After we completed the Business Plan we realized our fees were too LOW! We actually started the business WHILE developing the BP and after we completed it we significantly increased our rates. Strangely enough, our amount of business (and of course profit) immediately started to increase. Our rates were not in line with what others doing similar work were charging so by having a LOW rate seemed to imply "Less Quality" or something like that. We increased our rates, did an Ad Campaign advertising new rates, and within weeks we were booking with clients who had otherwise not given us a 2nd look. It's key to note we had a strong background in Photography prior to "Drones" so we weren't starting "green" in both Drones & Photography at the same time. You've got to have something other than a DRONE to stand out in the market. If you don't stand out you probably won't get hired.

Starting any type of business adventure without a detailed Business Plan is a lot like starting a cross country trip with no itinerary or map. Yea you'll probably get "SOMEWHERE" eventually and do some things along the way but it's probably not where you wanted to go and probably not going to be doing what you WANT to be doing.

Good luck :)

Allen
 

dronecyclops

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Welcome to the forum from Indiana the P4P is a workhorse in the industry and able to do mapping as well as photography, it depends on what kind of service you offer as to which drone is best for you best of luck to you
 

SarDog1980

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First off WELCOME to the forum from your neighbor up here in western NC. Interesting screen name... SAR as in Search-n-Rescue?

Just like any other profession you need to chose a path and once you know what you're going to be doing THEN you go out and buy the right tools. You could get started for as little as (base price no extras etc) $999 or you could easily start out with $30K in a high end system with advanced sensors etc etc. Define what avenue of UAS Operations you want to delve into and then you can start sourcing and pricing your tools.

Here's an exert from my "speech" I give to any wanna-be-entrepreneur (in the UAS Industry or otherwise). This one was in response to a request about "what to charge" for UAS services . . .

That's not the type of question that is easily answered on an International (or Country wide) forum (nor should it be).

Business pricing is derived from many variables and most are fairly unique to YOUR business and are fairly "regional". By that I mean what it costs me to operate my company for a day here in western North Carolina probably isn't the same as where you are in Kansas. Giving you my rates could potentially ruin your chances of getting off the ground (pun intended) in the first place. You need to know what is currently "acceptable" in your part of Kansas and it's going to take some effort and time on your behalf to find that out. Also you need to know how much time you're going to be spending in Post Processing, Editing, Finalizing, Delivering etc.

  • We Shoot to acquire DATA. (Travel to site, time at site, travel back to office)
  • We process the DATA at the office.
  • We outsource some of our edits and do some in-house. I know how much each costs.
  • Edited DATA is then processed into our system, named, cataloged, and then uploaded to a secure CLOUD platform for ease of delivery to our clients.
  • Some projects requires Reports, Models, Printing (Large Format Maps), and other time intensive processes.
  • We create invoices, send invoices, and collect payment.
  • We track invoices/payments etc and enter then into our Backoffice system.
  • All of this and then we have to maintain, repair, upgrade, update etc all of our systems (air, ground, IT etc).

We pay for editing software (Video and Picture), Cloud Software, Backup Software, Accounting Software, and Image/Video Delivery software just to name a few. That doesn't even start to touch the software we pay for in terms of FLIGHT and SAFETY.

I've been helping Small Business Owners for several years and the very first thing you should do when considering a business (before you even spend the first penny) is develop a strong and comprehensive Business Plan (BP). I'm not talking about the 1-page template you get on Google but a in-depth plan that includes:
  • Detailed Business Description
  • Market Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Competition Analysis
  • Organization Description
  • Products & Services Details
  • Financial Projections (Cost and Income)


From this BP you'll actually know how much it's going to cost to start the business, how much you SHOULD charge per operating hour, what your competition charges, and hopefully what your local market will "handle" in terms of charging.

It's VERY important to define and understand some key points of your business:
What unique skills (not equipment) do you bring to the table? Merely owning a Mavic and having Part 107 does not make you an Aerial Photographer.

Are you able to provide a quality product that exceeds Johnny's nephew in middle school who just bought the new DJI Mini 2? Your product will be your calling card and if it doesn't scream WOW you're only setting yourself up for failure and a bad reputation. It any market it's hard to overcome a bad rep but in Real Estate (thats one of the most NETWORKING group of professionals I've ever dealt with.) it's even tougher. They talk to each other a LOT! The only thing they won't talk about is sharing their "Secret Weapon" etc. If you're lucky, you will end up being that Secret Weapon one day that helps them save/make more $$.

What is your Cost of Doing Business(CODB) per day? Per Hour?

On top of CODB how much do you need to make each day to stay in business?

A "real" Business Plan takes time, effort, and in some cases $$ to do and do it right. The good part is it could change the course of your business from the start. Example: When we started developing ours, we had an idea of what to charge per "shoot". After we completed the Business Plan we realized our fees were too LOW! We actually started the business WHILE developing the BP and after we completed it we significantly increased our rates. Strangely enough, our amount of business (and of course profit) immediately started to increase. Our rates were not in line with what others doing similar work were charging so by having a LOW rate seemed to imply "Less Quality" or something like that. We increased our rates, did an Ad Campaign advertising new rates, and within weeks we were booking with clients who had otherwise not given us a 2nd look. It's key to note we had a strong background in Photography prior to "Drones" so we weren't starting "green" in both Drones & Photography at the same time. You've got to have something other than a DRONE to stand out in the market. If you don't stand out you probably won't get hired.

Starting any type of business adventure without a detailed Business Plan is a lot like starting a cross country trip with no itinerary or map. Yea you'll probably get "SOMEWHERE" eventually and do some things along the way but it's probably not where you wanted to go and probably not going to be doing what you WANT to be doing.

Good luck :)

Allen
Yes it's for Search and Rescue I was a sar medic for the USCH
 
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SarDog1980

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Welcome to the forum from Indiana the P4P is a workhorse in the industry and able to do mapping as well as photography, it depends on what kind of service you offer as to which drone is best for you best of luck to you
I want to be able to give what ever the customer wants or needs but just starting out or what the market is calling for
 

BigAl07

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I want to be able to give what ever the customer wants or needs but just starting out or what the market is calling for


UAS Operations is a very broad category to say the least. What client/market are you going to target? There is a huge difference between marketing to Real Estate clients and Corp Energy clients in terms of equipment and expectations of a finished product.
 

rolling56

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I'm looking into getting my FAA license for drone. I have had some cheap ones in the past but wanting to once licensed drone pilot and good at controlling the drone would like to start a small business now that I'm retired just doing something fun and getting paid to do it.
So the big question is what drone would you think I should invest it?
Any help would be appreciated
I wouldn't buy anything until you pass your part 107. First things first.
 
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rolling56

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Heck I wouldn't buy anything before completing the business plan - compared to that the pt107 is childsplay :)

Great post @BigAl07
Some things come easier for other people. Maybe this person has a degree in business. The 107 will teach/give him an idea of how to pilot a drone and business plans doesn't. You're new here ;)

BigA107 has replied to more than one person. Which one are you referring too?
 

racervt911

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First off WELCOME to the forum from your neighbor up here in western NC. Interesting screen name... SAR as in Search-n-Rescue?

Just like any other profession you need to chose a path and once you know what you're going to be doing THEN you go out and buy the right tools. You could get started for as little as (base price no extras etc) $999 or you could easily start out with $30K in a high end system with advanced sensors etc etc. Define what avenue of UAS Operations you want to delve into and then you can start sourcing and pricing your tools.

Here's an exert from my "speech" I give to any wanna-be-entrepreneur (in the UAS Industry or otherwise). This one was in response to a request about "what to charge" for UAS services . . .

That's not the type of question that is easily answered on an International (or Country wide) forum (nor should it be).

Business pricing is derived from many variables and most are fairly unique to YOUR business and are fairly "regional". By that I mean what it costs me to operate my company for a day here in western North Carolina probably isn't the same as where you are in Kansas. Giving you my rates could potentially ruin your chances of getting off the ground (pun intended) in the first place. You need to know what is currently "acceptable" in your part of Kansas and it's going to take some effort and time on your behalf to find that out. Also you need to know how much time you're going to be spending in Post Processing, Editing, Finalizing, Delivering etc.

  • We Shoot to acquire DATA. (Travel to site, time at site, travel back to office)
  • We process the DATA at the office.
  • We outsource some of our edits and do some in-house. I know how much each costs.
  • Edited DATA is then processed into our system, named, cataloged, and then uploaded to a secure CLOUD platform for ease of delivery to our clients.
  • Some projects requires Reports, Models, Printing (Large Format Maps), and other time intensive processes.
  • We create invoices, send invoices, and collect payment.
  • We track invoices/payments etc and enter then into our Backoffice system.
  • All of this and then we have to maintain, repair, upgrade, update etc all of our systems (air, ground, IT etc).

We pay for editing software (Video and Picture), Cloud Software, Backup Software, Accounting Software, and Image/Video Delivery software just to name a few. That doesn't even start to touch the software we pay for in terms of FLIGHT and SAFETY.

I've been helping Small Business Owners for several years and the very first thing you should do when considering a business (before you even spend the first penny) is develop a strong and comprehensive Business Plan (BP). I'm not talking about the 1-page template you get on Google but a in-depth plan that includes:
  • Detailed Business Description
  • Market Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Competition Analysis
  • Organization Description
  • Products & Services Details
  • Financial Projections (Cost and Income)


From this BP you'll actually know how much it's going to cost to start the business, how much you SHOULD charge per operating hour, what your competition charges, and hopefully what your local market will "handle" in terms of charging.

It's VERY important to define and understand some key points of your business:
What unique skills (not equipment) do you bring to the table? Merely owning a Mavic and having Part 107 does not make you an Aerial Photographer.

Are you able to provide a quality product that exceeds Johnny's nephew in middle school who just bought the new DJI Mini 2? Your product will be your calling card and if it doesn't scream WOW you're only setting yourself up for failure and a bad reputation. It any market it's hard to overcome a bad rep but in Real Estate (thats one of the most NETWORKING group of professionals I've ever dealt with.) it's even tougher. They talk to each other a LOT! The only thing they won't talk about is sharing their "Secret Weapon" etc. If you're lucky, you will end up being that Secret Weapon one day that helps them save/make more $$.

What is your Cost of Doing Business(CODB) per day? Per Hour?

On top of CODB how much do you need to make each day to stay in business?

A "real" Business Plan takes time, effort, and in some cases $$ to do and do it right. The good part is it could change the course of your business from the start. Example: When we started developing ours, we had an idea of what to charge per "shoot". After we completed the Business Plan we realized our fees were too LOW! We actually started the business WHILE developing the BP and after we completed it we significantly increased our rates. Strangely enough, our amount of business (and of course profit) immediately started to increase. Our rates were not in line with what others doing similar work were charging so by having a LOW rate seemed to imply "Less Quality" or something like that. We increased our rates, did an Ad Campaign advertising new rates, and within weeks we were booking with clients who had otherwise not given us a 2nd look. It's key to note we had a strong background in Photography prior to "Drones" so we weren't starting "green" in both Drones & Photography at the same time. You've got to have something other than a DRONE to stand out in the market. If you don't stand out you probably won't get hired.

Starting any type of business adventure without a detailed Business Plan is a lot like starting a cross country trip with no itinerary or map. Yea you'll probably get "SOMEWHERE" eventually and do some things along the way but it's probably not where you wanted to go and probably not going to be doing what you WANT to be doing.

Good luck :)

Allen
That is by far the greatest, most comprehensive, and realistic advice I have ever seen regarding starting a drone business! Thankfully for me I didn’t go too far down the wrong road before reading it. Your advice is greatly appreciated and won’t be wasted!!!
 
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Ajkm

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While producing a business plan is certainly key to where to start, I would advise looking at (and completing) a Business Model Canvas. This is a slightly different approach based on identifying key target markets and the Minimum Viable Proposition (i.e. the lowest deliverable that you can get people to pay for). It then engages in iterative design, to increase the MVP by adding to it.

There are many sources of information about the BMC available with a quick search, so here's just one: Business model canvas - Business design tool - Business Models Inc.
 

BigAl07

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Some things come easier for other people. Maybe this person has a degree in business. The 107 will teach/give him an idea of how to pilot a drone and business plans doesn't. You're new here ;)

BigA107 has replied to more than one person. Which one are you referring too?


Ummm while I do reply to many people on here, every single reply in this thread (by me) is/was directed to the OP so it should be safe to assume all roads (in this thread so far) lead back to SarDog1980.

The member you're addressing has been here since October 2020 so that's not exactly "new here" and he/she gave some very solid advice none-the-less.
 

Ajkm

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Some things come easier for other people. Maybe this person has a degree in business. The 107 will teach/give him an idea of how to pilot a drone and business plans doesn't. You're new here ;)

BigA107 has replied to more than one person. Which one are you referring too?
I think @BigAl07 has replied twice to the OP - as shown by the quoted portions of the OP's post/comment?

I also think the suggestion to create a business plan/BMC before deciding which drone to buy is absolutely the correct advice. I'm certainly not clear on how preparing for the Part 107 (or the Basic or Advanced Exams in Canada), both being theoretical and regulatory in nature, teach anything about how actually to pilot a drone.
 
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