Well, now you've got me thinking. I hadn't looked at it from that angle before. I'll grant you that if I'm the guy who goes around charging $80 for a complete roof daylight + thermography mission, yeah, that's bottom feeding and bad for the industry. On the other hand, just because DB pays me low rates doesn't mean they're charging the customer low rates. I have no idea what DB gets paid per mission, though it wouldn't surprise me if they're on the lower end just by virtue of the fact that their pilots are drawn from a pool of probably newer drone pilots like me who aren't necessarily that good at what they do (yet). So lower on both the prices and the quality. I don't think that's necessarily screwing the entire industry, especially since they can't price themselves too low, because they've got all the overhead of running a large scale operation, maintaining their cloud services, manning a support desk for the pilots, etc.Build your experience flying your drone on your own time. You may think your doing yourself a favor working for these bottom feeders, but you aren't. What you are doing is screwing the entire industry. You said it yourself, couldn't live on what you would make taking these type of jobs. So why do it?
Meanwhile, I'm benefiting from the customers they find, and the experience I get working to someone else's spec, which is hard to simulate when flying self-assigned missions. I do, of course, practice flying my drone on my own time (heck, it's fun!), so that's neither a plus nor a minus since I'll keep on flying whether I'm taking DB missions or not. Also, as a part-time pilot with a full time day job, it's nice to be able to turn jobs down without worrying about getting a reputation for being unreliable. So for me there are what seem to be tangible benefits to taking DB missions for the time being, and it doesn't seem to me that it's terrible for the industry.
But then again, I don't know what I don't know, so I'll be glad to get your feedback on all this. I'll be happy to reconsider if there's something I don't know about, like if DB is charging really bottom-feeder prices to the end customers or something. And thanks for making me think about this--this is an important consideration I hadn't given much thought to before.