July 7th, 2016
I’ve been waiting for Drone Rules/Regulations to be clarified before I jumped in. Time to jump. I’d like to hear some recommendations for a good first time drone buy, important accessories to buy, pricing and service terms for clients, Insurances acquired, and “If I knew then what I know now” start-up recommendations.
Yes, expect that you are not the only one that has these same questions. The new Part 107 Rule announced by the FAA a couple of weeks ago has got a lot of real estate photographers and Realtors thinking about these same things! First of all Part 107 rule is announced but not working until late August.
I would caution real estate photographers thinking about adding drone photography and video to their services to their offering: Drone photography is more difficult and risky than ordinary real estate photography. Go slow. It’s compelling but harder and riskier than it looks.
I’m certainly no expert in this area but I know that there are a number of PFRE readers that have already been through this startup process and can offer us all some advice. One such PFRE reader is Stephen Mann. I passed Ray’s questions on to Stephen and here are Stephen’s answers to Ray’s questions above.
One problem is there aren’t simple answers that work for 3 through 5 below. The answers to these questions are highly dependent on your location. Drone regulations, pricing vary widely between countries and between states in the US.
Here are some basic ideas to get the conversation started:
- What drone to buy: The DJI 3 and DJI 4 are probably the most popular gear. DJI has more than half of the current Drone market.
- Training: Many companies must be scrambling to create training programs for the Part 107 test. I fully expect that there will be many online training classes for the part 107 test. Here’s some info on what to expect. Here is a related video class that Stephen recommends.
- Insurance for commercial operation: To me, this means liability insurance. While it would be nice to also have coverage for your drone getting damaged, I think it is FAR more important to be covered against the damage you can cause. It can cost a lot more. This area is probably evolving rapidly. There appear to be many alternatives when you google “commercial drone insurance”. Here is one that Stephen suggests.
- Pricing for drone services: we’ve actually done a poll on this subject. But there is a lot to consider in pricing that this poll doesn’t get at.
- Terms of Services: there are a couple if issues that you need to cover in your TOS that are unique to flying drones:
- Someone needs to verify that the neighbors to the property you are shooting are notified and OK with your flying over their property. People can get VERY worked up about this issue regardless of what the local rules are.
- There are many weather events or lack of permission to fly from FAA that can cause a drone shoot to be delayed canceled. Your TOS should cover these possibilities.
Since this whole subject is evolving very rapidly I expect that we’ll be revisiting this subject frequently in the near future.
Feel free to suggest resources in all of these areas!