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Marketing Yourself As A FAA Registered Insured Drone Operator

January 10th, 2017

Patrick in Texas asked:

I have passed my knowledge test to be a remote pilot but I am not finding a lot in the form of logos/credentials for the certification from the FAA to market with. I mean, I am happy to have it but I really want Realtors to know that up front. Have you seen what anybody else is doing?

Yes, you are right being legal and insured is a big deal! There are probably people out there flying without the certification you have. Don’t depend on the FAA for your marketing materials! Put it out there that you are FAA Part 107 certified to fly commercial drones and that you are insured (if you are). I’m sure Realtors will respect that and are looking for legal drone operators! It’s up to you to use it in your marketing. I see many real estate photographers promoting the fact that they are legal FAA certified drone operators.

What are others doing to promote the fact that you are FAA certified?

Update: As Jason Jones points out below you can check to see if someone is certified at this FAA site.

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9 Responses to “Marketing Yourself As A FAA Registered Insured Drone Operator”

  • First off…congrats on passing that test. It’s not for the faint of heart. I’m part 107 operator and I have insurance like you as well. The liability brokers are putting their clients in by using unlicensed operators bewilders me. Brokers are supposed to minimize liability not increase it. I have gotten many a client by pointing this out. Asking them who do you think there gonna go after when something goes foul with the robotic bird. They go after the people with the deep pockets and they sue everyone. Penny wise & pound foolish is the broker who uses an unlicensed operator.

  • “I see many real estate photographers promoting the fact that they are legal FAA certified drone operators.”

    I see a bunch that don’t make any mention of certifications or insurance.

    There is a video (probably on YouTube now) of a professional skier on a slalom course when a large UAV crashes hard just inches behind him. 1/2 a second sooner and the skier would have been in the hospital (or maybe a morgue). Bad things happen even to the high end operators.

  • Found it:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYFdh1w_n6M

    Maybe a couple of feet instead of inches, but very close.

  • Promote it, Promote it ! I live in Atlantic County NJ and my wife is a test pilot of the FAA, in her building are two others that are heavily involved in the UAS programs. You’re never really going to see the FAA put out a media packet for part 107 licensed operators because they are a regulatory agency. When I put out an email or promotional piece I always try to appeal to the risk mitigation side and say “don’t risk it make sure your pilot is part 107 certified”.
    While the real estate market is one of the obvious markets there are countless others coming into play: Roofers, Golf courses, Bulk land and many others. This sort of goes back to yesterday’s post about a website. If you don’t have a website and don’t list your drone services on it then the people outside your sphere of influence will never find you.

  • I did a local press release and it got picked up and I ended up on the front page of two local newspapers. I wrote the release myself and emailed it to a handful of local media outlets. Only one picked it up, but they have two newspapers that cover my area.

    http://www.southlakepress.com/news/article_c5502aa2-c7b2-5d74-924a-38e3298c0300.html

    http://www.dailycommercial.com/news/article_4c710571-4afe-520c-a001-2912e1d22f1e.html

  • I’m going to use that. What a great idea.

    steven

  • Great topic,

    Sadly I have yet to be able to get an agent/broker to care about certification or insurance. They just want the cheap of the cheap in my area, and no one seems to be certified either. It has also been proven that fear appeals do not tend to work in marketing either. This is a market where people thought they could just tap into if they bought a drone, and its funny how you can tell those who have photo/film backgrounds with a drone and who is just flying taking random pics and video. One broker I approached just went and bought his own phantom 4 and started a media company lol. His work is awful though but he has low prices and connections. Drones couldn’t be anymore of a turn off to me right now but at least all we spent was time and $150 for the test.

    Vic, the press release is a great idea! I might try that one. It would help if the FAA kicked in and made some more examples of people flying commercially without a license.

    I also wish there was an FAA list of operators with licenses but I can not find one. It seems easy to tell who is licensed due to their verbiage. It usually states FAA approved. Were not approved, were licensed, or certified at minimum.

    I am glad I am not the only one experiencing this. Happy Wednesday all!

  • As Aarom has mentioned, I was a former pilot, had a 333 exemption, and now operate on a part 107. I’ve had almost no one hire me over another solely based on the insurance and legality of it. Agents, brokers, and marketing directors all seem to be unconcerned about the legal aspect and operate anyway. They’re relatively inexpensive now and many agencies I’ve found have bought their own. I approach it from the idea that just because it’s from a drone, a proper editing technique needs to be applied to present the best possible photo. Not all photos, drones, or “photographers” present the same quality work.

  • @Aarom there is a database of operators. In fact there are companies using this now to verify 107 credentials before hiring because anyone can say they have them on a website.

    https://amsrvs.registry.faa.gov/airmeninquiry/

    Something else to consider though. 107 regs say a Pilot in Charge with 107 rating must be present. It doesnt say they have to control aircraft. I know several people who only do a couple gigs a year for pay, who just have someone else come along with a 107, stand around and leave when the job is done. Thats perfectly legal as well. So someone may say they operate legally / under 107 / etc. but wont be listed in the database either.

    If the job being filmed commercially under 107 is in a restricted or regulated airspace, the waiver will need a pilots certificate number to be filed. In that case, the pilots number used MUST be present at the shoot, so if an operator has a buddy with a 107 file for a waiver for 180 days, in a popular neighborhood in say class d airspace, so they dont have to wait 90 days for approval when a real estate job needs to be done within 72 hrs, that pilot has to be present each time, or the operator is still breaking the law, despite having the waiver.

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