Alan Perlman

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Everything posted by Alan Perlman

  1. Drone School

    Hi Alyssa, great to meet you. What are the goals of the company / course? When you boss wants this to be a 3-hour classroom course and 2 hours of simulator time, why those numbers / constraints? Hard to know what to incorporate into a syllabus without understanding the goals purpose, so if you can share some more details there, hopefully we can help give you some good direction.
  2. Drone Radio Show, Interview with 3DR CEO Chris Anderson

    Well said. More context in some of our reporting over here: Just finished my Monday morning coffee (always the best one of the week) and had a chance to listen to Chris's interview with Randy. Randy has a career in urban planning and asks some poignant questions. Some of my notes: Construction is the second largest industry in the world. It's also one of the least digitized, and because of that there are many highly inefficient aspects of projects. BIM = building information modeling and is one of the big trends in construction right now 3DR's SiteScan software helps capture the data, but the real meat of the software is how once the data is captured, it's then run through photogrammetry engines like Pix4D or Autodesk ReCap. It's also run through analytical tools, volumetric calculations, change detections, clash detections, then ultimately integrates into the rest of the AutoDesk suite. It's an enterprise workflow software. Competitors are SkyCatch, Kespry, Airware, Redbird, Intel...lots of partnerships happening in this space and lots of folks thinking BIM is the big trend in construction. His big bet is that the "deepest integration with Autodesk is going to win." Construction industry has an average of 80% cost overruns. Measuring = more predictability. Maybe demand will come from customers instead of construction companies? Push for measurement and digitization is coming from a few places, not just construction companies. We're now in the "data must be useful" phase of the drone industry. Yes, drones are sexy, but companies are now looking more closely / deliberately at ROI, clear utility. We're going from a 'nice to have' to a 'need to have.' Makes sense. Use of technology like an iPhone or tablet on a construction site has been taking decades. Drones integration will not happen overnight.
  3. Need DJI Replacement Advice

    Won't be at any more shows this year
  4. DJI M600 Complete Package - Price Reduced

    Thanks for posting, Greg. Hopefully you get some bites!
  5. Drone Radio Show, Interview with 3DR CEO Chris Anderson

    Ooh, good share. Adding to list. Do you have any takeaways yet?
  6. Asking for...a friend...this one is a doozy (Refer to Figure 20, area 1.) You're hired to inspect a group of structures that are under construction 9 statute miles (SM) south of Norfolk International airport. What's the highest you're allowed to fly without needing to ask for additional FAA permission? A) 470 ft. MSL B) 853 ft. AGL - this is what we have marked as the right answer, but I'm now questioning it C) 1,200 ft. MSL The tower in question is 453 ft. AGL. While the Part 107 regulations state a maximum altitude of 400 ft. AGL, you’re allowed to fly higher than that as long as you’re within 400 ft. of a tower / obstruction. You’re even allowed to fly up to 400 ft. over the topmost part of that tower. In this case, the height of the structures under construction 9 statute miles (SM) south of Norfolk Intl airport is 453 ft. AGL. If you’re flying “as high as allowed under Part 107,” you’d be flying 453 ft. AGL + 400 ft., or 853 ft. AGL. So the question then becomes, If you're flying a drone at 853 ft. AGL, what airspace would you be in, and would you need authorization from the FAA to operate there? At first glance, the structures sit in Class G airspace at the surface, and Class C airspace from 1,200 ft. MSL to 4,000 ft. MSL. But THEN, someone just pointed this out to me, if you zoom out, it looks like the whole area is actually enveloped in the thick, fuzzy magenta line indicating Class E airspace starting at 700 ft. AGL. So that means, and here's where it gets fun: From the surface to 700 ft. AGL, it's Class G airspace From 700 ft. AGL to 1,200 ft. MSL, it's Class E airspace From 1200 ft. MSL to 4,000 ft. MSL, it's Class C airspace OK, if this is all true, then at 853 ft. AGL, that would be Class E airspace. So here's where I...I mean my friend. Right, my friend. Where he is stumped When you look at the full 624 pages of Part 107 regulations and comments, it says : That's on page 11 in Table 1: Summary of the Major Provisions of part 107. Then, later in the document, one of the section headers on page 329 says: Sounds similar, but this time it says "lateral boundaries of the surface area of Class E airspace." On page 330, we see the same language: Does this mean that if we're flying vertically up into Class E airspace, like we'd hypothetically be doing at 853 ft. AGL in this question, that we would need authorization to be there? If so, then I need to re-write this question. Waddya think?
  7. Hello from Golden, Colorado

    Nice to meet you, @Oatis Green! Drove through Golden back in May en route to some white water rafting. Hoping to stop by for lunch and to tour the Coors brewery next time around Glad to see you in the forum and appreciate the kind words re: our program. Blue skies and safe flying to you!
  8. SkyVector "DROTAMs"

    Hey there, @MedicFL1. Welcome to the forum! Saw that you just registered yesterday. Hope you've found some of these threads helpful. Wanted to hop in here, as I'm seeing some misinformation that's being shared, and the discourse in this thread is getting a little...terse? Please know that you are INCORRECT as far as this goes: If you're operating under Part 107 rules, and you need to fly in Class B, C, D, or E controlled airspace, you need authorization...not from the tower / airport, but from the FAA in the form of their online airspace authorization form. Not sure where you're hearing otherwise. Says so right on the FAA's website. Don't contact the airport / ATC directly. Go through the form. It's pretty straightforward. Class D and Class E-at-surface requests tends to get approved pretty quickly, but the Class B and Class C requests can sometimes take up to the full 80-90 days. Good thing is that airspace authorizations are being issued - last I checked - through June 2018, so it's a kind of blanket approval and I encourage remote pilots operating in their local geographies to look up all the controlled airspace in the area where they'd theoretically be flying in the future, and to go ahead and apply for authorization for all that space. We have tips on how to apply in this airspace authorization guide over here. Also, the FAA facility maps and what's been doing with LAANC and instant airspace authorizations is really exciting. We're moving in the right direction. And as far as the B4UFLY app is concerned, for what it's worth I have yet to talk to a single sUAS operator who actually uses that to do airspace research for commercial flights. Despite the FAA's best intentions, they built it mostly for hobbyists, and the expectations within the app aren't set that well / it's hard to see the kind of Sectional Chart data you need to properly conduct research. I encourage our students to use apps like B4UFLY as a starting point, but at the end of the day, you've got to consult the Sectional Chart directly. I like and - there's also, which has the highest integrity data in the industry and has a cool feature where you can plug in an address to see whether or not you're in controlled airspace or not. Their user interface is a bit wonky, but it's a good research tool, and I know when I'm planning my own missions, I usually use 2-3 resources to make sure I'm covering all bases. There are other flight ops management tools like Skyward, Flyte, that are good for research as well. Hope this helps - please feel free to ask questions as this group is a helpful bunch, many of them expert pilots who've logged dozens and dozens of hours for their clients. Appreciate you taking the time to join our forum and to contribute!
  9. Good approach for coming up with Pricing

    Thanks for sharing, @ScottF! Copying/pasting a lecture I was working on a while back re: the same topic and hope it adds some value to this thread: -- Alright, so in this lecture we’re going to talk about MONEY MONEY. And let’s go ahead and get one thing out of the way….pricing your aerial services is less science and more art. Not only is this kind of service brand spanking new for the majority of your prospects, but in any service-based business model, there’s a LOT of variance in the kind of work you could be doing, what end product you feel most comfortable delivering, specific client needs, etc. So, there’s a lot that goes into determining how much your aerial photographs, videos, and data packages that you provide to clients is actually worth. In this lecture, we’ll run through a few big concepts: What factors influence your pricing? Sample pricing and packaging models (hourly rates, day rates, flat-fee packages) Raising your rates down the road Let’s dive in. What factors influence your pricing? Here are a 10 things that'll influence what kind of prices you can charge for your aerial service work: The end product. Are you selling a block of 50 photos? A 3-minute YouTube video with music? An orthographic map? Each of these command a different type of approach to pricing. If you're doing the post-processing, you've got to factor in that time. Your client. Are you working with a real estate broker on a $575,000 listing? What about the CEO of a construction company bidding for an $8 million project? What about a roofing inspector? Each has a unique situation when it comes to hiring an sUAS operator and their own perceived value of the end product. Your geography. Urban vs. rural, big city vs. small city, other close-by competitors vs. no competitors, etc. Service-based businesses tend to look a little different city to city. Your competition. This isn't as important as you might think, but it's still a consideration. All else equal, what are your competitors charging? Your track-record. This is a HUGE part of your sales process and something I really want to focus on in this lecture. There's a lot to be said for sharing your past client successes, for gathering video testimonials, for putting together an unbelievable demo reel that highlights your best work, etc. Your training / certifications / licenses. If you have a Section 333 Exemption (or some other country-specific license) and are complying legally in the national airspace, you should command a higher price than a competitor who isn't flying legally. If you've gone through a training program or have some other certificate you can share, that also helps. Whether or not you have insurance. Clients don't want to be held liable of something goes wrong. If you can assume that risk with your own liability policy, you're bringing more value to your client. What equipment you're using. While you want to match the equipment to the client and shouldn't simply charge more for using a better system when all else is equal, if the shoot demands a more advanced sUAS, you should factor that into your pricing. Flying a DJI s1000 for a cinematographic shoot is a lot different than using a DJI Phantom 3 Professional to take photographs of a golf course or resort property. Travel / shoot logistics. Do you need to drive more than a few miles to get to a shoot location? Are you flying somewhere and bringing all your equipment with you in travel-proof cases? You've got to factor in travel / your time. There are many ways to think about doing this. Check out MileIQ as an example of a tool you could use if doing a lot of driving for local client work. One-time project vs. on-going work. You might want to offer a discount if there's guaranteed recurring work that'll be sent your way. There are many more ways to think about this, but hopefully that list gets your brain juices flowing. At the end of the day, pricing is closely related to how much trust and authenticity you can build with your prospective clients. That's the most important thing to remember. Should I give my services away for free? If you're just getting started and need case studies / relationships more than money, then YES. If you're still waiting on commercial licensing / paperwork to come through and don't feel comfortable charging under the table but still want to push your business forward, then YES. If you're flying for a close friend or family member and don't feel comfortable charging,then YES. If you've already gotten your first client? NO, absolutely not. The sooner you begin to embrace that you're not just a person with a drone who takes pictures, but a licensed and insured commercial sUAS business who: operates incredibly expensive equipment; takes on the liability if anything goes wrong; handles not just the photo/video/data capture but also the post-processing (using expensive editing or mapping software); has a proven track record with other happy clients; is well versed in all local and governmental regulations and has the proper documentation; and so on... The sooner you can embrace all of that, the more confident you'll be when standing behind your pricing, either on your website / in your marketing materials or directly speaking to clients over the phone or in person. How should I package / sell my services? This is where it gets fun (and creative). The sUAS industry is still new, so your prospects will really be looking to you when it comes to what kind of deliverable it is that you're offering. When I started my first service-based business, I didn't have any standardized pricing. I wanted to move fast and say YES to every project, regardless of its scope. You may see where this is going. That worked out for a while (I was able to generate $100,000+ in revenue my first 12 months), but I soon burned out, and ultimately I wasn't able to scale my company. I didn't have enough processes in place. Everything was customized. Because I didn't "productize" the kind of service I was offering, my sales process was a lot longer. Every new client relationship was different than the last. Every new prospect I'd hop with on the phone in a very consultative way and try to match my services to their particular needs. If you're hungry for cash like I was back then, this can be a GREAT approach. Just...keep talking to the client and take whatever cash you can get for as many projects as possible. But long-term? Without a clear pricing / packaging model, it can be hard to really understand how your business is performing, to build more efficient processes and a stronger marketing / sales funnel, and to ultimately scale your business. Your pricing and packaging model may always be changing...but the sooner you can commit to something standardized, the easier it'll be to communicate that to prospective clients. Why you need to embrace "tiered" pricing. A tiered model lays out multiple options at different price points and empowers your prospective clients to make better, more informed decisions that feel less arbitrary. So, you're presenting option A, option B, or option C to your prospects. It's human psychology. We're just not wired to make absolute price and value evaluations in a vacuum. We need points of reference. A tiered model helps you to anchor your pricing and to appeal to folks that are looking for more value vs. those who want the highest-possible level of service you offer, where cost isn't as much of a concern. Laying out options gives clients a clear way to compare, contrast and ultimately be more intentional about who they decide to award their business to and why. Each option should have a purpose and represent a viable option for the client. You can state exactly what problems you're going to solve and what trade-offs these solutions will entail. For example, let's say you're trying to work with a real estate broker. Your pricing could look something like this: Option A - 10 high-quality aerial photographs Option B - 10 high-quality aerial photographs + a 3-minute YouTube walkthrough video Option C - Package of 5 listings to be used in a 90-day period (selling Option B at a discount if the client buys a block of 5 ahead of time) I'm over-simplifying your service offering of course, but you can see how each of these options commands a unique price. The goal here is to creatively and conscientiously define problems right from the outset, and to empower clients to make purposeful choices about what they really want. What are some sample pricing models? Here's a (work-in-progress) list of aerial service companies who publish their pricing: (pricing link in top-right part of page) You'll see that it's all over the board. Some of these companies promote that they're certified and insured, while others do not. Some of these companies have incredibly designed websites with show reels, a portfolio of client work, and testimonials. Others do not. Here are a few ways to think about pricing / packaging: Charge an hourly rate. You can sell a max "block" of hours depending on the task. As an example, if your hourly rate is $150, and you're driving out to a shoot site, setting up, shooting 20-30 photos on one 15-minute battery, then going back home to do some editing and finalization for the client...that might ultimately run somewhere between 1-2 hours, so maybe you'd charge $150-$300 for that service. Charge by deliverable. You'll note some of the examples above spell out specific deliverables, like "interior" vs. "exterior" capture, or literally the number of photos you'll end up receiving. I personally like how Phoenix Drone Service prices their Construction Monitoring services on a monthly retainer. You really want to think about the deliverable, and what format of end product the client ends up really needing. If they're a realtor who wants aerial videography, you're not just going to shoot a .mov file and send it to them via Dropbox. You'll want to export to the right codec and load / tag the video onto a service like YouTube, Vimeo, or even the MLS (and sites like Trulia, Zillow, etc.). Charge by half-day / day. Some types of projects, particularly more cinematography-oriented ones, require a lot more on-site time and direction than others. If you do this kind of work, it might make sense to charge by the half-day or day. Can I ask my client to pay for travel costs? If you're charging hourly, I don't see any reason why not to include a 20-30 minute drive to and from the site into your scope of work. If you have a packaged rate, I wouldn't tack on additional travel expenses unless you're having to drive or fly more than one hour. *Make sure to track your car/truck mileage with a tool like MileIQ or Passenger for tax purposes How can I increase my pricing? As the market matures, and as your own experience grows stronger, you're going to want to adapt your pricing model. Here are a few things you'll want to have on your website / in your marketing materials to help better justify a price increase: A killer demo reel. You're only as good as your last video. As your skills improve, so should your demo reel. Client testimonials. Don't just get quotes. Get images you can share, links to their website or LinkedIn profile to show they're real people, and video testimonials if you can. ROI / case studies of how your clients actually saved (or made) money by using your services Social proof. An example would be that you should probably share if you've worked with 50+ clients, or that you've flown 1000+ hours, or that you have 400 local businesses on your email list. Local PR / news clippings. Share links to these stories to establish trust and professionalism. Also, you might want to think about locking in your past clients to your old pricing model. It's 1) good for marketing and helps you re-engage past clients, 2) builds goodwill by offering a discount for being an early adopter of your company's services, and 3) puts cash in your pocket when you get folks to commit to new business at the old rates that you might not have gotten with just a simple price shift.
  10. Recreational Night flying and Part 107

    Thanks for sharing, @Jerry Leffen.
  11. Studying for Part 107

    Hey @E Torres, happy to answer any specific questions you have, either about our program or the many other study options you have available to you out there. Like others have said in this thread, ultimately depends what kind of learner you are and what kind of studying environment / approach is going to be the best fit for you. There are semester-long courses, there are week-long training workshops, there are half-day seminars, there are workbooks, private tutors, YouTube videos, and the FAA's own free study materials as well. We fit into the 'online course' option, and even then there are plenty to choose from More on our approach over here: Again, happy to answer any questions you have about studying, about the certification process, etc. You can email me directly at
  12. Licensing

    Check out Drone Law Pro's templates, they're pretty solid!
  13. That's a great way of thinking about it. Thanks for your response, Dave!
  14. Thoughts on the background music?

    This is the feedback we just sent to our editor, great minds think alike
  15. Hi everyone! We're starting to shoot videos for v2.0 of Drone Pilot Ground School... Should we keep the background music? Does it help the video / student experience, or is it distracting / not helpful? Do you not really notice it? Curious what your thoughts are
  16. Thoughts on the background music?

    Thanks @R Martin, @Ed O'Grady, and @Av8Chuck.
  17. Thoughts on the background music?

    Thanks, Dave! I'm 50/50 right now and looking for folks to weigh in, so this is helpful
  18. Need advice getting into wind farms

    Hey! Moved this to a separate thread under the "Inspections" section of our community forum. Can I ask...why wind farms? Do you have a connection / strategic advantage in that particular niche of the industry? What does your Mavic experience look like so far? Do you have a website / portfolio we can check out? I fly the Mavic a lot, great bird. Alan
  19. Pricing for Real Estate Photography

    Thanks for the tip, moved the thread over here:
  20. Training leads

    Helpful, thank you. Check out this guide over here, happy to answer any specific questions you have. I highly recommend reading your user manual several times before flying. What model do you have?
  21. Who will be going to Interdrone in Las Vegas?

    Wahoo! Great to meet you as well
  22. Hi all! Wanted to open this thread up to the UAV Coach community to see who will be going to Interdrone? This'll be my third year going, and the first year for Lana Axelrod (Chief Strategy Officer / wife extraordinaire) and @Zacc Dukowitz (Director of Marketing). If you haven't registered yet, you can use the code FLYIT for $100 off. We'd love to organize some kind of casual event / get-together for you all, so let us know if you plan to be there and we can start to get a sense of numbers. Vegas baby...Vegas!
  23. Need DJI Replacement Advice

    I've got my eye on Yuneec's new H520 system. Great specs, particularly when it comes to mapping missions: