elchacho

Why should I start a drone business?

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Hello, brand new to the industry.  Just passed my 107 and was preparing to purchase a p4p and start my own business utilizing the abilities of the p4p, and drone deploy, on the cheap just like everybody else.  I don't have a day job and my experience in construction and facilities maintenance has been hands on labor type.  Lost a fair amount of use in my right arm for good so no more hammers or drills or heavy lifting etc.   So since passing my test I've been reading non-stop and can't  seem to find anyone who knows their stuff that thinks it's a good idea.  Surely someone is paying the bills with a p4p out there, right?  I'm learning about the limitations of the products, I won't produce survey grade anything, won't be legal, will be for informational purpose only.  Agricultural applications  seem possible depending on all the usual factors that pertain to demand, ROI, competition, quality of deliverable' s.  I've worked on farms and know some farmers and plan to contact an agronomist or 2 and learn what data they require.  I'm moderately familiar with what's growing when. So the smart people on this and my other forum say do one thing well, but without using all the device can do, photography, mapping, crop health, I feel as though I would be restricting my ability to generate income.  Can't a person be good at all those things?  Also, if I was going to do only one thing and become the expert, the p4p probably isn't the rig, right?  So I'm reading all the horror stories of failed attempts and heeding the warnings of, well, every single one of you, but I still want to become a provider and be self employed.  So if you're out there and have any stories of success I'd love to hear them.  Also I would love to hear more horror stories about failure and misery and why under no circumstances should I do this.  As depressing as they are, they're extremely helpful in my decision making process.  Thank you all very much, this site is great.

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5 hours ago, elchacho said:

Can't a person be good at all those things? 

We live in a society where everyone knows how to do everything but hardly anyone has done anything.  Depends on how you define good.  

If your a farmer and you know how to ground truth a field, what to do with the information once you have it and your just running out of hours in the day then a drone might extend your reach enough to get you through your day more efficiently. Is that a business?  Depends on what you know about farming and how you can interpret the data.  

But if you don’t know anything about farming and buy a P4P and you think you can compete with the 15 year old kid that just purchased P4P, think again.  You can join the long list of dead drone companies.  

Part of the challenge with precision agriculture is that the farmer has to know what to do with the data once it’s collected. Much of that knowledge come from direct experience or from Universities.  If you know how to interpret the data in a way that farmers perceive value from your report you can make money. But if you can’t then how long will it be before those responsible for these feedback loops come up with the answers?  

 

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That's good advice.  I was a hired hand on a 14,000 acre farm for awhile, so I'm not completely ignorant on certain crops and practices.  Accurate interpretation of the data and solutions is very important to my model.  There are a million other people trying the same thing with the same equipment as me so the quality has to be the highest possible for a toy and cell phone operation.  Thanks so much for the excellent feedback, I really appreciate it.

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@Av8Chuck "We live in a society where everyone knows how to do everything but hardly anyone has done anything." 

So true!  It's amazing how many paper experts and egos exist (in all industries) but have absolutely zero experience.

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@elchacho My advice would be to really put some time and effort researching what industry you want to focus on as well as the market that exists near where you live. You might be focusing on the wrong industry. Once you've done some research and have identified an area where drones are applicable - and that there is a market to buy your services -, then and only then would I decide which drone to buy. Don't forget to look at all your operating expenses (website, marketing, computer, hard drives, drone batteries, insurance, etc) when deciding if making the jump into being a full-time droner is a wise investment at this point in time.

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A drone is a tool, nothing more and nothing less, its a method of getting data that all it is, and for many applications it’s not even the best method either. 

Many people go ohh drones I need to get In to that and that a fast route to failure, the guys who are successful are either the ones who got in early and are now established  or are the ones who had a problem like how am I going to get that image or that data and the drone solved that problem.

The aircraft its self can only make money if you know what to do with the data it collects, flying to just gather data and hand it over to someone else is a road to nowhere, over the years I have been in many industries and the key has allway been leveraging the expertees I already had and work out how that can be brought to the table in the new one, this is no different. 

This indistry from a general AP point of view has been in a race to the bottom with many commercial operators falling to the wayside after just 12 months, the guys who are surviving are the ones who offer a service that sets them apart, they are using their previous experience and expertees to offer a product or service that sets them apart, it don’t matter if it be mapping, general AP or agriculture you have to show you can do something the others can not, even if that’s just being good.

Think how you can use your experience in construction to your advantage then decide how you can use that and offer something others don’t and something people want, and finally sometimes people don’t allways know what they want untill you show them too ;)  

 

Good luck and I sincerely believe you will do well :)  

 

 

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With farm commodity prices tanking the past 1-2 years, it's hard to make a case to farmers for increasing the cost per acre calculation.  To make it pay for itself you're going to need quantity which makes things even harder.  With different crops planted at different times and the window for actionable data gathering sometimes quite small, farm data gathering is going to be a tough haul.   I live in the midwest and I don't see farmers jumping on the drone bandwagon around here.  Maybe if you live in an ag area with more specialized crops/orchards you might see better reception from the producers, but not small grains farmers.

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Hi elchacho, why not check out this thread where we discuss the fact that the drone is not the business. It might help you a bit. See you over there. 

 

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Hi, I have been in the construction industry for 35 years and have lots of experience on all types of buildings.  I purchased 2 Mavic's I inspire 1 and a p4 pro plus  I am also now a level 1 s UAS thermographer. from ITC.  I purchased an zenmuse XT.  I now inspect all types of building facades with visual and thermal.  Anything from 1 story to 50.  I also work with architects for more detailed reports for large cities.  This type of application is endless.  So many and so much to inspect.    southwest Ohio

Edited by Herman H
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