IMann

Franchises...do they / can they work?

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Something has peaked my curiosity...

In brief, we all know that the real and sustainable value in drone operations is the value add of this tool to existing skills and tools. So, I'm wondering where the value add is with regard to drone op franchises. I've seen a lot of adds for these lately (must be a New Year thing), and can only really see a viable business value being for the franchisor.  If the prospective franchisee has an existing profession (eg quantity surveyor) and wants to be the go to surveyor using drones in a specific area why would he/she need this? But if they're just an operator for hire maybe it would be a good idea? I'm struggling to see the benefit. 

Would someone please explain the merits of or drawbacks of anyone entering into a drone franchise agreement. 

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Kind of depends on how the franchise is defined.  When I think of franchises I think of McDonalds...

Clearly there are still holes in the drone eco system, most of the off the shelf drones are closed-vertically oriented systems and the manufacturers have not supported any meaningful reseller channel.  

Most hightech products start out pretty open, expensive and over time the complexity and cost get engineered out at the same time system integrators come to the forefront to integrate that technology into customers workflows. 

That hasn’t really happened in the drone industry so I can see where “franchising” might play a role in filling in some of these holes.  However, I don’t consider a websites that aggregates operators and customers as a viable franchise.  For the most part they’re just connecting the dots with off the shelf consumer drones where’s there’s little to no margin and virtually no system integration value.  

This forces commercial drone manufacturers to not only develop the technology but to also provide the services.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing, we learn a lot about the problems our customers are trying to solve and then build that into a purpose built solution [we are our own systems integrator] but we lack the resources to scale a service organization and we don’t want to be perceived competition for our customers. 

 

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