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Showing content with the highest reputation on 08/12/2018 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    This is a great thread deserving of resurrection... How have all of your efforts panned out over the past 10 months? Aerial Alchemy is growing fast, we’re up to nine employees and looking to hire more. Not that the number of employees equates to success. But we’re certianly trending in the right direction. I believe our approach is similar to what many have mentioned in this thread. Although we have had to build out a significant infrastructure it was our sales and engagement with customers first that necessitated it. It’s interesting that by taking a sales or customer engagement first approach we seem to have built in a lot of value into our technology and services. We initially considered manufacturing and selling drones, “but a funny thing happened on the way to the forum” commercial customers didn’t seem to want to purchase drones. They kept offering us bigger and better opportunities to provide the service. Once we accepted that we were more likely to be successful as a service provider a lot of good things started to happen. When about the time this thread started it was a struggle to figure out what we wanted to be when we grew up, now I can’t wait to get to work and think everyday is a great day to be in the commercial drone business. I hope everyone is trending in the right direction.
  2. 1 point
    Hey Michael, My sister lives in Palm Springs, I also Produce TV events for the Hard Rock, the Morongo and for the Wounded Warrior Golf Tournament at the Cimeron Golf Course. I teach for Unmanned Vehicle University and for the Los Angeles Trade Tech as mentioned about. I have access to a massive flying field in Rancho Cucamonga, its off the 210/15, Only an hour from downtown Palm Springs. I also will be teaching late fall at Palm Springs Prep. There are many places to fly outside of the Palm Springs International Airspace. 1st and foremost you can head to the Salton Sea Area. Pretty much from Coachella/Mecca down is unrestricted airspace. You can also look across the 10 to Desert Hot Springs. However right now its to hot to fly in the Desert, 1st the drones really should not be flying when its over 85 degrees, its bad for the motors, batteries, and your tablet or phone. "which by the way will stop working if it overheats" and in the summer its also too windy out there. However in the fall, me and my students take some "drone safaris" out into the desert to get some killer videos, pics, and while we are at it, have some great tail gate food and drink.
  3. 1 point
    I’ve done most of what you have suggested. Plus I have diversified. I shoot stock footage for sale on shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and Getty images. I’ve partnered with a local pro photography store and I teach a Drone Photography class. I have several sources of income for the business. There are many other ideas I have to branch out further but there are only so many hours in a day.
  4. 1 point
    Hi Kirk...you're not alone....over 50% of my competition is flying illegally and I would think it's a safe assumption that all legal pilots are faced with this dilemma.....my old school knee jerk reaction is simply...education....you're not gonna change basic human nature....if an owner/operator doesn't care to cast off their ignorance you're most likely not going to be able to change what is probably a life time character trait. However, in my humble opinion you do have a few choices....one, move to a new market place that affords you a more level playing field. I had lived in So Cal for 40 years and am very familiar with the beach areas and beach folk can be a "beach"....two, compete via low price specials, you need clients and if you are dead set on the beach areas then don't be dead in the water, force your competitors to meet your ridiculously low priced specials, perhaps that will get you in the door and you may be able to cultivate a client relationship....it's always about the money 1st and quality second (in my experience) even if your the best photographer out there.... .....and three....prepare a simple but informative flyer or brochure with FAQ's that will detail out the FAA regs and how it could affect a thriving business. "What they DON"T know can hurt them"....but you'll need to do it in person...mailers or the internet won't work....you'll need to somehow get the right persons attention, press palms, stroke egos and leave them with knowledge they didn't have.... Tedious, yes...hard work, yes...but either you educate those who care, price your competition out of existence or search for better marketing opportunities....There are probably more choices out there but I can't think of any right now, perhaps this humble post will get the creative juices flowing from some of the other members... I've notice that except for Alan and a few other long time members most of the dialogue under this post is from newbies like myself...I'd sure like to hear from some of the more seasoned owners re your post... I come from what is commonly referred to as the 3M environment...You Move up, Move over or Move out!...But when all the rules of ethics and law are ignored, then it's time to be (legally) creative to exist in said environment...you gotta get tough....you gotta think outside the box....what are these illegals NOT doing that they should for their clients but you will when it comes to service or provide some kind of service they can't or won't...find a weakness...the "ART of SUN TZU"....it's corporate combat you're in right now and you'll need to learn how to employ the best combat techniques....know thy enemy....I don't know if I'm helping but I'll leave you with ...don't give up....find a niche, a service or something your competitors can't provide...perhaps that's the key?.....lc
  5. 1 point
    I think one of the challenges of running a UAS company is getting away from the mentality of being a UAS business and more of end product service provider that offers a full spectrum of services beyond the flying system. When I started 7 years ago it was all about the drone. That was for the exact same reasons AV8Chuck mentioned. You could not just get one that was easy to fly and ready to go with some minimal setup. You were soldering and integrating components to try to piece together a reasonable platform to do a job. You did not have to be an engineer. However, you needed to have some technical understanding on how the systems worked. You were constantly tuning and tweaking the systems to handle a variety different operations. To get quality components came at a cost. Even with the top grade hobby components, you did not have a true professional system. Our first camera gimbal was driven by belts and pulleys attached to hobby grade servos. The quality of the stabilization and the camera movements were very poor. Even when you had the system tweaked to the most optimal settings you had to a bunch of post stabilization to do. This is not the case anymore. I can do ten times the professional work now with a Phantom 4 Pro than I could with the very first large octocopter that I started out with. Because of this, the barrier to entry in the equipment is low. And due to the 107, the barrier in the regulatory environment is also low. The price of admission all around the board is very low. When you have a low barrier to entry to any market you now have to step up your game. You have to provide the end product better than the guy down the street. This means you need to understand the fundamentals of what you are trying to do better than the other guy. Many novices trying to get into this do not understand that. They think if they get their 107 and go out and get a Phantom or like drone, put a website together that clients will come flocking to your door. That is simply not the case. In many cases most newbies do not know how to even use a camera without being auto functions. Many times I laugh when I see posts where they do not understand why their photos or videos do not come out looking vivid or crisp like some other guys post. So the lesson there is if you are looking to do aerial photography. Learn photography and become a photographer if that is what you want to do. There are lots of tutorials online and lots of local photography groups to join and learn the concepts. If you think you do not have the aptitude for this, partner up with someone who does. This same concept goes to the other applications of these. If you want to data gather for mapping, get with someone who knows that aspect and get appropriate equipment. This goes my point as a new challenge and that is internal hiring to established job. Now because the barrier to entry is fairly low. A particular industry may decide it is more cost effective to use a drone for an already established function. The power company who already employs a staff to do line inspections and understand all aspects of it. They may see more benefit in simply investing in the equipment themselves and getting their staff trained to handle the flying appropriately. Now this is in flux at the moment as there is not enough data out there to truly gauge the cost benefit ration of doing one versus the other. On the surface it looks very low. Now they will have to factor in what makes for their business model. Does it make sense to spend $300 a pop for a bunch of employees top get 107 cards? Now you are talking having to possibly set up an adhoc flight department with a competent manager who handles all of the back shop regulatory issues and is the oversight. This is probably necessary to ensure your staff is properly trained and is being held to the arduous standards, so they do not go out and do something that could result in fines. Plus large scale operations will need an internal standardization and safety system to lower insurance premiums. The FAA sort of has set this system up with having the responsible person to adhear to the provisions of waivers and airspace COA's. Now now that manager maybe someone currently at a supervisory level, or it may require an additional hire. These are the unanswered questions. Maybe if you do a lot of inspections, like 100 in quarter in your system. The cost of an additional service provider could run a couple thousand a pop for each inspection plus the labor that you are already providing on site. It may make sense to get a competent flight manager at a reasonable yearly salary to develop and run flight department. If you run a shop that the volume of that work is fairly low it may make sense to get the outside guy. You require him to have a good liability insurance with a named cert and waiver of subjugation and he does the job cheaper than doing it internally. Those are the cost benefit that will need to be done to find the optimal outcome. In the mean the Drone Service Provider will be somewhere in the middle.