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Hi Alan,

Rob Buchanan here, I just wanted to say hello to you and all the other members out there and introduce myself! I must say Alan you have done a Fantastic job of putting all of this information together (website & forum) for us R/C flyers out there to use & enjoy! MANY Thanks to you!  :-)

I have been involved in the IT & video business for 15+ years. Been flying a few different multi-rotor drones (Syma, UDI, HubSan) since last year and recently got a Phantom 3 Pro back a few months ago. I just recently started mentioning my drone services to real estate investors & agents (prior clients) that primarily focus on homes & acreages starting at $500K and up. The response so far has been pretty well received... In early December I applied for my 333 exemption ( I have since received my docket # now just waiting for the final word) My new website http://www.dronewerksmedia.com/ is basically done and I am still tweaking & updating a few minor things here & there (need to add more images & custom footage, etc.) and working on creating a "portfolio" of custom footage and other video examples. I'm already planning to buy an Inspire 1 PRO system as business picks up...

Back in October I became a member of UAVSA http://www.uavsa.org/ then in December I also joined AMA http://www.modelaircraft.org/ as I saw the benefits of each and thought it would be a good idea? I read in their literature that when you become a member of the AMA they will cover you with a $2.5 million dollar umbrella policy when you fly for recreational purposes (under their specified guidelines & safety rules) so I figured this way it basically keeps me covered while I practice honing my technical flying skills as I wait for my 333 exemption approval. I am also currently soliciting a few "retired" pilots that hangout at an airport near me to help with the actual PIC requirements of the current 333 exemption. All the footage I have shot so far has been strictly for "recreational purposes" and to practice my flying skills...  ;-)

Alan what are your thoughts on these two organizations? Do you think it's beneficial to join them and become a member?

I am also currently looking for and researching commercial hull insurance. Question: Can I receive any kind of insurance discount by utilizing a 'Parachute system (MARS) or using a "tether" system?

As for pricing and custom package creation? I'm still studying the overall market to get a better feel for what other aerial drone companies out there are offering, as I don't want to under or over value my services? I would guess it's a better idea to start a little on the high side with pricing, that way if you need to adjust then It's always easier to offer "lower pricing" than it is to have to raise your prices? Any thoughts?

Question: Since the market that I am going after is primarily $500K and up homes & acreages I was recently thinking of creating a floating price scale? something along the lines of 1/2% to 1% of the listed selling price of the higher priced homes? Since each home/property is unique and needs to be presented in its own way. Or would it better to simply have a flat rate per job or hour? I am open to any comments or suggestions as I start on this new Aerial ADVENTURE!

I'm still somewhat of a newbie and just keep flying as much as I can to gain experience and log all the flight hours I can & and practice flying safely for my future clients & customers... Thanks again Alan for all your Hard Work and Dedication to the drone community!

Happy Flying Everyone!
I welcome any comments or suggestions and am open to sharing any tips, thoughts or ideas to help us all become BETTER pilots...

Rob Buchanan
DroneWerks Media
281-384-5287

I couldn't resist Alan as you said to share any projects or current work were doing...
Here are a couple of clips I recently made:

Below are a few "test" sample clips I made while honing my flying skills...

 

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On 1/23/2016 at 1:40 PM, rob buchanan said:

Alan what are your thoughts on these two organizations? Do you think it's beneficial to join them and become a member?

I am also currently looking for and researching commercial hull insurance. Question: Can I receive any kind of insurance discount by utilizing a 'Parachute system (MARS) or using a "tether" system?

As for pricing and custom package creation? I'm still studying the overall market to get a better feel for what other aerial drone companies out there are offering, as I don't want to under or over value my services? I would guess it's a better idea to start a little on the high side with pricing, that way if you need to adjust then It's always easier to offer "lower pricing" than it is to have to raise your prices? Any thoughts?

Question: Since the market that I am going after is primarily $500K and up homes & acreages I was recently thinking of creating a floating price scale? something along the lines of 1/2% to 1% of the listed selling price of the higher priced homes? Since each home/property is unique and needs to be presented in its own way. Or would it better to simply have a flat rate per job or hour? I am open to any comments or suggestions as I start on this new Aerial ADVENTURE!

 

Your website is looking good, @rob buchanan! Thanks for hopping on here and introducing yourself.

I think the AMA, with its prominence in the model aircraft community, is absolutely worth joining. I should be talking on the phone with UAVSA this week to learn more about what they're up to.

I'd think about self-insuring when it comes to hull insurance. Even if you submit a claim for a new UAS, it might take several weeks to navigate the paperwork / claim process. That could be precious project time that you can't afford to lose. I don't know too many people with hull insurance who are flying systems $5000 and less.

When it comes to pricing, check out my thoughts in this other thread:

 

I haven't seen the kind of floating price scale you mentioned before, but I like your creativity! You'll have to test it out on a few prospects to see how they react. Just be transparent and say this is a new industry, highlight your experience / build a relationship and stress value they get at the end of the day, and they'll help you determine what your pricing model and rates will be over time. It'll be ever-evolving, which is exciting.

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Hi Rob, 

It appears your well on your way to developing a viable business and I wish you the best of luck as your continue in this expanding arena. I enjoyed browsing your  DroneWerks Media website and its very inspiring for those of us still kicking the tires and anticipating developing a UAV based services business. 

I live in the greater Dallas area but have plans to be in Houston in June time frame and would enjoy talking shop. Let me know if you open to the idea and contact me at tx.drone.guy@gmail.com

Cheers, 

Greg (Flash) Gordon

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Hi Greg, So Sorry for the late reply! Sure, I think it would be great to meet... Just let me know when you would be coming down to Houston! There are a few great places to fly here! I will email you my contact info! 

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Great snow video! Are you getting pushback from anyone over the residential/neighborhood flights? I know a lot of people are concerned about privacy etc

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Rob,

I've been doing real estate aerial work for over a year now.  I find I get the most demand for still images, not video, as most of the real estate sites here in NJ will not host video for their listings.  I do aerial work as an add-on to my conventional photography business, and I would agree with your focus on larger or high end properties. Here's a link to the portfolio I use to demonstrate the advantages of aerial photography: https://picasaweb.google.com/silkpursepro/AerialPortfolio?authkey=Gv1sRgCMmPj-7Sw-P-fA&feat=directlink. There's also a good potential market in commercial properties - office buildings, strip malls, etc.  I would advise you to talk to real estate agents who represent the kind of properties you want to shoot.  Typically you will be hired by and will work for the agent, not the property owner.  The agent is paid a commission, typically between 2.5 and 4% (your area may be different) of the sale price when the sale closes.  So any marketing expense is an out of pocket expense for the agent, and he/she will not get paid for 6 months to a year after you do your work.  My best guess is that trying to get 1% of the sale price is way too much as that would be a third to a quarter of what the agent will get.  I charge $250 for still shots.  I also work by the day, $400 for a half day, $750 for a full day.  I do not add anything for post production work, which, especially for video, can be pretty time consuming. I also charge travel time for properties further than about 25 miles. Again, the situation in your area may be quite different from mine which is why you should talk to local people in the business.  You may also want to look for people already providing photography services for real estate.  Partnering with them would be a good way to get your foot in the door. Don't make the mistake of thinking your website will be all you need.  Hit the bricks!

As far as insurance goes, I don't think hull insurance is worth the money.  The people you'll be working for will be concerned about liability coverage.  I'm flying a DJI P3A, and hull insurance would cost me about 30% of replacement value. Too steep for me.  I'm covered for $500K liability & I'm thinking of bumping it up to a mil. Not having hull insurance encourages me to fly VERY carefully, and that's a good thing.

Last, let me second Alan's recommendation of the AMA.  They are a great source of information and they have the standing to get the government to listen to them.  They've got your back. Well worth the money to join.

Good luck with your business!  Let me know if you have any other questions. 

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Thanks, Silk Purse!
Great Info! Yes, I am also currently speaking with other realtor's in the commercial arena!
Another POTENTIAL client source is new apartment complexes! We have a TON of them over here and I am now starting to put together a demo reel to show the other rental communities that I am going to visit...

 

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21 hours ago, KHAWK said:

Great snow video! Are you getting pushback from anyone over the residential/neighborhood flights? I know a lot of people are concerned about privacy etc

Thanks for the compliment! So far so good! No one has complained yet! In fact most people actually stop and ask me a bunch of questions, etc. And are generally very nice! One question I do get asked alot is, does the homeowner "own/or have rights" to the airspace directly above their house? I generally say the FAA has that jurisdiction???

What I do tell/remind them is that also the utility companies actually have what's called an "Aeriel Easement" that extends up to about 30-50ft for utility lines/poles etc in most backyards... (a close friend actually works for a Utility company here in Houston and he told me that)

If your reading this thread Alan, could you possibly give us some more insight to that question? (do we actually own the airspace "directly" above our homes?) As I think a LOT of other users here would like to know that answer also...  :-)

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Greetings from another Houstonian!

Just got laid off (along with the other 70%) in the Gulf of Mexico offshore drilling.  Massive industry downturn…much worse than you’ve heard.

Considering pursuing drone options.

I have several laying around and I’m thinking about a new one to master.

With many years of ROV experience offshore and in Nuclear plants, to me, UAVs and ROVs (in and out of water) are very similar in terms of operation and many electromechanical components and imaging.  UAVs are much less expensive.

Trying to leverage my aviation experience (Examiner, ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI, Airplane, Helicopter, Gyro, WSC ratings), along with my extensive engineering / ROV experience and limited UAV experience.

Undecided whether to bother with a 333 at this late stage of the game.  I was hoping that part 107 would be more stringent (less competition).  Not sure what the future holds in store…but seems promising.

Hope we can meet someday and talk flying ;-)

 

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On 3/9/2016 at 4:48 PM, rob buchanan said:

If your reading this thread Alan, could you possibly give us some more insight to that question? (do we actually own the airspace "directly" above our homes?) As I think a LOT of other users here would like to know that answer also...  :-)

The FAA controls the airspace directly above your home. Meaning that if you cut your grass a couple of inches, you're giving the FAA more airspace to control.

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23 hours ago, Alan Perlman said:

The FAA controls the airspace directly above your home. Meaning that if you cut your grass a couple of inches, you're giving the FAA more airspace to control.

check out related...HC, WIG, WJP.. USCG...submersible UAVs may prove interesting reg wise too.

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