Where to go from a license

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So I live in Montana where the only drone work being done it seems like is in realestate... I want to dive deeper, like agriculture and inspections. I've had people tell me to invest in a $10,000 DJI drone that has infared/thermal capabilities, then I'd be ahead of the curve. The only issue is "then what!?" I feel like I need experience under someone's wing for credibility right? Do I take the thermal course along with the other 2 that UAV coach offers? How do I present what I can do with this drone to utility companies? What case studies do I learn from? Jordan


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  • 3 months later...
On 3/23/2018 at 4:50 PM, drone.entrepreneur said:

I'm thinking of creating one, that's why I got on here.

Happy to have you in our forum, but definitely wouldn't recommend building a marketplace :)

Finding the supply—pilots—is easy. There are plenty of us out there hungry for work.

But what about the other side of the marketplace? Finding real paying jobs for pilots.

What's your unique advantage when it comes to driving the other side of the marketplace—demand?

Companies like DroneBase and Measure have raised millions of dollars in an effort to do just this.

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On 12/19/2017 at 12:57 PM, Koppen67 said:

I want to dive deeper, like agriculture and inspections. I've had people tell me to invest in a $10,000 DJI drone that has infared/thermal capabilities, then I'd be ahead of the curve.


It sounds like you need to take a step back and better understand where the real opportunities are in your local area. I'd encourage you to pick one—just one—of these areas you're thinking about, and to go super deep into that area. Spend dozens of hours looking at other companies who are already out there getting paid to do the work, whether or not its industrial inspections, construction monitoring, etc., and start building a target list of companies to reach out to in your market.

I love the idea of finding a mentor to help you out. But that mentor does NOT need to be a drone pilot. They need to be an expert in the industry / pain points you could be addressing as an sUAS operator.

There's a HUGE opportunity to educate and to consult with your potential customers. There's no magic bullet here, just a lot of hard work, persistence, picking up the phone and calling, and learning the pain points and local vocabulary of the industry you're trying to gain traction in.

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Anyone who tells you that if you buy an expensive drone you’ll be ahead of the curve either doesn’t know what they’re talking about or trying to sell you an expensive drone.  By the way, to get a DJI thermal drone that can provide data you can charge for is more like $22K.  Now if you buy one of those from ME, then you’ll be ahead of the curve...(I jest, therefore I am)

That’s some sage advice from  @Alan Perlman, figure out what problem you’d like to solve, determine the value of solving that problem — that can often be really difficult, sometimes you have to go with informed intuition, and then see if you can find people willing to pay for this service.  You don’t necessarily have to even own a drone to figure that out,  it makes it more challenging to qualify the opportunity,  be skeptical of people who say their willing to pay for something  before they have skin in the game.  

Regarding working with utilities, for most utilities you have to be certified, have a security clearance, a boat load of acceptable insurance, acceptable to them, not you, before you can even walk onto their property.  You might be better off finding an engineering firm that is a prime contractor to utilities and sub contract your drone services to them.  It’s still an arduous process to get certified but they become your sponsor with the utilities and help the utility define the requirements and hopefully help you meet them.  

I’m not telling you this to discourage you from trying this, quite the opposite. I don’t think there’s anything more discouraging than spending money on technology only to find that you had no hope of accomplishing what you wanted to do because you didn’t understand what would be required.  The need for this type of work is growing, so there’s opportunity you just need to get yourself in position to be a part of it.  That  DOES NOT require you to purchase a drone and then figure it out.  

Something else to keep in mind, this is where people get mad at my advice, on August 2 of last year the US Army banned DJI, two thirds of the civil infrastructure in the US is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers.  Eventually, you won’t be able to get certified, get a security clearance, or insurance to scan infrastructure.  Power utilities are considers part of our “critical” infristructure and they are beginning to take security much more seriously.  


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