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This week, I really was surprised when I sent my drone up to inspect my roof.  Late last summer or early fall, I had my roof replaced.  Everything looked fine from the ground, but one day early this month, June 2018, I went out during a heavy rain and noticed that one of four downspouts had nothing coming out of it. 

I knew that I had had professionals install gutter helmet on the upper level, so I was sure I was good there.  However, to save money some 20+ years ago, I put a gutter guard on the lower levels myself.  Those protections have saved me a lot of scary times of cleaning gutters.   In June, I went up on a ladder and discovered that my gutter guard was completely missing--there was no protection at all.  So, the gutter was full of gumballs and pine cones and leaves and no water could flow at all.

So, this week, I sent my drone up to look at the top gutters, and sure enough, there was no trace of the very expensive gutter guards that I had professionally installed.  They had completely been replaced with a cheap plastic gutter cover, and now this spring, they were beginning to deteriorate.  Soon, they won't do any good at all. 

Unfortunately, I cannot locate my receipts for gutter helmet, so it would be my word against the roofer's that I ever had anything there.

Which brings me to the reason for this topic.  I'm wondering if anyone is doing any businesses with roofers, or gutter protection folks, or homeowners?   For roofers, a before and after survey would protect them from homeowners claiming shoddy work.  For gutter protection folks, a scan would protect them from complaints that their gutter protection did not work.  For homeowners, a before-shingling and after-shingling scan would protect them from having to prove that they were getting shoddy work.  The big question is pricing for this kind of job.  It's not likely you could charge $2,000/day for something like this.  It only takes 20-30 minutes to do a complete scan.  Maybe something on the order of $100 or so would cover it and not scare people off.  Maybe that's too low ball, especially for really expensive houses.  It's a thought.

You may ask why I don't do it?  Well, I'm 74 years old and my business days are pretty much in the past.  Also, I would need a lot more practice and flying time to have the confidence to do anything commercially.

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Whoa, that's interesting @NickStan. I'm sorry to hear about your experience. Not sure homeowners would pay a third-party pilot for something like this, but if it was a value-add that the roofing company offered to show the before and after, I'd certainly want to do business with that company over its competitors due to their transparency and commitment to customer excellence. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts over here.

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It gets worse.  The gutter helmet company rep gave me an estimate of the cost of installing gutter helmet (the brand) and came up with a figure of $4700+.  A discount brought it down to $3700 based on 140 feet.  I recalculated the dimensions from the salesperson's drawing (accurate, by the way) and came up with only 104 feet, which should have put the price at about $2800.  So, these guys are making a killing.  Figure $1/foot for the fabricated metal and maybe half a day's work for a crew of two or three.  Their material cost is probably about $200 including corners, etc. 

So, these guys are making a killing--Oh, I already mentioned that, sorry. 

Chop off some for the drone guy, and they are still making a lot of money. 

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Your suggestion, NickStan, is an excellent one. I need some repair work done on my gutter system and will absolutely get some video before and after the work is done. Showing those who provide estimates the video will also show that I can -- and will -- check the quality of their work afterwards. When I get names and phone numbers of references, I may offer to check on the quality of the work performed at their homes for free. I'm a hobbyest flying a Mavic Air. This work would be within my current capability (thanks partly to obstacle avoidance technology built into the drone).

Thanks for your ideas!

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An addition to my previous comment: As the value of drone photography and video becomes better known, I suspect peoples willingness to pay for services like NickStan is suggesting will be more common. I would certainly pay a couple hundred dollars to ensure my $3,000 investment in gutter repairs was done right...OR give the company that provided the service an edge over those who didn't.

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Most current roof inspections by drone are performed as a result of extensive damage in a large area which has recently been hammered by severe weather. This provides those commercial drone pilots who are affiliated with insurance companies the opportunity to rack up as many in one day as possible. I have heard that these cluster inspections generally pay around $50 each and take about 1 P4P battery per inspection or somewhat less. Would love to hear from pilots who have actually worked these types of scenarios to confirm rates and perhaps share wit us how to become affiliated with these insurance companies.

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Although I had done it for myself, I hadn't thought of suggesting, like Harlan did, that drone operators should at the very least use their skills for their own purposes.  Use it for extensive surveys of your own homes and, especially for before-and-after expensive construction projects.  At worst, it would give good flying practice.  Good suggestion about obstacle avoidance.  I'm still learning to trust mine! 

For sure, Drone Driver, it would be interesting to see what experiences others have.

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