Should a pilot just do one job or multiple jobs?

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I've been thinking about just doing mapping but then I thought about doing mapping and inspections or just mapping. I think one job will make money come slower but more than one will make it come faster. But there's some of the jobs that look difficult to do and I was just thinking about doing the ones that I think I can do. But if I just do mapping will that be a good source of income or will two drone jobs be better?

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@Scott Grimm Diversity is a good thing as it will allow for a more stable workflow, that being said it can be easy to spread yourself too thin. i would suggest finding a few key areas that you are interested in servicing and become an expert in those areas, as time and money allows begin to expand services without compromising the ones you already offer. 

A note on the inspections, to do proper inspections you may need to be certified and licensed in certain areas, it may be beneficial to act as a contracting service to an inspection company that already has these so that you can focus on the flight and producible without needing to be an expert in say signal transmission antenna and chemical analysis of decaying materials, etc. 

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Well the inspection courses would be type specific and most likely within your state, ie you may need to get certified in inspecting roofs, or cell towers, or other specifics (not for the drone but for the actual inspection) As to courses i would highly suggest starting out here with the UAV Pilot Training @Alan Perlman, has a great insight into learning how to fly, and fly well , as well as the more advanced Aerial Mapping course from the fellas over @Lewis@IcarusAerials

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No I'm not even a pilot yet I'm just getting started into this drone pilot stuff. But I know you need a license, 333, COA, drivers license or medical certificate. I just want to know when I do become a pilot how can I get into a drone inspection job. And I don't understand anything about clients 

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@Scott Grimm Ok so i am not sure if i had articulated my point in a clear concise way before... so hear it goes:

Lets separate what you are interested in doing into two sections. It sounds like you would like to do aerial inspections utilizing drones, so ill go with that. This is going to require you to become an expert in two different areas; 1) UAV control, piloting, photography, and video / data capture (being able to fly the thing with out endangering yourself others, or property. 2) Inspections - how do you inspect, what are you looking for, etc.

1) Flying and utilizing drones for data capture - 

    This is where you will need to master control, orientation, manipulation, and data capturing, this means practice and time up in the air. I would wholeheartedly suggest looking at the courses Alan and the folks at UAVcoach have cooked up, i can say from personal experience they are quite good. This would include the basic competency course as well as the advanced imaging / photogrammetry course (sorry i am blanking on the actual course names right now). these will give you an introduction to the legal aspects, the flight mechanics, as well as how to properly get some advanced imaging techniques. In order to operate commercially you will need a pilots certification (sports or above), a 333 exemption granted by the FAA for your business to operate, a certificate of airworthiness (COA), an N-Number for the aircraft, Insurance, and yes a medical or valid state drivers license.


2) Inspections -

     This will be a whole separate set of learning and possibly paper work with the government or testing facility depending on the type of inspection you will be conducting. If you want to inspect roofs, you'll need to know how to inspect roofs, if you want to inspect pipelines you'll need to learn that. Some inspections require you to be licensed with the state, others may not, that is some research you'll have to do when you find your niche. But this is separate from learning how to fly (as of now i do not know of any "drone inspection certifications" that would keep you from needing to be certified in a certain area (say for GIS work) Though in the future that very may well become a thing.

In terms of ways you may be able to start working prior to being licensed for a particular inspection is by acting as a data collector for an inspection company. this would basically mean that they contracted you or your 333 exempt business to do the flight and data recording and pictures, but they would do the actual assessment. Going about it this way would let you focus more on the UAV side of things and less on the various types of inspections, this would also let you work with multiple companies that specialize in various kinds of inspections, while still only having to worry about the UAV side of things.


Hope that helps!

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19 hours ago, Scott Grimm said:

And I don't understand anything about clients 

At the end of the day, this is THE most important aspect of running an aerial services business.

I agree with @RemotelyPossible that you should go after the low-hanging fruit first by identifying those 1 or 2 service areas where you feel most comfortable gaining client experience. It'll take time to develop your client checklists and marketing / sales processes to scale, so the sooner you can start working with clients, the better.

To @Uaviator53's point, make sure you understand the rules/regulations of operating commercially. Might make sense to wait until Part 107 is announced in June / July before applying for your 333 Exemption, particularly since you don't already hold a traditional manned aircraft license.


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