Here at Aerial Image Masters we set our stall out very clearly – we follow the rules. No job is worth risking our licence for – otherwise how would we keep our business running and earn money in the future!
This can mean turning down a large number of requests for work, largely because this is still a relatively new industry and clients are, understandably, not familiar with laws governing commercial pilot laws.
This can mean beginning a consultation for (work) can be a lengthy process of fact finding. Quoting for work can therefore be quite a complicated business. While your potential customer just wants a price, depending on how your business is set up, it can be hard to simply pluck a number out of the air before having a chance to look at the details.
Some great exploratory questions to establish your boundaries are:
- What is the project? This may sound simple, but a client who simply asks for a price list may not be factoring in any preparation time, pre-flight planning, travel time. Often actual flying time is the least complicated part of the job!
- Does the customer already have permission from the landowner/people/site they would like aerial footage of? This can dramatically cut down on leg work and time (and therefore costs)
- Where is the site? Can the customer quickly give you coordinates or at least a postcode in order that you can do your preliminary online site (survey).
- What is their budget? This simple question can quickly help you tell if the client’s vision matches their expectation.
- What is their time-frame? A request for aerial work in a town centre for the very next day will more than likely not be possible, however, if the request is for many days, weeks, or months down the line, this is something that can be quoted for and permissions looked into.
It is useful to have a minimum job price in mind to use as a starting point. And with this price, what is the maximum you would be willing to offer. Would £250 be enough to pre-plan, gain necessary permissions, travel to the site, and get your drone out and in the air? Would you vary the price for gaining stills and gaining video footage? What about providing the client with your results? Do you have in-house editing facilities? Would this be extra?
More and more varying industries are beginning to use drones, and a lot of the larger industries will already have their own policies in place for outsourcing work. This can really help to establish strong working boundaries, as the policies will more often than not, been carefully drawn up along CAA guidelines. This will greatly help clients to understand the level of work that can be involved in each aerial shoot – and because they are following the law themselves, they will not wish to work with drone operators who cut corners.
As with any business, establishing the clients needs right at the outset can greatly assist in establishing whether the work is possible and affordable – but most importantly legal!