Like most new technology and automation, UAVs (drones) promise us an easier, faster and cheaper way to complete a task. But like most new technologies, the full cost is often not in the initial price tag. With drones, we are offered a less expensive option to renting planes and helicopters, but the true costs can start to add up.
drone myth: they are cheaper to use and operate than other aerial platforms
Yes…and no….it depends. In getting calls about pricing here at Aerial Innovations, we often hear, “Well, I just need a drone, nothing expensive.” and “Wouldn’t it be cheaper with a drone?” The costs associated with the drone far exceed the cost of the aircraft. The prices you see at WalMart, Amazon and on DJI are for just the initial set up.
For professionals, we need to add batteries, ipads, additional controllers, top of the line lenses. Then there are the man hours. For our helicopter and airplane flights, we share the cost across several clients and finish jobs in several minutes. We have much less costly options for still images because we can shoot in volume and cover a lot of ground
For DIYers, the cost is affordable initially. And it’s fun! But the disillutionment sets in after a few crashes, struggling with frequent firmware updates, frustration in managing large files and videos that need additional expensive programs. And that’s even before you start pricing drone insurance (yes, you should have specific drone insurance.) It can add up. So is it cheaper? Maybe not in the long run.
for operators: don’t get dispelled by this myth, you have costs!
Don’t sell yourself short. Licensing, insurance, training, marketing…it all costs money. Just accounting for your time won’t help you last in the market for long and devalues your product. Price the project to cover ALL of your costs and help your clients understand the value you bring by being a professional (you are a professional, right?)