As a small business owner, I have to hustle to try to drum up business. It’s the nature of the beast. This includes cold calling and finding unique ways to market my services to potential customers. Being a drone pilot, I’m given some unique opportunities, as there is a general sense of interest when someone sees you flying them around. Often times, this interest leads to me generating a quote, and my most frequent resistance is, “Well, I know a guy who’ll do it for this amount…”
The old saying is that you get what you pay for. This is true in anything, but when it comes to hiring a drone pilot, it is even more so.
Federal Regulations Don't Do Much
The Federal Aviation Administration dictates that drone pilots flying commercially must have a Part 107 Certification. This barrier to entry should provide some legitimacy to the professional drone pilot industry, but unfortunately it hasn’t done much. Sure, having a Part 107 means that a pilot has studied and understands the various laws in place related to drone flights, airspace, and other areas, but in reality it’s not all that hard to obtain. We’ve seen several people that we wouldn’t trust cleaning our cars holding Part 107 certificates, and they seem to skirt the law just as frequently as someone who doesn’t hold a license.
The key issue is that federal enforcement of the regulations in place is lacking. You won’t find an FAA representative responding to an illegal action unless a serious incident occurs. This could be a crash, an airspace incursion while a VIP is present, or an invasion of privacy. An investigation is conducted when a complaint is filed, but even then, getting the information of the drone and the pilot involved are difficult. Because of this, enforcing drone laws is hard.
Unfortunately, a bad drone pilot can cost you in more ways than one. Liability for accidents could be on you if the pilot breaks the law and isn’t holding a Part 107 certificate. Even a licensed pilot could cause damage if they don’t have liability insurance, which could see you saddled with expensive legal bills.
A Lack of Skills
A shoddy drone pilot is more likely to break the law, and they are also more likely to provide subpar work. Many pilots are out to make a quick buck, and they will work in a way they feel is more efficient, putting their bottom line before the customer’s satisfaction. They will not have put in the time or effort to learn the skills to provide superior service. Sure, their price points will be lower, but you’re going to have to put in a lot of work to make their product serviceable, and in the end it may end up costing you more time and effort than if you hired a competent pilot.
How to Find a Good Drone Pilot
If you want to hire a pilot that will give you maximum value for your dollar, we recommend you take the following steps:
Shop Around- Make sure to contact multiple pilots for quotes on your job. There are a lot of licensed pilots out there, and you’re likely to find multiple people interested in flying your project. Take the time to speak to each of these pilots to see which is the best fit, easiest to work with, and has the skills you desire.
Check the License- While we say that the Part 107 is easy to get, you want to make sure you hire a licensed pilot. Hiring an unlicensed drone pilot could have unintended consequences for you such as liability for accidents. Other industries face huge fines if they hire an unlicensed pilot.
Ask for a Portfolio- You should always ask to see the pilot’s previous work, and they should be willing to show you. A good pilot will be proud to show you their work and explain how they got the result they did. This will show you what you can expect for your project.
Don’t Take the Lowball- If you can at all help it, don’t automatically jump at the lowest bid. Oftentimes, the lowball offer is the pilot offering the lowest-quality work. Remember, “You get what you pay for”.
We hope this blog helps you in your quest to find a good pilot. We offer our drone pilot services in Mid-Michigan, and we’re happy to provide you with a quote. If you’d like us to quote your job, please feel free to contact us.