Good preparation is the key to smooth and trouble-free drone operation.
Flying a drone for commercial operations such as aerial filming, terra photography, or property inspections allows you to enjoy flying in an amazing variety of places while earning a living at the same time. However, it is worth noting that you always need to be ready for any issues during or before flying your drone.
Technical difficulties such as not having the right permit or system errors on the day can be avoidable. Here are 10 essential tips that could help you avoid any future problems as you develop your Commercial Drone business.
1. Get your drone serviced
Being a commercial drone pilot, your drone is the most important tool of your trade. The drone needs to be in working condition at all times so it is reliable and can avoid incidents such as fly-aways or an inability to take off when required. Having your drones regularly serviced is an effective way to keep your hardware in top condition as well as show that you are a responsible drone pilot and committed to safe working practices.
There are many ways to get your drones serviced, but the best way is to get it done by a professional company is to ensure you get the required certification following its service. Coptrz provides drone servicing to ensure your drones are always in prime condition before flying. When you purchase a drone with Coptrz, you will have access to a full or basic service for your drone. Watch the video below to find out what's included in a Coptrz drone service.
2. Carry a spare drone
If you have the financial ability then a second drone ought to be at the top of any list for a commercial drone pilot. You would not want to find your drone unable to function correctly on the day of a booked flight and not having a spare drone to save the day when you are doing the dream job is a risky business. Cancelling jobs due to equipment failure could later lead to you losing future drone projects to other pilots better equipped.
Coptrz can help you regarding buying a back-up drone such as DJI Mavic 2 Zoom or Parrot Anafi as a spare during an emergency. Remember, if you want to add to your UAV equipment, they must all be included in your Operations Manual to be within the required CAA regulations.
3. Get insurance
If you are not flying regularly for commercial operations, a way to reduce finances is to sort out your flight insurance as ‘pay as you go’ (PAYG) instead of a full-term policy. Several insurance companies use smartphone or tablet apps that are very useful for PAYG and it is very handy if you have a change of flight plans. Protect yourself and your business by always ensuring you always have the correct amount of coverage and liability for the task you are undertaking!
4. Join Social Groups
Join social media groups and chat forums within the drone community. That will allow you to gain valuable information and create access to a platform where you can ask questions if you have any issues. Coptrz has a great Facebook community for drone pilots that allows like-minded individuals to chat and pass on hints and tips; Coptrz Inner Circle. Occasionally jobs are also advertised there too.
Although you don’t get paid, a good way to get some free publicity and flight experience is to volunteer towards a charity-based organization to provide them with stock drone footage and pictures. Credits for the images and footage are given for others to see, which results in free exposure for your business. This can hugely benefit both the charity organization and your drone business by expressing your kindness and willingness to support a charity.
6. Video editing
When producing footages, they can be provided to the customers as RAW footages or edited final reels. To improve your business diversity and increase your potential customers, it is recommended that you obtain and learn to use some video editing software so you can provide fully edited reels. Some drone apps, like DJI GO, provide a basic editing software that you can use on the go.
Remember, the reel could be a mix of land-based and aerial footages. Just because you are a drone pilot, does not mean all your footages need to be aerial! Diversity is the key and will keep your business busy.
7. Advertise your services
Advertising has always been the best tip to get your drone business out there. Simple things like business cards can be cheap but effective when handed out to potential clients i.e estate agents, construction sites, wedding organizers etc. You can also investigate any shows or exhibitions to see if you can obtain a small trade stand to advertise your business. Think outside the box to get ahead of the completion.
Advertising on social media can also be very effective, as long as you find the right platform and target properly. There are also several websites that you can join to be listed as a drone operator for businesses and people looking to hire these services such as Freelancer, People Per Hour or check out your local sites for this.
8. Carry spare parts
Accidents can and do happen. Make a list of all the potential items that could stop a flight and carry these spares at all times when executing a job. Vital spares like propellers, SD cards, or even spare batteries should all be considered.
Your drones will not fly far without batteries. Depending on the duration of the flight required, you will need enough batteries to ensure you can complete the required task. Batteries are expensive, usually around £150 – £200 each, but are an essential drone part.
Don’t forget to include any tools required to do the repairs as you may have to make a repair or adjustment on site.
9. Calibrate and pre-flight check
Calibrating your drone before a flight is essential for safety. It allows you to fly your drone properly and not lose track of it during flying. A pre-flight check is also critical, to check if the battery is fully charged, the propellers are correctly installed, and the drone gimbal is not overweight. Usually, the drone app will notify you if there are any problems regarding your drone. Do not miss the notification!
10. Fly regularly
The last tip is key that not all beginner drone pilots may think about or even consider. If you have no work for a while, always remember to fly regularly and not let your drone perch on top of the wardrobe gathering dust! Find a suitable area where you can fly without disturbing and upsetting people but allows you to keep your pilot skills fresh and sharp. The alternative, you can also use a drone simulator like the DJI GO to refresh your mind regarding basic flying controls and intelligent flight modes.
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