The commercial drone industry is rapidly increasing, and we are already seeing a major uplift in drone use across a number of industries, such as media, agriculture, surveying and construction. It’s a great time to start a commercial drone business, however, like all lucrative industries, the threat of competition will increase year-on-year. Only those businesses that diversify and seek to continually add value to their drone services will avoid the race to the bottom. So, with that in mind, how do you add value to your drone services so you can continue to command a profitable sum for your work? Keep reading to find out how…
1. Add credibility with further qualifications
Further qualifications can help you add some serious credibility to your drone business. It shows that you ‘know what you’re doing’, and adds professionalism to your company. A PfCO is a standard requirement to operate a drone commercially, but there are further qualifications you can receive.
COPTRZ can also separately provide you with an academically registered qualification under OFQUAL (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) as a Level 4 award for additional credibility. An OFQUAL qualification represents a standard between an A-Level and a degree (ONC/HNC level).
2. Enhance your data capture capabilities
Investing in more complex platforms can help you expand your data capture capabilities, which in turn can set you aside from those who are operating with just a simple 4K camera setup. Drones like the DJI Matrice 210 have been specifically designed to be of modular design, and you can quickly and easily switch between HD visual, thermal, 30x optical zoom and multispectral. Specialist payloads such as the Flir Duo Pro R and the MicaSense Rededge-M can add real value to your operations as many others simply won’t be able to offer this level of data.
3. Increase your service offering with additional training
Investing in yourself may be one of the most profitable investments you ever make. Training in a specialist area can set you aside from the rest and help to position you as an expert in your area. It’s even better if you can position yourself as an expert in a niche market as you can become recognised as the ‘go to guy’.
There are a number of different CPD courses available to commercial drone pilots, ranging from EVLoS and BVLoS courses to thermography data capture courses. One of the most popular COPTRZ Workshops is the Pix4D software training. Becoming trained in any form of aerial 3D mapping software such as Pix4D can instantly open up additional job opportunities that aren’t available to the masses. Holding a certification highlights your expertise and could be key for you winning over your next client.
4. Invest in a bespoke integration
Although not always the cheapest option, investing in a bespoke platform could be worthwhile as it can result in a monopoly effect. Bespoke integrations can be created for your needs and in turn the needs of your client. You can essentially create your own drone, depending on the use case and what integrations you feel are important and you can be the only provider of a certain service in your area. Differentiation is key, and adding real value in the form of a bespoke platform allows you to not only gather more work but also demand higher fees in return.
The COPTRZ team have worked on a number of bespoke integrations such as LiDAR units and multispectral sensors for our clients. Last year we supplied Aberystwyth University with a bespoke LiDAR package to be used for forestry research.
5. Joint Ventures
Networking and creating partnerships with other drone operators is one such way of putting yourself ahead of the crowd. Not all drone operators will be your direct competition and you can use this to your advantage by essentially sharing work. This is a common occurrence in the industry when you find a client that may need an additional drone service that you don’t offer or vice versa. Continually engaging with your network will often yield these new opportunities. It’s important to ensure you are active in groups online where jobs and tender opportunities are being posted.
The potential for new drone businesses is huge given the expected exponential growth of the industry in the next 5 years. Ensure you get ahead early with the 5 tips we have given you, and your drone business is more likely to flourish in the future.
Watch: What you need to start a commercial drone business
COPTRZ UAV Strategist George Burne takes you through everything you will need to get your commercial drone business off the ground.