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Professional/Commercial Operators - What kind of $$$ is a reasonable rate for your services?

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by StrikerOne, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. StrikerOne

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    Hi members,

    I've recently had an amazing opportunity fall in my lap which could mean that my so far recreational/hobby drone operations might expand to providing my services as pilot/operator for a company that is tendering for a government contract.

    Having not had any experience or dealings with commercial/professional drone services, I'm not too sure what kind of pay range I should be charging for this? There's a bit more to it than just grabbing a controller and flying the drone, so whilst I'm still not 100% informed of what my full responsibilities would be yet, hopefully those of you who do operate professionally/commercially can give me a more informed idea based on what I do know about the project?

    For now, I am assuming that it would include:

    * pre-flight terrain and risk assessment of the area/s that flight operations/testing will be conducted
    * mission planning
    * pre-flight programming of the aircraft
    * piloting the aircraft
    * feedback to the team on flight performance issues and suggested changes if applicable
    * misc paperwork/sign offs as required for each flight if applicable..

    Hopefully that gives you as clear a scope as possible to give me some suggestion of what I should be charging out at... and whilst I can't say who/what/where this work is for, I can tell you its really exciting stuff working with cutting edge technology and there's an amazing scope of long term work in it, so I don't want to undervalue myself and certainly don't want to be greedy and ask to much either ;)

    Thanks for the input in advance!
     
  2. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
    Staff Member

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    It depends completely what the work is doing, how much skill level is required, and how much of a niche your operations will be operating in.

    For instance 3D mapping will usually pay more than a quick Real Estate pic but there is a lot of time difference both during the flight and after the flight.
     
    StrikerOne likes this.
  3. olof Ekbergh

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    Location:
    Mt Washington Valley
    My rate as a consultant, director, camera man, photographer or lighting director is the same $1,500.00 a day this includes equipment about $200,000.00 in the truck and studio. Editing is $125.00 p/h in my 4K suite.

    I have worked in photography and film/video production since the early 70's among other things. And I am an instrument rated pilot with lots of experience shooting from full scale Helis.

    If you know how to deal with production and have a thorough understanding of video production these rates are low compared to city rates. I live and usually work in Northern New England, but I often travel and shoot all over the place.

    Don't under sell yourself.
     
    S5S5G6, PhotoGuyAaron and StrikerOne like this.
  4. witold

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    The only rate that matters is what the other party is willing to pay. It varies based on how desperate they are, how much they need you, regional pay differences, how much paid work we're talking about.

    It also depends on your qualifications. Now that 333 is in place and there are people with exemptions, PPL, full liability insurance, etc in the market, no one is going to pay the big bucks to hire someone who doesn't have these things. (unless it's a matter of connections... and that goes back to knowing circumstances of the person writing the checks.)

    For a government contract job, assuming it is stable and steady work, you can work backwards and figure out what rate gets you an 80K/job. (keep in mind contracting vs full time job issues.) I think that is realistic. It could be as low as 50K and as high as 120K. But 80K "income" is something to work backwards from. Then 25% in either direction.
     
  5. John MacNeill

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    I am just getting into aerial video. I do real estate and charge 100.00 per session. 8-10 pictures and a 2 minute video. When I get better at it and there is a demand then the price goes up. Residential I charge 60.00. 50 dollars for travel over 40km
     
  6. BigAl07

    BigAl07 Moderator
    Staff Member

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    How do you make any money at it? I realize every business model is different but your time is worth more than this surely. When you start this low you'll find it almost impossible to get better rates later on.Just my 2 cents.
     
  7. John MacNeill

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    I just want to cover my expenses while doing something I like. As a business there is a tax incentive as well.
     
  8. duse500

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    Residential portraits I do $150-200
    Bulk Residential maintenance (I get alot of them,180 so far)I do $40 - 60 a house ,anywhere between 4-8 pics per
    Commercial(only had one so far but have another lined up)$1500
    Events I work something out with organisers.$500+ depending on??? DJI_0505.jpg DJI_0511.jpg DJI_0640.jpg DJI_0642.jpg
     

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