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UAV-related Small Businesses

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Fink, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. Fink

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    I've been doing a ton of research on this as a business prospect and was curious to know how many of you, if any, actually run a business related strictly to UAVs? This could be the sale of, or other types of work such as search and rescue, inspections, agriculture, etc.

    Here in Florida, agriculture and wildlife are paramount - short of tourism, of course. There are at least two citrus exporters in the southern part of the state that are using fixed-wing UAVs with multispectral and hyperspectral sensors to track the growth of various fungi and other bacterial mutations of their crops. They will then treat a certain plot with whatever treatment they are testing and do daily or weekly flights over the crop to see how effective the treatment is.

    I would love to get involved with stuff like that, as I also fly fixed-wing UAVs in addition to the Phantom and other multirotors and I can see tons of everyday uses for them.

    Curious to see if any others out there have thought about this or are already doing it.

    There would obviously be a good chunk of change required upfront to purchase the necessary equipment, but aside from that, whatever insurance I would need and possibly a covered trailer to transport the larger fixed-wing crafts in and the necessary LLC/Incorporated state fees, there would not be a ton of cost and I imagine I could make some money pretty quickly, once I identified the customer(s).

    Feel free to completely bash the idea or point out where I'm wrong. I am looking for honest opinions and ideally, feedback from those already involved in something like this - preferably outside of just aerial photography as that market is pretty well saturated down here from what I gather.

    Thanks!

    Fink[​IMG]
     
  2. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    I think we all dream of doing this to some level, myself included. I say if there is a need for it why not give it a try.
    I wish you the best of luck. :)
     
  3. Fink

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    I appreciate the response!

    Have you looked into this where you are to see if it's feasible?

    Fink[​IMG]
     
  4. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    I am assessing the market at this time and getting a feel for my local opportunities. We have had a small financial business for the last 31 years so I have many local business contacts I have been talking to trying with gauge the need for services.
     
  5. Fink

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    That's great! Good luck getting things started! If you ever expand and want coverage in Florida, where it's flying weather nearly year-round, you just let me know. :lol:

    Fink[​IMG]
     
  6. hotstink626

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    Im just a little confused with your uav laws in the u.s. I was reading that only 2 uav crafts are legal to fly for commercial use and they both for the antarctic so how do you guys run businesses using uavs if its illegal ? Not to be rude just dont understand how the faa are taking a student for taking video of university to court over something most real estate agents do everday ?
     
  7. derrickduff

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    Just opened up shop last week. I'm focusing on Real Estate and Events. Charleston SC is the wedding and tourist capital of the world right now. There are events going on every weekend. And with Boeing producing the 787 here Real Estate is booming.

    http://topdownaerial.com

    Just like any business or hobby you're going to get out of it what you put into it. Don't forget the software/hardware you'll need for editing. You can lease Adobe one program at a time for about $20 a month or go for the whole suite for about $50 a month. I'm not a big fan of apple products but Final Cut is great if you're going to the dark side. You'll need a good enough rig to handle the software as well. Lots of RAM.

    Unless you have a large database of potential customers you'll need some marketing too. My wife and I are experimenting with Facebook and Youtube marketing. It's cheap and can get your name out there a bit. Most people are still clueless this technology exists. I want to be ahead of the curve and established when it does become mainstream.

    On Farming:
    I was talking to a farmer a couple weeks ago and he mentioned putting a thermal camera on the Phantom so he could spot wild hogs on his land. They're a big problem here and that's an interesting way to do some recon on your property.
     
  8. canadavenyc

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    I'm no expert, but from what I've read, it seems to me that technically, all these businesses are indeed illegal. Now, being illegal is one thing, being brought up on charges because of it is a whole other thing. I guess at this point, people are just presuming the FAA isn't going to go out and actively shut down UAV businesses.
     
  9. derrickduff

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    I fixed it. This is under current law as there is no law making it illegal as per the NTSB recent ruling. The FAA has stated their appeal is an automatic stay on their ban, but as there was no law to begin with it's unclear what is being "stayed."
     
  10. OI Photography

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    For me, business just keeps getting better. No fancy or complex marketing is required...just contact everyone you can locally within your target market, via any method from FB to just walking in the door, and simply ask "Would you like some aerial shots of _______ ?" (your property/your business/your boat/your event/whatever)

    And don't be afraid to bring it up in unrelated conversations...I managed to land a very nice deal last night at Easter dinner, just by mentioning this to some in-law-to-be I'd never met before.

    Have a small handful of examples you can email or show to anybody at any time, usually that's all it takes.
     
  11. hotstink626

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    So how does this effect all these guys running business which is another thread in the general discussion forum ? Am I missing something ?

    The National Association of REALTORS, America's largest trade association for Realtors just tweeted this to all 126,000 of its follows


    REALTORS® (@REALTORS)
    4/17/14 10:50 AM
    Why you shouldn't use drones for your real estate business yet -- the straight scoop (and busted myths) from the FAA: 1.usa.gov/1eO7O2J


    Here is the link incase it doesn't work above....
    http://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=76381&sf2590425=1[/quote]
     
  12. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    Consider the source. They are butt-hurt and know they can't stop it so they continue business as usual and threaten with empty threats.
    Besides, they don't have to use one, I will do it for them.