Drone Pilot Gigs: Droners.io (Part 2)

Droners.IO

It has been a little while since I first posted about my experience with the Droners.IO pilot network, and that’s because it has been keeping me busy. The Droners.IO network has been by far the most active platform I’ve used to connect with clients in need of drone photography and videography services. With over a dozen projects secured through this platform, I’ve been able to find a niche in residential and commercial real estate marketing after completing projects that also include roof inspections, test shoots for commercial production, and insurance inspections. It has also highlighted a number of considerations for our own business operations that require some adjustments.

Top-down view of old barn on property
Top-down view of old barn on property used as point of interest.

Looking back on my training and practice flights around our little valley nestled in the Western North Carolina mountains, with densely forested hills, steep elevations, and limited visual line of sight aside from nearly directly above us, this area was a great proving ground to develop the skills and situational awareness that has been invaluable on my commercial missions. Some of these missions have fortunately been located relatively close to us in the surrounding towns of Western North Carolina, uplands of South Carolina, and Eastern Tennessee, which isn’t too bad on the travel expenses and provides a beautiful setting to capture aerial images. This region certainly does come with some challenges as well, when trying to capture the best views and perspectives that potential buyers want to see in a mountain property. Visual line of sight is the biggest of these challenges, which is a requirement per the FAA guidelines for drone operations. Many properties are fronted by narrow single lane roads winding up and around the hillsides with trees over 75′ lining the shoulders, leaving a narrow view of the sky above to fly up through and above. So, moving around and exploring clear views is key to getting the best shots. Also, a good bit of research and familiarity with the property boundaries, any notable landmarks, and a good eye on the screen to ensure the property is properly composed in the viewfinder are imperative and skills that need to be developed.

Drone photo of land for sale in Jonesville, VA
Drone photo of land for sale in Jonesville, VA

There have been some fortunate opportunities to bundle multiple shoots into a single day of travel as well, but some limitations have been identified here as well. Clearly, more shoots with the same or just a little more mileage can cut costs, but based on client specifications, weather, and the amount of time needed at each location, scheduling can be tight. Some clients specify the time of day, so that the business or property owner is aware of the activities or for the optimal lighting during the day. Not every shoot is looking for that cinematic golden-hour look, so that is a consideration for visiting multiple location shoots to still create an efficient travel plan.

Ultimately, the Droners.IO platform works as a marketing network to connect drone pilots and clients looking for our services and its really up to the jobs being a good fit. The better your portfolio, the more likely a client is to consider you for the job. But, as expected for a platform based on bidding for work, it can also result in the lowest bid winning. For myself, I will continue to provide the highest quality work for my clients without sacrificing value for our business. With those as guiding principles for our business, I’ve been working hard to optimize workflows, both in the field and in the editing suite, to ensure sustainability and growth.

Real Estate Property Tour Video

If you’re interested in learning more about the early stages of a commercial drone service business, reach out and we can find some time to chat more.

Published by Chris Tranchina

Aerial Photographer/Videographer, FAA Part 107 Certified Drone Pilot, and Digital Media Professional. My primary focus is capturing landscapes, waterfalls, and points of interest in nature. Its an exciting transition from photographing stills of some amazing sites to capturing their dynamic movement and context in the world.

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