Want to make serious money in drones? The drone pilots making more than six-figures generally aren’t the ones flying their drone for just any job they’re offered. They’re skipping the real estate gigs, where a local agent might pay them $50 for a photo. They’re skipping the indie film gigs, where they work for hours for “exposure.”
The pilots making real money in drones are the ones who have a specialized expertise. And one of the burgeoning fields for building expertise around drone flying is in roof inspections.
Drones and roof inspections are a perfect pairing. With a drone, inspectors can safely see any roof from all angles while capturing ultra-high resolution images and being able to get accurate measurements— without having to actually climb on the roof, which could be dangerous.
So how do you do a roof inspection with a drone? Drone Launch Academy, known primarily for their Part 107 course (and nifty flashcards!) for drone pilots looking to get their commercial license, has opened up their waitlist to join their new Aerial Roof Inspection Pro course.
The course will go over topics such as the different roof types and materials you may come across, knowing common types of roof damage to look for, knowing how to properly plan your flights (airspace authorization, flight automation software, weather, and more), knowing how to collect the images you need, how to create orthomosaic maps to get precise measurements, and how to create a comprehensive roof report.
Joining Drone Launch Academy’s waitlist doesn’t just better your chances of being able to join the course., but also guarantees you access to an exclusive discount if you ultimately join the course. There is no cost to join the waitlist, and no obligation to enroll in the course if you’re ultimately selected to join the course.
The course had previously been undergoing beta testing with about 50 drone pilots.
A recent survey of over 1,000 licensed drone pilots found that about 68% of respondents said that they had made less than $1,000 with their drone over the last 12 months. But what those who had made $1,000 or more (and typically way more) had in common was one thing: specialty skills.
“If you try to offer all areas of service at the same time to anyone who comes along, you really won’t be that great at any of them,” said David Young, founder of Drone Launch Academy. “It’s better to be awesome at one thing than to be mediocre at several things. It’s like that saying, ‘a jack of all trades is a master of none.'”
And construction and roofing might be the place to specialize. A Goldman Sachs research report found that the largest future market opportunity for drone use was in the construction industry (which includes roofing), with over $11 billion of “addressable market opportunity.”
And companies like 3D Robotics, which initially tried to make consumer drones, have pivoted fully to construction. 3DR, which failed to popularize their Iris, and then Solo drones, has all but abandoned those projects, instead promoting their work as an infrastructure inspection company (and their website promotes using drones from competing companies like Yuneec and DJI).
DroneDeploy, which makes software geared for roof inspections, said that using a drone is 3x more efficient than traditional means of roof inspections.
Drone Launch Academy, which initially started as a platform to help students take and pass their FAA knowledge exams, such as the Unmanned Aircraft exam required for the Remote Pilot Certificate (what you need to fly drones commercially), has since expanded its offerings to the roofing course, and others such as the Aerial Photo Pro course, which goes over the entire process of taking the perfect photo.