Which drone video company to choose?
People and companies all over the world are beginning to realize the value of drone video services, from real estate marketing to utilities inspections (See 40 more ways drones are used in business here!) As UAVs grow in popularity, so do the amount of companies and providers of drone video services looking to capitalize on this new market. It can be quite confusing to understand where to start looking for these types of services if you’re a small business or homeowner. How do you know who to trust in a sea of new, relatively untested drone businesses? We put together this short guide to help you evaluate different drone video services and choose the right one for your application.
Types of drone video services
The search starts with figuring out what kind of video production you’re looking for. Typically, these types of services can be broken down into 3 broad categories: Industrial, Creative, and Residential
Industrial Drone Applications include services like construction site mapping, large scale agricultural data, aerial utilities inspection, insurance validation, and large scale asset monitoring. These services focus on providing value through improving work efficiency, safety, or cost. For example, monitoring utilities like pipelines via high tech drones can be far more accurate, quick, and cost-effective than hiring a person to be on the ground walking the length of the pipe. Industrial customers also use drone video services to improve safety by allowing inspection of assets like cell towers by drone instead of having a person climb to the top.
Creative drone videos include aerial filmmakers and independent production studios. These are most often used for events like weddings, races, and festivals. These types of services place a high premium on production quality. The final deliverable is a drone video, which has an artistic value rather than being solely data driven. The videos are more likely to record or showcase an event for a feature production or marketing material.
Residential quadcopter services include real estate videography and aerial tours. These companies are typically newer to the market and may have a greater range of quality and experience. They can also tend to be more competitive, which means you can take advantage of a better price to secure a project. Make sure to do your research beforehand and follow a few of our upcoming tips to make sure that you hire someone who will do the job right the first time. Many of these services utilize the DJI Phantom series of drones, including the Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro.
How to find local drone video services
The best place to start finding local drone service providers is by running a few searches through google following this format:
“your city” + “drone services”
“your city” + “aerial videography”
“your city” + “drone video”
Usually this will give you a few local companies to compare and start with. If there are none in your immediate city, try searching with the name of the largest metropolitan area close to you.
Drone service platforms can also be a decent place to find pilots in your area. These businesses act like an “Uber for drones” and help connect you with certified aerial videographers that are local to you. A few platforms that will be helpful to you are sites like droners.io, air-vid.com, dronepilots.com, and hireuavpro.com.
4 steps to evaluate a drone video services company
With the aerial industry growing at such a fast pace, it seems like there’s a new quadcopter-this or UAV-that company popping up every day! It’s difficult to sort through the masses and understand the few key factors and trust signals that separate true professionals from the rest. After you’ve used both Google and a few drone services platforms to narrow down a few, be sure to ask these 4 questions to evaluate the legitimacy and quality of your drone services provider:
(US only) Are they FAA Certified under a Part 333 or Part 107 license?
If the “drone business” doesn’t list one of these certifications, that should be a huge red flag. The FAA requires all businesses and people using drones for commercial applications to have one of these two licenses and can face stiff penalties if found to be in non-compliance (See the recent judgment against SkyPan)
What does their portfolio look like?
Seeing is believing in the world of drone video services. Make sure the videos are of the caliber that you need for your application. Industrial videos don’t need to be amazingly produced, but the opposite is true for event videography.
What do the customer reviews say?
Verified customer reviews and testimonials are a great way to validate the type of work that a business does. Look for reviews on services like Yelp, Google Maps, and Thumbtack combined with any feedback that the company has on their website. Get a feel for how legitimate the reviews feel by paying attention to how they’re written and if different writing styles and voices are used.
How easy is it to contact them?
Legitimate businesses want to make it incredibly easy for you to reach out to them. They not only want to meet you in person, but also talk over the phone, email you, and develop business relationships. If you don’t see at least an email or phone number on the company website, that’s another red flag and possibly a sign that there’s something to hide. The more information they share about themselves and their aerial operation, the more confidence you can have that you’re dealing with accountable people.
5 bonus steps: Evaluating their website
When visiting their website, ask yourself, “What impression does the website give off?”
These days, the website is the first impression that a business makes on potential customers…and we all know how important first impressions are. Ask yourself 5 of the following questions while reviewing the company’s web presence:
Is the site pleasing to look at?
Is the site uncluttered, clean, and modern looking? Does it look like it was slapped together or designed professionally? This can be an indication of how they will treat you as a customer! A good example to follow is this FAA-Certified drone website in Cincinnati.
Is it easy to find all the information you need?
Make sure you can understand what services they provide and if they’re licensed. Make sure you understand pricing if possible and the background of the company to make sure it’s a good fit.
How does the site look on your phone?
A mobile responsive website shows that the company wants you to be able to reach them easily no matter where you are. Check out this web design company for an example of responsive mobile design.
Is the portfolio complete and thorough?
Check out their portfolio to see if you like the work! This is one of the best ways to figure out if the service provider is going to be good for you. If they have done bad work in the past, they’ll probably do bad work for you too!
Look for the following trust symbols
Look for the following: BBB rating (better business bureau), HTTPS security in browser bar, reviews from customers, high rankings on Google, quality writing
Hiring the right drone video services provider
When you put these tips into practice, you’ll have a much higher chance of hiring a quality aerial videography company. Finding the right company is only half the battle, you’ll need to make sure that you’re a good customer as well. That means being responsive, clear in your expectations (pricing, timeline, and deliverables), and flexible (weather can’t be planned). By combining these strategies with the right attitude, you’ll be sure to have a successful drone video project!
P.S. Feel free to check out my gear over at “Our Gear“!