Apple was in the news recently for hitting the mammoth $1 trillion cap. As I was going through the various articles, one statistic really struck me – while Apple contributes just 18% of the total smartphone sales, they devour 87% of total profits! Now, all Apple aficionados might be quick to point out why iPhone is still head and shoulders above competition. Having switched from iPhone to Android (I am using Pixel right now), I do see some truth in this argument. Data security is definitely one of Apple’s strongest points. Compatibility with other Apple devices and ease of use are other strong pluses. But these features are not the only reason that Apple is able to get away with charging $1,150 for the iPhone X.
Apple’s marketing has ensured that it’s “luxury brand status” is firmly entrenched in the buyer’s psyche. And this brings us to our first point.
If you want to eke out a comfortable living through your drone business, and not merely scrape through – you need to work on your sales and marketing.
First of all, it is important to have strong belief in yourself. Sales is all about confidence. You are going to be judged on the level of confidence that you have. If you, yourself do not believe that you do deserve the price that you are quoting – you have little chance of convincing the client. The client’s job is to talk you down. You will be able to stay firm only if you know that you have another client to take up your time. And in order to have a full sales funnel, it is important to concentrate on marketing your drone business. You need to work “ON” your business rather than just “IN” your business.
Click here for some great ways for using SEO, social media and email marketing for providing greater visibility to your drone business.
In order to be confident – you have to provide real value. Is your work of equal or greater quality than the competition? Are you charging less than the competition? If the answers to both these question is yes, you are likely to remain busy throughout the year.
If you love flying and believe in providing true value to your client, you will go the extra mile to get the right shot. So, this might mean getting up early in the morning to shoot during the golden hour. Or maybe, going through another battery to get the perfect shot that you have envisioned.
A common mistake made by all professionals and not just drone pilots is a tendency to concentrate on the bottom line rather than providing value. Remember – if you provide real value, your pricing structure will eventually fall in place.
There are some folks who are happy flying for Dronebase or Uplift at $25 an hour or less. And they end up making a paltry $30,000 per year. And there are yet others who are able to make thousands of dollars in a week. Have you wondered why?
So, the first way of making more money is by executing complicated projects. For instance, experienced pilots are known to command $300-$400 hour. Powerline inspections or oil & gas inspections are some industries with the highest ROI for drone pilots.
The second way that drone pilots can make more is via the volume based approach. So, these are the folks who are yet to build up their skill sets. But what separates them from their counterparts charging $25 per hour is that they are interested in setting up their own business – and this opens up many opportunities. Click here for some great resources which will help your systematize your drone business.
Let us talk about the construction industry. Drone pilots are often hired for construction monitoring or preparation of progress reports. Pilots who systematize their drone operations can fly a construction site on one battery – or 15 minutes. And such folks can cover far more sites than your average Joe.
Working on multi –client projects is a good example of a lucrative volume based approach. There are many stakeholders in a construction project – the contractor, the subs, the architect, the project manager….So, if you are charging $200 per week to monitor a construction site for exclusive footage, you can easily offer a multi-client discount and offer your footage to multiple clients. This is a win-win situation. While you are multiplying your revenues manifold, your clients can enjoy a hefty discount.
Another option is to work on ancillary projects. Let’s again take the example of the construction industry. If you have already share a good rapport with your client, inquire if there are any other projects going on. Chances are that your client will need you on their other sites too. Because you are already familiar with your client requirements, you can certainly hit the ground running.
Last but not the least, I would like to discuss a commonly asked question – “Should I beat the Dronebase quote?” We would suggest not. Instead of competing on the price front, try and educate the client about working with you rather a big corporation. Share with them how Dronebase works – that they award the project to the first pilot who responds to their email. And this is exactly why chances of getting some quality footage are slim. Also emphasize your great service and local knowledge.
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