We are often asked by people whether they should get work through drone job websites such as Drone Base, Droners.io and HireUAVPro. It is important to factor in all the positives and negatives before you start getting work through these websites.
Agreed – that you have a passion for flying. But if your passion does not translate into healthy profits, your enthusiasm will wane over time.
Let us have a look at how these job websites function.
Most job websites have a pretty similar way of working.
Drone Base is one of the biggest drone job websites – they collaborate with 10,000 UAV pilots across the world. There are different alternatives available on Drone Base, and perhaps the most popular one is “Client Missions”. The modus-operandi of “Client Missions” is simple –
Note that Drone Base is responsible for the final editing. And, if your work up to the mark, “Client Missions” are the only alternative where payment is guaranteed. Please note that Drone Base has discontinued “Getty Missions” since 10/15/18.
The first issue is not surprisingly, pricing. For instance, Drone Base is offering their base residential real estate package for just $99. For $499, Drone Base is offering a complete package – aerial images, video clips and a 60 second marketing video. And these are the prices that Drone Base is charging their clients. As a UAV pilot working for Drone Base, you will get paid far less.
Strict contractual requirements also make it difficult to work for websites. For starters, you do not own the rights to the images and videos that you shoot. So, if you shoot some really cool footage, you cannot use it in your drone demo reel. Contracts also prohibit you from exchanging your information with a client while working on a job. Check out this excerpt from the Drone Base website:
“Contractor represents and warrants that Contractor has no agreements, relationships, or commitments to any other person or entity that conflict with the provisions of this Agreement, Contractor’s obligations to the Company under this Agreement, and/or Contractor’s ability to perform the Services. Contractor will not enter into any such conflicting agreement during the term of this Agreement”.
So this clearly means that you cannot, for instance, share your business card or website with a client while working through Drone Base of Uplift. Moreover, you can solicit clients only 12 months after a job completion.
“To the fullest extent permitted under applicable law, from the date of this Agreement until twelve (12) months after the termination of this Agreement for any reason (the “Restricted Period”), Contractor will not, without the Company’s prior written consent, directly or indirectly, solicit any of the Company’s employees to leave their employment, or attempt to solicit employees of the Company, either for Contractor or for any other person or entity”.
Not at all. When you are starting your career, working for job websites will help you understand how the drone industry functions. Sure – online coaching and peer interaction will help you get a feel for the market. But along with this, a certain amount of practical experience will instill you with confidence – which will aid you in the execution of more complex and lucrative work.
Practical experience will teach you how to effectively communicate with clients. You will learn to ask the right questions which will enable you to shoot your footage as per the client’s specific requirements. If your work is not approved, you will receive invaluable feedback from the website. And this will certainly help you improve and come up with a better product.
Working through websites will also help you build a list of leads – whom you can solicit 12 months after job completion.
However, treat this phase of your career as a “paid internship” – a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Once you have some experience under your belt, do not procrastinate in starting your own drone business. In the long run, working for these job sites will stifle your creativity, and you will be stuck with doing low paid work.
Check out our interview with Nick Osgood, Director of Operations, Drone Base.
Recently, a caller on Ask Drone U expressed worry about Dronebase entering the drone mapping market. As is typical for big businesses, Dronebase is attempting to corner the market by drastically undercutting prices. However, this does not seem to be a sustainable, long-term strategy.
Typically, as we discussed before, new drone pilots who are still learning the ropes of the business use Dronebase and other drone job websites as a launching pad. Once they build up their skills and their clientele, they move away from such platforms (where the scope of growth is severely limited) to more lucrative options.
Because of this, it will be extremely difficult for Dronebase to execute such complex jobs with sophisticated technical requirements. Such jobs are the domain of pilots with advanced skills who have invested considerable time and effort in their education.
We expect one of the two things to happen: 1) Either Dronebase will raise their prices to the current industry standard, or 2) Stop taking up such complex jobs altogether.
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