Aerial Mapping Pricing Rates

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Just reaching out for some ideas or references to pricing for aerial mapping. I just shot a map that covers about 40 acres and processed it with mapsmadeeasy.com Great site and support. Just have no clue what to charge my client for it. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
 
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That's a nice chunk of land, at what altitude and how many images did it require?
 
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I think people shy away from price discussions to avoid being accused of price fixing or collusion. Did you take the job with no discussion at all with the client about price? Assuming you're getting in to a new market for yourself, this may be a good time to just ask the client to pay what they think it is worth. Your question will be answered and you can then decide if it's a market you want to be in.
 

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It's almost impossible to price someone else's product in a different market. What we can get here in rural NC is probably not the same someone can get in a more industrialized area.
 
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How long did it take to do including flight and editing time? $100.00 an hour is a good place to start.
 
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And don't forget to include any fees from mapsmadeeasy. That should be in addition to your time, travel, etc.
 
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Great question, and as someone also entering this emerging market would like to know. I suspect the correct price will end up being what the market is willing to pay for it. Different markets will have different prices. The trick is bring an added value to the client, which your competitor can't/won't, that will valued by said client.

At the end of the day the client is buying our DATA, i.e. they don't care about our new flying tripod or how we got it.
 
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Great question, and as someone also entering this emerging market would like to know. I suspect the correct price will end up being what the market is willing to pay for it. Different markets will have different prices. The trick is bring an added value to the client, which your competitor can't/won't, that will valued by said client.

At the end of the day the client is buying our DATA, i.e. they don't care about our new flying tripod or how we got it.
I feel like that is a one dimensional perspective. As a PLS, that is very much what your application of the technology is. I realize this is the mapping and surveying forum, but I have multiple services I provide that cannot be done without a UAV, or where the UAV greatly reduces safety issues. The data is only one aspect of the service line for me.

That being said, it is my responsibility to educate my clients on the logistics of the operation in order to justify the cost. For example, pre mobilization and demobilization. Maintenance of the equipment, and the effort it requires to stay safe and FAA compliant are all factors that are built into my cost model.
 
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Very good Theo, after you have educated and justified your costs, what seals the deal? I am assuming you're doing what you do to get paid money, i.e. you're not a hobbyist, teacher/researcher in academia, or government. What prevents a prospective client from saying "...thanks Theo for the education and info, and we'll get back to you...", then no sooner than you're out of their office they say to themselves,"... now we know what's involved, lots shop it..."

In my overly cavalier (I was trying for brevity) statement saying it's the DATA, I oversimplified. I would like to think it goes back to what you bring to the table, as opposed what the other guy (let's kid ourselves there will be another guy, maybe not right away, but eventually) doesn't. Is it about your professionalism, i.e. you're trained and experienced, licensed, properly equipped, insured, and have a got a good reputation, etc.? Is this political, or is this going to be lowest bid? Just as people choose doctors differently than they choose their auto repair services, or supermarket stores, it goes back to what's the market?

Back to the question of Aerial Mapping pricing yes, on my end (e.g. stockpile volume measurements, topographic and planimetric mapping), it's a balancing act of a three legged stool, one leg is the Quality of Data (in terms of accuracy, precision, repeat-ability) required, another leg is the cost for us to provide it, and the third leg is what the client is willing to pay us for it. If any of those legs gets kicked out of line, the whole thing comes crashing down ingloriously.
 
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You are obviously a good businessman Robert. You get it. I agree with what you said.

I guess I should explain my situation a little better. I work for a huge company that does all kinds of things (surveys included) and I have helped established our UAV program. My department has been around for a long time, and has multiple service lines that stream revenue. So UAVs represent a growth opportunity for me.

Most of my clients are already clients for other types of projects that I get to add value to. So it is not hard for me to gain the trust of clients who already trust the company. I have shopped around myself for similar services in order to develop a competitive cost model, and at the end of the day, I don't really want to work for a client where the lowest bid always wins. It is not a sustainable way for me to do business.

So, how do we price it? I price it based on the hourly pay rate that myself or my people are paid, times a multiplier, let's say X3, and estimate how long it will take to pre mob, mob, demob and post process. Add in any field supplies and travel, and a little markup for equipment cost recovery.
 
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Theo, you and I definitely on the same page, I originally written out almost the same exact pricing formula you'd stated in my previous post, but edited it out since I was already getting a little windy.

Wishing you safe and successful flights my friend.
 
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40 acres and processed it with mapsmadeeasy.com
Took around 60 images from 350ft. So no one has any advice or guidelines?
First, this sounds like you don't have nearly enough data to produce an accurate 3d point cloud. You mentioned aerial image, so that would be 2d only. Even in 2d the number of images sounds extremely low. What was your side and front overlap percentage? I use 80% side and fron overlap. On a recent 24 acre site, that criteria yielded 366 photos, at 180ft AGL.

Second, unless you used Maps Made Easy most costly method of Georeferenced w/Manual GCPs. your end results would lack accuracy. Without ground control points you have no idea the accuracy, scale, or datum of the orthomosaic photo.
 
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Supertrooper,

Greetings.

As a business person I agree with Novum Dives about the price fixing discussions and collusion. Historically the only way to avoid running afoul of Sherman Anti Trust issues is to look at competitors prices and note the differences. There are usually some justifiable reasons for increased pricing which frequently has to do with competition or the lack of competition and a graduated scale of services.

I am in the real estate business. We are required to take courses every year to maintain our currency. Price fixing, collusion and the Sherman Anti Trust Act are all related topics and are covered at almost every educational discussion because it is such a big deal. Please be very careful when asking about pricing info anywhere but especially on a public forum. There is a long sad history of people being spanked for innocently getting drawn in to one of those discussions then having the discussion being construed as price fixing. The consequences can be life changing.
 
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I spent 5 years with the US DOJ Antitrust Division as a trial attorney. I don't see the issue with price fixing discussions and collusion. Unless we are competitors that issue doesn't arise. I am in Southern California. If you do not have customers in Southern California, send me a private message.
 
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I'm going to try to rekindle this discussion about orthomosaic photo pricing. It is quite interesting how all the articles (there's a couple good ones on Drone Deplo/y people reference a lot) and forum discussions are almost completely void of any discussion in dollar figures. It is much easier to find discussions referencing hourly rate which depending on the job type, area of the world, and pilot experience are typically in the $100-$200/hr range and I'd say the average is closer to $100 ($125?) but that may be skewed due to most people at this early juncture are doing fairly simple stuff like real estate and roofs (non-thermal.)

But as some have touched on here, if you price your jobs out at an hourly rate based on time spent on the job site, you're probably underpricing yourself because of the amount of overhead costs that are not always obvious, especially to those less experienced with running a business. Depreciation and maintenance of equipment, insurance, and travel costs to name a few. In fact, with the traffic being pretty bad in most major American cities these days, travel time is a HUGE one. Your client isn't going to want to pay you $125/hr to sit in traffic for a total of 1.5 hours going to and from their job site, but you will be screwing yourself to pay yourself $0. If the job takes 1.5 hrs onsite at $125/hr but you spend 1.5 hours in the car, you really just GROSSED $62.50/hr then take out all your other overhead and you basically made squat.

How much time did you spend, travel and onsite getting the data for that 40-acre site (including setup/takedown)?

But there's really two parts to the job, the data acquisition, and the data processing. This thread is specifically, how much do you charge for a 40-acre orthophoto, non-survey grade resolution (350ft altitude isn't going to get what is considered survey grade resolution.)

It's funny that no one has even attempted to throw out some ballpark figures on this. For this small growing industry in an anonymous forum, the idea of collusion issues is a bunch of BS.

The way I look at it is you should first get the pricing for a traditional aerial photo (airplane) for that area. The drone will have better resolution but it gives you an idea of what people USED to pay. I'd also talk to some Land Surveying companies and find out what they charge for a basic topographic survey of a 40-acre site on average. Yes the topo is a more complicated product than the orthomosaic but at least it gives you an idea as to whether we are talking $1000 or $5000. Most of us having not worked in either of those two industries have no idea! You could be pricing a product at 1/10th what a larger professional services company would price it at and not even know it!

Let's say you charge $400 for the data acquisition which covers all your time getting the photos including travel time and some overhead. Your processing cost whether you use DroneDeploy or MapsMadeEasy is pretty darn low, like $25 at most I'd say. You're probably looking at a half hour to go through the photos to verify them, stage them for upload, and then examine the finished product. If you're also charging $125/hr for your post processing time, then that's $62.50 + $25 = about $85 in post processing costs. There's also the processing time, which you shouldn't charge for, but the post processing service is sort of like parts for an electrician or plumber. They don't sell you the parts at their cost. So realistically the ortho processing might be something like $100 minimum + $25 per 10 acres = $200 for a 40-acre ortho. But this might be something a airplane pilot charges $5,000 for and a land surveying company would charge $2,000 for! Who knows?

But then you also have project management time. You're not going to get an initial email from the client, reply with a price, get one more email with the go ahead and then the next email you send is a link to the finished product. Most likely you're going to have to have one or more phone conversations, more emails requesting more details or asking further questions, and other hand holding. So figure at least another minimum 0.5 hours of project management time $62.50. These numbers I'm throwing out are all pretty low. In most technical professional services they multiply time 1.5x to account for unforeseen things so they don't lose their shirts.

The other big factor is what value is your service/product providing to the client? Is it key information for a multi-million dollar development project or is it a farmer that just wants to frame a picture of his property on the wall?

So with the numbers I threw out above, they come to about $550 ($300 data acquisition and $250 post processing and project management)

So to answer the OP's original questions, how much to charge for a 40-acre orthophoto, I'd say MINIMUM $550, adjust for competition in your area and how far away the job site is. Realistically, if this job is providing highly valuable data to a mid or large size company, anyone other than a Craigslist Hobbyist is probably going to be charging more.

And note, this is for just an orthphoto at around 5cm/pixel resolution. The OP didn't mention they were doing 3D point clouds (needed for topos) or higher-resolution stuff. That SHOULD cost considerably more than the numbers I'm throwing out.

It still baffles me why discussions and blog articles are so void of any number figures. I really think the main reason is that because the industry is relatively new, most people don't have a clue what things should cost and people are afraid to be chastsized for throwing out stupid numbers. Sort of like the kids in the classroom that don't raise their hands and don't want to get called on by the teacher.
 
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Well the last two posts contained their own answers. Pricing is geographically relevant. The reason why general numbers don't get thrown out, is because the markets are disparate. And, if in geographically related markets, talking price can be construed as collusion. Whether you think it's 'BS' or not is not relevant. People in RE are used to being under scrutiny for this on a regular basis, which may play a role in the discussion as well. As much as DOJ would like to think it's the only kid on the block, it's not. There are multiple local and state agencies that licensed professionals have to deal with and can bring action for unscrupulous business practices, collusion being one of them.

As for pricing, tt's like any other business. Do market research and price your services based on your costs, risk and value.
 
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I completely disagree, for the purpose of this discussion, in this forum, for this industry, that antitrust collusion issues are anything but overexaggerated paranoia. If this was a geographically constrained forum or thread for a much larger and more mature industry, I'd have a different opinion. And realistically, if there was any price fixing or collusion going on, I can pretty much guarantee the big players wouldn't be having a discussion about it in a public forum on the Internet. Let's get real here.

It also doesn't matter the geographic disparities if the purpose of the discussion is to compare different methods for determining pricing and using example numbers for discussion of those methods.The original poster didn't reference a specific geographic area. In fact, like many of us, the original poster doesn't have any indication in his profile or post what geographic are he/she is working in.

I'm always disappointed when rather than fostering an open exchange of ideas and experiences, many choose knee-jerk reactions that follow the path of closedness, fear mongering and discouragement.
 
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