Starting Realty photo business, need advice.

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Hey everyone. So I've decided to get into the photo/video business with drones. Im studying to take the 107 test. Whats everyones advice for pricing, and what packages should i offer. I was thinking of starting with a residential package, offering a video of the outside and inside of a home using drone and handheld gimbal footage. Then id offer the Pro package for businesses and realtors offering a professionally made video of the business/house. And id also offer the Aerial Photo package, where for so much a day, i would do 5 photos a house all day long. These are my starting ideas. Ive been flying phantoms for two years now, filming and photographing for longer, and this is really my passion and dream to work professionally in the drone business. Where i live, there is a lot of recent development and this could turn out to be a profitable business if i can get it going.
Thanks,
Nate
 

BigAl07

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Speaking from personal experience I'd suggest you develop a detailed and extensive Business Plan. Doing this will teach you so much about your local area, competition, marketing, and pricing. It takes time but a solid BP can change your business (for the better) before you make your first dollar. Also if you decide to seek financial backing you'll probably be required to have a extensive BP completed.

If you've never done one or you don't want to do it you can out-source this. Also seek the help and advice of your local Small Business Center (usually part of the Community College locally) where they can give you FREE advice and have tons of helpful (and FREE) resources.

One thing I can tell you for sure.. do NOT let anyone else price your service/products. Only you can determine what your Cost of Doing Business is and only you can determine what you need/deserve per day in income. What works on one area/market may or may NOT work in your market. Going into a Small Business half cocked and uninformed (in terms of Small Business) is the quickest way to fail in your Small Business Adventure.

Keep in mind that many markets are becoming very saturated with "Drone Professionals". Your best bet for success is to make drones a portion of a larger business platform. Don't rely solely on drones as your business but rather make drones one of the tools you use in your business to become successful.
 
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Speaking from personal experience I'd suggest you develop a detailed and extensive Business Plan. Doing this will teach you so much about your local area, competition, marketing, and pricing. It takes time but a solid BP can change your business (for the better) before you make your first dollar. Also if you decide to seek financial backing you'll probably be required to have a extensive BP completed.

If you've never done one or you don't want to do it you can out-source this. Also seek the help and advice of your local Small Business Center (usually part of the Community College locally) where they can give you FREE advice and have tons of helpful (and FREE) resources.

One thing I can tell you for sure.. do NOT let anyone else price your service/products. Only you can determine what your Cost of Doing Business is and only you can determine what you need/deserve per day in income. What works on one area/market may or may NOT work in your market. Going into a Small Business half cocked and uninformed (in terms of Small Business) is the quickest way to fail in your Small Business Adventure.

Keep in mind that many markets are becoming very saturated with "Drone Professionals". Your best bet for success is to make drones a portion of a larger business platform. Don't rely solely on drones as your business but rather make drones one of the tools you use in your business to become successful.
Thanks for the advice. I've been doing a lot of research and forming out my plan. As you said make the drone a tool in your arsenal, I'm offering reality videos using some drone and a lot of ground video of the outside and inside from a handheld gimbal. Im starting a website to advertise better and am going to pass out flyers with an a link to it. Im working on making a demo video of what i can do. I think the hardest part is figuring out how much to charge and making sure everything is legal and safe. Also, If I'm flying within a mile to 2 miles from a small airport and am staying under 75 feet, do i need any clearance to fly? are there any rules on this? especially if its a paid job on someone else property? Cause technically, under 100 is the property owners airspace correct? but above the is FAA controlled?
 
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Sorry for the crappy writing and quickly wrote reply :)
 

BigAl07

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I think the hardest part is figuring out how much to charge and making sure everything is legal and safe.

Your Business Plan will teach you all of that in terms of pricing. It gives you a HUGE head start on your up and coming competition and might even give you an advantage over existing competition.

Cause technically, under 100 is the property owners airspace correct? but above the is FAA controlled?


Sorry but you're incorrect there. The whole "property owners airspace" is a farce. In laymen terms once the aircraft is "In the AIR" it's in National Air Space and as such regulated solely by the FAA. Now just because you "can" fly somewhere doesn't mean you should. You've got to have morals and be professional at all times.

Also, If I'm flying within a mile to 2 miles from a small airport and am staying under 75 feet, do i need any clearance to fly? are there any rules on this? especially if its a paid job on someone else property?

You'll learn (or you should) during the study portion of getting Part 107 that it does not matter how far you are from an airport. It matters what Air Space classification you're in. To fly in "Controlled Airspace" a Part 107 operator goes to an online portal and request an Air Space Authorization (short term) or Air Space Waiver (long term but harder to get approved). Then you way UP TO 90 days for it. And it doesn't matter if you're flying 10' or 399' you don't fly in Controlled Air Space without the Authorization or Waiver unless you have direct approval from the tower (which is not suggested per the FAA).
 
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Your Business Plan will teach you all of that in terms of pricing. It gives you a HUGE head start on your up and coming competition and might even give you an advantage over existing competition.




Sorry but you're incorrect there. The whole "property owners airspace" is a farce. In laymen terms once the aircraft is "In the AIR" it's in National Air Space and as such regulated solely by the FAA. Now just because you "can" fly somewhere doesn't mean you should. You've got to have morals and be professional at all times.



You'll learn (or you should) during the study portion of getting Part 107 that it does not matter how far you are from an airport. It matters what Air Space classification you're in. To fly in "Controlled Airspace" a Part 107 operator goes to an online portal and request an Air Space Authorization (short term) or Air Space Waiver (long term but harder to get approved). Then you way UP TO 90 days for it. And it doesn't matter if you're flying 10' or 399' you don't fly in Controlled Air Space without the Authorization or Waiver unless you have direct approval from the tower (which is not suggested per the FAA).
Thanks for confirming the airspace theory. I wasn't ever sure if that was true or not, in your last sentence there you say something about flying without a waiver is not suggested. But it can be done? so if i wasnt ever getting above the house that i was filming then it wouldn't necessarily be required to get a waiver?? I mean, obviously you should get the waiver so that you are safe to fly, but you "could" do it legally? And for getting the waiver to fly, after you request it how long usually does it take? a week? cause say i requested it it the week before then then went out and did it, would i need to renew the waiver the next week if i only did the short term version?
 
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And hey, please don't take my reply as me just wanting to argue with you. You know more about the subject I'm sure, I'm just trying learn about what i need to do and you have been very helpful with that so far.
 

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Thanks for confirming the airspace theory. I wasn't ever sure if that was true or not, in your last sentence there you say something about flying without a waiver is not suggested. But it can be done? so if i wasnt ever getting above the house that i was filming then it wouldn't necessarily be required to get a waiver?? I mean, obviously you should get the waiver so that you are safe to fly, but you "could" do it legally? And for getting the waiver to fly, after you request it how long usually does it take? a week? cause say i requested it it the week before then then went out and did it, would i need to renew the waiver the next week if i only did the short term version?

Thanks for confirming the airspace theory. I wasn't ever sure if that was true or not, in your last sentence there you say something about flying without a waiver is not suggested. But it can be done?
I don't think you're reading my replies to the letter. I didn't say "not suggested". Below is my own quote:

And it doesn't matter if you're flying 10' or 399' you don't fly in Controlled Air Space without the Authorization or Waiver unless you have direct approval from the tower (which is not suggested per the FAA).

You have (3) opions:

A) submit to the online portal and request an Authorization or Waiver for the airspace
B) Call the tower and ask for permission (document who you talk to and try to get it in writing) also the FAA has said to NOT go this route and most towers will refer you to the online portal but "Legally" you can still (as of today 6/9/2017) call the tower and ask for permission. This might change in the future.
C) Go do the job without following the Federal Regulations and risk your drone, your wallet, your freedom, and your business.

I really don't suggest B or C to be honest.

I mean, obviously you should get the waiver so that you are safe to fly, but you "could" do it legally?

Once you get your Part 107 License/permit whatever you want to call it you are LEGALLY bound to follow the FAA Regulations. Violating them can result in fines, loss of flying privileges and in worse case scenarios jail time (very VERY extreme and rare).

And for getting the waiver to fly, after you request it how long usually does it take? a week?

Then you wait UP TO 90 days for it.

Up to 90 days depending on how complex your request is. Some come back in as little as a few weeks and some take a couple (or three) months. The more Complex the airspace is and the more dangerous your request the longer it takes to get approved or denied. Now if you ask for 400' directly off the end of a runway in Class B (B for BUSY) airspace they are going to DENY it immediately.

cause say i requested it it the week before then then went out and did it, would i need to renew the waiver the next week if i only did the short term version?
Authorization good for up to 6 months
Waiver good for up to 2 years (but harder to get approved).

If you need to renew an Authorization/Waiver you would request this at least 90 days prior to expiration and in the request process you can input that you have an existing one and want to renew it. This "might" help expedite the process.
 
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I don't think you're reading my replies to the letter. I didn't say "not suggested". Below is my own quote:



You have (3) opions:

A) submit to the online portal and request an Authorization or Waiver for the airspace
B) Call the tower and ask for permission (document who you talk to and try to get it in writing) also the FAA has said to NOT go this route and most towers will refer you to the online portal but "Legally" you can still (as of today 6/9/2017) call the tower and ask for permission. This might change in the future.
C) Go do the job without following the Federal Regulations and risk your drone, your wallet, your freedom, and your business.

I really don't suggest B or C to be honest.



Once you get your Part 107 License/permit whatever you want to call it you are LEGALLY bound to follow the FAA Regulations. Violating them can result in fines, loss of flying privileges and in worse case scenarios jail time (very VERY extreme and rare).





Up to 90 days depending on how complex your request is. Some come back in as little as a few weeks and some take a couple (or three) months. The more Complex the airspace is and the more dangerous your request the longer it takes to get approved or denied. Now if you ask for 400' directly off the end of a runway in Class B (B for BUSY) airspace they are going to DENY it immediately.


Authorization good for up to 6 months
Waiver good for up to 2 years (but harder to get approved).

If you need to renew an Authorization/Waiver you would request this at least 90 days prior to expiration and in the request process you can input that you have an existing one and want to renew it. This "might" help expedite the process.
going up to your first answer about the suggested thing. That was my bad, i misread the sentence as it could be done but is not suggested. but you meant its not suggested to get the ok from the tower, you should do it online. Also, why on beforeyoufly.com does the map say that some schools are no fly zones? it treats them as airports? in my town, there is only one small airport but the no fly ring spreads around it because of the schools.
ill have to check into getting a waiver so i can get going.
 

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going up to your first answer about the suggested thing. That was my bad, i misread the sentence as it could be done but is not suggested. but you meant its not suggested to get the ok from the tower, you should do it online. Also, why on beforeyoufly.com does the map say that some schools are no fly zones? it treats them as airports? in my town, there is only one small airport but the no fly ring spreads around it because of the schools.
ill have to check into getting a waiver so i can get going.

I don't use that ap as it's for hobbyist (I think). I use AirNav and UAV Forecast. Ultimately you have to learn to read a sectional chart and determine for yourself what's good to fly and not. Aps etc are for "reference only".

You can't request/get an Authorization or a Waiver until after you have completed the Part 107 testing and gotten your credentials.
 
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I don't use that ap as it's for hobbyist (I think). I use AirNav and UAV Forecast. Ultimately you have to learn to read a sectional chart and determine for yourself what's good to fly and not. Aps etc are for "reference only".

You can't request/get an Authorization or a Waiver until after you have completed the Part 107 testing and gotten your credentials.
I Know i can't until i have that. I simply said i was going to look into it. I figured the map was hobbyist use. But wasnt sure, the place I'm looking to fly I'm pretty sure i can with the waiver.
 
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I can tell you running a profitable aerial/terrestrial photography/videography business is a lot harder than most people think. Also, it sounds like you have a lot to learn about how airspace approval works and where you can/cannot fly. I have submitted over 30 waiver requests for everything from flying beyond line of sight, flying at night, flying at specific locations etc. with varying degrees of success. I literally typically have at least 10 waivers pending with the FAA at any given time.

Additionally you need to get a highlight reel together, start your business, get your EIN, register your domain for your website, create/build/buy your website, get some business cards, create a logo, trademark the logo, become better than your competition at photography, better than your competition at videography, keep up with the latest FAA regulations, pass your 107, become familiar with the waiver process, advertise to your target customers, etc. etc. etc. The list goes on.

I do think a business plan could be helpful, but maybe a bit overrated. If you are passionate enough about what you want to do, and start small you can be successful without one. I never wrote one myself, and have had no problem keeping solid bookings for up to 3-6 months out.

I do know that if you want to get a solid client base and survive every kid with a drone who wants to make money doing it you have to have better footage, better techniques, more efficient workflows, better SEO, better advertising, etc. than your competition, and after all of that; you still need to find a way to be profitable.

The biggest thing that I have found in my market that makes me stand out from my competition is that I have a more diverse service portfolio; I do everything from construction progression photography to interior/exterior photography, to interior/exterior video, to virtual tours, to 360 panoramas. I also do more than just real estate, I also specialize in fashion, models, portraits, and landscape. There are so many areas of photography and video that are out there, and if you diversify your service offerings you will start to get and keep clients in ways you never even imagined. Not to mention you will learn advanced photography and videography techniques that will make all of your footage stand out from your competition.
 
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I can tell you running a profitable aerial/terrestrial photography/videography business is a lot harder than most people think. Also, it sounds like you have a lot to learn about how airspace approval works and where you can/cannot fly. I have submitted over 30 waiver requests for everything from flying beyond line of sight, flying at night, flying at specific locations etc. with varying degrees of success. I literally typically have at least 10 waivers pending with the FAA at any given time.

Additionally you need to get a highlight reel together, start your business, get your EIN, register your domain for your website, create/build/buy your website, get some business cards, create a logo, trademark the logo, become better than your competition at photography, better than your competition at videography, keep up with the latest FAA regulations, pass your 107, become familiar with the waiver process, advertise to your target customers, etc. etc. etc. The list goes on.

I do think a business plan could be helpful, but maybe a bit overrated. If you are passionate enough about what you want to do, and start small you can be successful without one. I never wrote one myself, and have had no problem keeping solid bookings for up to 3-6 months out.

I do know that if you want to get a solid client base and survive every kid with a drone who wants to make money doing it you have to have better footage, better techniques, more efficient workflows, better SEO, better advertising, etc. than your competition, and after all of that; you still need to find a way to be profitable.

The biggest thing that I have found in my market that makes me stand out from my competition is that I have a more diverse service portfolio; I do everything from construction progression photography to interior/exterior photography, to interior/exterior video, to virtual tours, to 360 panoramas. I also do more than just real estate, I also specialize in fashion, models, portraits, and landscape. There are so many areas of photography and video that are out there, and if you diversify your service offerings you will start to get and keep clients in ways you never even imagined. Not to mention you will learn advanced photography and videography techniques that will make all of your footage stand out from your competition.
Thanks, yeah I'm building website site right now, getting certified, making a demo reel, and just working everything out i need to get started. I never really thought of making a logo or anything, but thats a great idea. And I'm not new to the drone rodeo, I've been flying drones for two years now and doing photography and films longer then that. Some of your guys sentences made it seem as though you are taking me as one of those guys that has no care for the industry or hobby and will do whatever it takes to get his way. Im definitely not trying to be one of those guys. I want to help support our hobby and start a small business of my own, i understand the challenge i am accepting and that its not going to be necessarily easy to get going.
 
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Thanks, yeah I'm building website site right now, getting certified, making a demo reel, and just working everything out i need to get started. I never really thought of making a logo or anything, but thats a great idea. And I'm not new to the drone rodeo, I've been flying drones for two years now and doing photography and films longer then that. Some of your guys sentences made it seem as though you are taking me as one of those guys that has no care for the industry or hobby and will do whatever it takes to get his way. Im definitely not trying to be one of those guys. I want to help support our hobby and start a small business of my own, i understand the challenge i am accepting and that its not going to be necessarily easy to get going.
Well good luck, it sounds like you are off to a good start. Branding is very important, I use my logo on my shirts, business cards, its a watermark on all of my promo videos, it goes out on all of my proofs to my customers, etc. Business cards are very important too, I know in the digital age it seems like an antiquated concept, but they still work and are very cheap to get thousands of them made. If I'm filming a property and there is another one in the area for sale I will leave my card in their door, if I see a car with a real estate logo on the side I will leave one under their windshield wiper, if I'm talking to someone and find out they want to be a model or have a friend that wants to be a model I give them my card, etc. etc. All it takes is one customer to hire you based on getting your business cards to pay for the entire investment.
 
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Speaking from personal experience I'd suggest you develop a detailed and extensive Business Plan. Doing this will teach you so much about your local area, competition, marketing, and pricing. It takes time but a solid BP can change your business (for the better) before you make your first dollar. Also if you decide to seek financial backing you'll probably be required to have a extensive BP completed.

If you've never done one or you don't want to do it you can out-source this. Also seek the help and advice of your local Small Business Center (usually part of the Community College locally) where they can give you FREE advice and have tons of helpful (and FREE) resources.

One thing I can tell you for sure.. do NOT let anyone else price your service/products. Only you can determine what your Cost of Doing Business is and only you can determine what you need/deserve per day in income. What works on one area/market may or may NOT work in your market. Going into a Small Business half cocked and uninformed (in terms of Small Business) is the quickest way to fail in your Small Business Adventure.

Keep in mind that many markets are becoming very saturated with "Drone Professionals". Your best bet for success is to make drones a portion of a larger business platform. Don't rely solely on drones as your business but rather make drones one of the tools you use in your business to become successful.
Do you recommend a Business Plan template? I would like to make an official business plan, but I dont really know much about "general business"
 

BigAl07

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Do you recommend a Business Plan template? I would like to make an official business plan, but I dont really know much about "general business"


I really don't have one to suggest. I started with one we made when I was on college and used it as my template. I know there are MANY one the internet and some of them are free. A word of caution: Those 4-5 page business plans I've seen are worthless. A solid business plan can be dozens of pages long and well worth the time and effort it takes.
 

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