Ken started his drone business with a Mavic Pro Platinum drone. He decided to purchase a Mavic 2 Pro which made a world of difference and also allowed him to start working with Loveland Innovations. Loveland Innovations requires either a Mavic 2 Pro or Phantom 4 Pro to get the quality needed and to be compatible with their IMGING app. Up to now, Ken has worked with Loveland Innovations primarily for roofing inspections for insurance and warranty claims.
The way it works is the Field Operations Coordinator calls, generally about a week in advance, to see if you're interested and able to do a job, or sometimes an email will go out to a group of area pilots. If you accept, then the job or jobs will get loaded into your app with all the detail needed to carry it out. The jobs vary in the work that has to be done. All jobs start with an autonomous flight that you start and monitor from the app, then it depends on the service level. Most of the time you have to do an additional manual flight to gather some additional detailed shots, and some have even more shots from the ground. Everything is conducted from within the app. Also, it depends on whether or not there are trees close to the property. Some jobs can be very interesting.
Once you're done, you download from the drone to the app, then you upload from the app to their cloud servers and you're done, assuming you captured everything needed. It actually works quite well.
They have an excellent support team that you can contact after uploading to make sure everything is fine before you leave the job site. Also, a recent job I did was when the whole west coast was having severe wildfires with terrible smoky conditions. When I arrived at the location it was very smoky so I wasn't sure if this would cause problems with image quality. I contacted the support team to see if they had any guidance and they were immediately available and very helpful. The woman assured me it would be fine, but we agreed that if I was concerned after getting a few images, I could have her immediately take a look and let me know if they were acceptable so that I wouldn't waste my time or have to re-do the job. Turned out that the images came out just fine. It did help that the smoke was starting to clear by the time I had started the job.
I've used SkyWatch.AI from the beginning. When you're doing jobs here and there, the hourly option is perfect. It's super easy and very inexpensive, really. I had a couple of small jobs that I did in the past where I was considering not using any insurance, but when I looked at the price and ease of obtaining the insurance it didn't make sense not to get it. Now that I'm doing semi-regular work with Loveland Innovations it made sense for me to do the monthly option. It's nice because you can stop it anytime you want, but if you do have somewhat regular work it's great not to worry about it and you get a bigger discount. Loveland Innovations requires $500K drone liability and $500K general liability which is pretty good compared to some other drone service companies that I'm aware of.
“At this point for me, Loveland Innovations and SkyWatch.AI are the perfect combination for doing drone work (and I'm not getting paid to say that). My livelihood doesn't count on the money I'm making from this business, and it's lots of fun. If someone is trying to make a living entirely from a drone-based business, they will need to put in more time and effort than I currently am, but for me, this works great. I'm not ready to retire from my current full-time job, but I think a drone business will be perfect as an early-retirement job! ”