Inspections with drones have tremendous potential, but it requires the right knowledge and expertise. In this article, we will provide five concrete tips on how to earn (more) money on drone inspections.
#1 Know what customers are looking for
Understanding what customers are looking for enables you to focus your inspections on important areas. You know where to fly closer with the drone to get the right pictures.
We have often seen and heard about drone inspections of wind turbine wings, where the drone pilot did not know which damages were relevant to look for. The drone pilot lacked utterly central inspection pictures, and the work was wasted.
If you find damage that you do not know the type of, there are tools you can use for help. With Inspection Cloud, you can use so-called Computer Vision, where an artificial intelligence looks through your inspection data and mark the damages for you.
#2 Reduce your own and customer's time spent
The more you can reduce your own time spent on a job and still get the same payment, the higher your hourly wage will be. Therefore, avoid unnecessary administration during your inspections. The right idea is to systematize things and use checklists.
Let's say you get $600 for a task lasting 4 hours, which corresponds to an hourly wage of $150. If you can cut an hour and get the same payment, your hourly wage is now $200 which is an increase of 33%
The post-processing of data can quickly become a time waster that steals your entire profits. Therefore, you must minimize the time spent after finishing.
Likewise, your customer also does not want to spend unnecessary time on post-processing. If you can remove one or several tasks from your customer, you will be able to make an additional payment for this. If you can remove 1 hour of work from your customer, you will be able to take anything from $50-150 more for your inspection - so consider where you can remove unnecessary work from your customer.
#3 Optimize your flight path
One of the areas where you can spend a little extra time is on your flight planning. Flight planning can save you much time on the spot and in the air.
One way to optimize your flight is to plan the flight path with an app. Different apps can calculate the optimal flight path while ensuring that you collect the correct data.
Should the inspection be used for 3D or point cloud, it is essential to get the right overlap on the images. Various apps can make sure you get the correct number of pictures - neither too many nor too little.
- DroneHarmony - For complex inspections in height.
- DroneDeploy - For mapping and inspections seen from above.
- Pix4Dcapture - Another app for mapping.
- Litchi - For line inspections, or where only a few photos are captured at specific locations
#4 Deliver a complete report
Once you have made an inspection, it is essential to create value for the inspection. Sending 3-400 images from your drone inspection on a flash drive to the customer does not give much value.
Often the customer cannot see where close-up images are captured to the object; thus the image is worthless.
By giving information about where the image is captured and what you see in the image, your image with this informations goes from being worthless to have a huge value for the customer.
Inspection Cloud is a system that is easy to use for this.
#5 Avoid complicated tools
There are many complicated "engineering tools" that can do everything in the world. If you do not manage to use these tools, you should instead find some that are easy to use - Otherwise, you'll suddenly spend to much time with no benefit.
If your customer uses a complicated tool that you do not know, it's better to match the expectation that you deliver the inspection material in a format that you know, and the customer can subsequently convert to what the customer needs.