Top Ten List: Hiring a drone pilot.

Top 10 List: Hiring a drone pilot.

Hiring a drone pilot is often thought of as a easy process, just like hiring a photographer for a real estate listing. BUT Did you know that the FAA can fine you up to $11,000 for hiring a unlicensed pilot? Drone pilots are getting fined for breaking FAA rules but most agents and architects I talk to don't realize that they can be held legally and financially responsible for mistakes made by the remote pilot.

Protect yourself with these top 10 tips for hiring a drone pilot.

  • Are they are experienced?

  • A inexperienced drone pilot can, at best, produce subpar video and photo results, at worst, can crash and injure you, your client or a bystander. Choose wisely.

  • Are they are licensed?

  • An unlicensed pilot can be cheaper in the short run but may end up costing you much, much more. It's great saving money, isnt? Except, if you get caught hiring an unlicensed pilot and get fined by the FAA. If they crash, you may have to shell out $11,000 in fines on top of paying for damages and injury. Be careful. The extra $100 you save may end up costing you much more.

  • Are they are insured?

  • Would you drive without insurance? Don't fly without it either. If you do, you could be opening yourself up to huge fines and charges for property damages...FROM THE FAA. That doesn't even take into account whether or not the drone pilot injures someone. The FAA will hold the drone pilot as well as the person hiring the pilot, responsible. Make sure your pilot is insured against accidents with liability insurance.

  • FAA Fines Realtors

  • Are they a specialist?

  • Do you sell homes, cars, yachts and cell phones? Nope. You real estate. You specialize in something. Your job requires that you specialize. A drone pilot is a specialist and a professional. The FAA considers them a pilot first, which is why the certification is called remote pilot. Someone who focuses on others things doesn't have the expertise or the knowledge to properly film safely and in a professional manner. Amateur drone pilots can end being expensive and dangerous. Be careful.

  • What do they charge? $150-250 hour is about average for a real estate shoot. Just because someone is more expensive doesn't mean you should skip them. A good pilot can add a lot of value, save you time, money and help to drive your marketing efforts.

  • A drone pilot that charges much less than average for a fully edited real estate job and produces a video that is subpar and does not help to sell your listings, has just cost you money and ypou may end hiring another pilot to fix their mistakes. And they potentially cost you a LOT of money. How long will your listing be on the market before you realize your marketing is not working? How much was that time worth?

  • Dp they charge significantly less? They may end up getting you fined for being unlicensed.

  • Do they charge significantly more? They may have moved from another market, like L.A. or N.Y..They may work in the film industry and charge higher rates or they employ advanced editing and advanced filming techniques. Ask for the details of their pricing and what you are getting for your money.

  • Know your goal for your marketing efforts.

  • What is the final goal of the shoot? Different jobs require different filming techniques. A real estate listings is different than a commercial real estate property which is different from filming a commercial vs filming a building for an architect. Make sure you and your pilot are both on the same page for what will be produced.

  • A commercial real estate shoot has different needs than a residential vs a shoot for an architect. A commercial agent may need longer shots and more focus on local traffic and nearby business, while a residential listing may need to show the front & back of the home in pleasing way. An architect needs an in depth look at the building and its context in the environment. All are different and all are filmed specific to its end use,

  • Graphics? Music? A drone pilot that knows how to film is great to have, one that knows how to film, edit, and create music and graphics for your marketing can be invaluable.

  • Do they film cinematic shots?

  • A drone pilot is needed to be good at many things.

  • Photography

  • Video

  • Hand-Eye coordination

  • Video editing

  • Their equipment and camera.

  • FAA, and local government rules and regulations.

  • Weather

  • As well as being able to film cinematically.

  • What does this mean? Most pilots are good at 2-3 of these. A marketing video that sells has all of them. Which means it may be more expensive than your nephew and his new Xmas gift. Do they include graphics? Music? A drone pilot that knows how to film is great to have, one that knows how to film, edit, and create well edited video with graphics can be invaluable.

  • Architects, Landscape Architects or designers.

  • How do designers needs differ from agents? One is marketing for portfolio one is marketing for sales. The portfolio for designers, architects and landscape architects is their legacy and how the world knows their work. It is the only was that potential clients know their work and professionalism. ANd now drones offer a way to view large landscapes, building and site layouts that offer an unprecedented view of the built environment.

  • Luxury Real Estate vs Commercial Real Estate.

  • Luxury real estate needs more than just photos or a video walkthrough. You need to produce an powerful commercial. One worthy of the $1 million + price tag. Is your listing or property worth the extra time and money, if so don't skimp. Why hire a drone pilot for a luxury estate? Because its cheaper than not hiring one. A good photographer, videographer or drone pilot can produce results that are dramatically better than other less experienced people. A comprehensive marketing package of images, video and aerials can be very compelling and a powerful marketing strategy that uses the power of social media to sell. That translates to more money and less time on the market . Both are HUGE advantages.

  • Commercial real estate is a whole other genre that deserves it own post, but I'll try to sum up some quick points. In commercial real estate, the actual building being listed for sale or rental, is only one part of the whole marketing strategy Things that are needed for a good marketing video for commercial real estate are:

  • Its context to the local market

  • The amount of foot and auto traffic that pass by that location

  • Graphic information as well graphical land analysis that explains what the viewer is seeing and why it's important.

  • Price, location, square footage, traffic volume, land and building zoning, etc, etc.

  • How far away it is to a large metropolitan population

These are just some of the points needed to make a good commercial real estate video. This is a specialty product and pricing for video such as these, are at a premium. Filming a commercial real estate video can take an 2-5 hours. Editing a video can take upwards of 2-5 times that a typical real estate video and pricing will reflect this.

Hiring a drone operator should be an easy and safe experience. Make sure your hiring the best one you can with your budget and, be safe and don’t break the law!

If this post helps you at please feel free to sign up to our newsletter, here:

Email Sign Up

If you have any questions about hiring a drone pilot, filming video or photography, don't hesitate to contact us.