HOW TO PRICE DRONE WORK (and how much I make)


B. gives his thoughts on getting paid as a DRONE PILOT. (we also let you know who won the Give Away with DRONE ONE MEDIA!) Don’t forget to subscribe for …


  1. How would you charge per say… a farmer wants some Ariel pictures of his farm yard and land. Would you charge travel time? Or only the hours that the bird is in the air? How much per hour also?

  2. Business can be tough. In almost every sector there are people who will undercut. The way I deal with it is being very knowledgeable and not selling someone something they do not need. I also do my best to get get the job done right and when they need it. So treat your customers like they are your friends because they are. Also I did not see anything about building in replacement cost, nothing lasts forever and will usually cost more next time around, this includes the vehicles that get you where you need to, which will need tires, maintenance and other repairs. So like the man said do not cheap out, it is just not worth it .

  3. This was a great video! I am new to the industry but have flown drones in the past for fun. Now I am ready to go to the next step, and I am taking this very serious, and I also agree with everything you said in this video. Thank you for taking the time to educate us newbies and how we should support our other pilots.

  4. If Iโ€™m just starting out, I wanted to just film my friendโ€™s car and him driving on bridges and long roads, should i charge him? We arenโ€™t close friends but know each other from way back. P.s. i also just dropped $600 on a DJI mavic pro and passed my part 107 test.

  5. Question: (Pardon if you have already covered this but) I have been flying drones for fun now for 4 years. But I am about to get my Part 107. I notice a lot of adds for drone pilots that required logged hours. What exactly do you use to "log" your flying hours?

  6. I think lot of times the reason people are being undercut in video/film industry is because it's hard to get it. It's like no matter how skilled your are people go with who they know. So if you don't know anyone you left out of the "circle/old boys club" and sometimes you just gotta eat. I have a drone and I already got it stuck in a tree while doing work at my day job and I realized, they aren't even paying me to bring my drone so no more!!! I paid $200 to get it out a tree!!! So only fly as a hobby, no paid work. yet. thanks for pricing guide. But like I said it's a few guys in my area getting all the work.

  7. Great video. I have recently added a drone to my arsenal for my clients, its nice to see my idea of pricing is inline with what you discussed. Also nice to know related pricing within the industry. Some good explanations of why we charge what we charge.

  8. Hi,I live on a big community and i want to start some drone service to win some money i currently have a dji phantom 4 pro what should i deliver and should i do it? Btw i wont be breaking any laws cause this is in mexico and they have fewer drone laws and the community is private property.

  9. kiss drones goodbye! thousands of morons breaking every single drone law are on youtube! idiots! the governments working on banning them or controling them! you cant legally fly them anywhere so charging money for crime is wrong! cant fly in resdiential, parks, national or state, air space, government property theres nowhere legall except your own yard! people are stupid! you all go out of view , thats illegal, you all go over 400 ft illegal! blind following blind

  10. I agree very much with the points made here. Very much like the video…very straight forward. But one MAJOR thing to keep in mind. You have that huge laundry list of top notch experience. There is NO WAY an entry level operator can charge anywhere near what you charge….and they shouldn't. I think entry level people should be very clear about their experience and charge accordingly. You I'm certain are very clear about your level of expertise and charge accordingly. It falls largely on YOU to sell that level of service that you can provide. I hate undercutting, but there is sometimes not a big difference in the way "undercutting" is looked at vs. someone entry level trying to get into the market. It's all about perspective sometimes. Loved the video!

  11. Dude you are completely neglecting your IP (intellectual property) by using a HORRIBLE business model in which you're charging via labor wages ALONE. It must be completely stressful, and the lack of use for the footage you must experience after the assignment (FULL HDD). Not only are you under cutting your IP- and you aren't charging for it period. I understand that it is your business, and you can do whatever the heck you want to do, but dude IP is the only thing of value to your client.

    For example;

    A) if I were your client and had my own drone pilot, would YOU charge the same price to set up the shoot and VO (visually observe) my pilot? If the answer is no, then charging for time, task, and equipment is a hard sell.
    B) the client is charged a license fee to-
    1. use your footage
    2. for specific time (which will be renewable #repeatbizniz)
    3. for a specific audience size.
    You can easily supplement that "wage" strategy game in favor of a more "project/use" specific strategy. Not to mention, you can flat rate your wage under this working model.

    1. You are protected under US Copyright Laws ( You shot the damn footage! it is yours, but if you work-for-hire as a general contractor it will be extremely difficult to claim rights to a copyright violation, because of "work-for-hire" policies. In this instance, your work was commissioned- and therefore protected.
    2. You make WAAYY more money! WAAAAYYYY MORE! You can transfer rights (huge money too), lease rights, royalties, use, exploit, build ancillary, publish, etc. The opportunities are endless.
    3. You can take fewer jobs throughout the year, or hire someone to manage & lease your catalog of footage while you keep gunning for footage/content.

    1. Paperwork and contract are longer. Seriously mine are like 20 pages (most of it is copied and pasted from the US copyright rules and regs).
    2. Client/Costumer education. If you are not in a media town, you'll definitely need to book a proper meeting and give a powerpoint explaining the lifecycle of the transaction, but this is the moment where you can tell your client they are protected and US Copyright Laws (huge money-saver for the client), and there is virtually no liability unless they abuse their usage rights (and talk shit on the amateurs who know nothing about IP)
    3. Copyright policing and administration. Since leases expire, you'll have to send out notices to let your clients know. And possibly sue some pirate-assholes. Don't forget that this is an opportunity to renew those leases though. So, play nice.

    The numbers:
    I charge a flat-rate of $350.00/day to shoot (equip, labor, city-licenses). That's shit-money right. ๐Ÿ˜›

    But my license fees are as such.

    Let's say: it is a small biz event photoshoot for a social media site (FB, YT, whatever).
    1. Lease: $750/yr.
    2. Audience/exploitation fee (go off views or page likes):
    60ยข/view @ 10,000
    50ยข @ 20,000
    keep going down until you have 5-7 tiers with the last tier at 05ยข @ 1M+
    3. If the client is selling a product add a ROYALTY: 1.5ยข/item sold (paid quarterly).

    I'll stop there, since these are the most common circumstances with IP. This is how much you could be making off one shoot.

    350 – The Rate
    750 – The Lease
    xxx – Expenses
    1,100 – (1/3 or 1/2) Paid up front.

    The copyright (footage) minimums
    .60 @ 10,000 – 7000.00
    5% Royalty – ? (who knows, it's very subject and depend on what the client sells "a house=$100K=$1.5K royalty)
    $6000 for the length of the contract
    or $500/mo. invoiced every month.

    TOTAL EARNING = $7,100.00 ($8,600 w/ royalty example)

    In Closing –
    You are doing very well, but dude that footage is Intellectual Property. Charge for it. Don't forget to add a fee to cancel. Mine is the rate +(1/2), so $525.00. And charge the account late fees, I do at 2% per month. Never had to go to court (knock on wood), but definitely I have canceled contract and had accounts pay interest (late).

    The key is to not take a job your client can't afford. Walk away or do it for the rate at a 3-month lease. Under no circumstance can your clients hold your precious IP hostage. It's illegal and its wrong. If they want to use it, they can pay for it.

  12. Some may agree, some will disagree… As a commercial pilot of manned aircraft and a 107 holder, it is sometimes cheaper for the customer if I use a manned aircraft simply because I cut through the red tape of waivers. It really is sometimes cheaper to use a manned aircraft for the shot (depending on shot needed). After the time invested in airspace waivers a small chopper with a mid range camera is still the best choice. Above 500 feet a manned aircraft can fly over people and get the shot the day of without waiting for or doing research for the waiver. Which in my example, the over people waiver will 99.9999 % not be approved.

  13. Some really good advice dude. I would add that, coming from a computing and technology background, I tend to lower my rates for small non/not-for-profit entities and for local 'community service' groups.

    I had set standards which I applied (I'm retired now) across the board, whether I knew the people involved or not, so nobody ever gave me grief about "Well, you cut so-and-so a break, why not me?" I just made sure that they knew what my Standard rates were and how much of a discount they were getting.

    Doing this generated tons of local goodwill and a boatload of word-of-mouth buzz; which in the former case came back from local property owners giving me free permission to shoot many days of 'run & gun' ground footage; and in the latter case, since "Everybody knows somebody who knows somebody who has money" came back to me by way of a new client who had never heard of me, and that I would never have thought to contact. Of course, I don't advertise. Everything I do is from word-of-mouth referrals.

    My only exception to the non-profit rule is that if a "non-profit" can afford to pay their CEO $1,000,000+ in salary, they can cough-up my regular rates. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Again, you gave good advice. And your conversational delivery is ever so much more engaging than 'chapter & verse' and pie-charts.

  14. I am a beginner at this using a Mavic Pro. I do music videos and sometimes short films for local artists, usually for college students or people around that age. Shoots are usually only 2-4 hours and are mostly in easy to set up and fly locations. I'm having a hard time gauging an hourly rate for these. Anyone have any suggestions?


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