What to look for in a UAV service company

The Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) industry is evolving at lightspeed. With constant advances in technology and the easy access to drones its important to know the company you hire is competent and capable. Here are some questions to ask before you hire the wrong company.

Best System for the Project

  • Define your mission: What data do you need and how do you need it presented?
  • Age of equipment: Technology is advancing daily. Does your drone service provider have the latest and greatest tech gear?
  • How many drones, sensors, and cameras do they have? This can give you comfort should the primary system fail. It also shows you the experience of the company and how invested they are in offering a quality product.
  • What's included in the contract? Will the data collected by the drone be analyzed and processed or will it be in its raw form? You need to know you're getting reliable and usable data.
  • Do they have legitimate references? Drones are a new industry, it will be hard to find a long track record of success. Having prior satisfied customers is an advantage.
  • Are you getting quality for the cost? Sometimes the best option is the most costly. The benefits of safety around the operation and reputational protection will require a greater investment.

Legal and Legislative Coverage

  • Are they legally allowed to operate a drone under the FAA guidelines? As of June 2016 Drone operators must be certified under FAA Part 107. Ensure your provider is legal before doing any business with them.
  • Do the pilots have certifications or licenses? Under Part 107 the FAA is requiring drone pilots to pass a certification course prior to flying a drone. Make sure your pilots are licensed
  • Do they have insurance? Drone insurance is readily available, make sure your service provider has enough coverage for anything that could go wrong on your job. Companies can easily get $1-5 million in insurance, but much higher amounts are available to those companies that have shown a necessary level of mitigated risks. If your provider can't get a higher insurance amount it may be a sign of lack of faith from the insurance community.

Safety and Maintenance

  • How often do they perform maintenance? There are no current regulations or maintenance standards but all operators should perform a pre-flight check. Regular preventative maintenance is noticeable in a clean well-kept piece of machinery.
  • Do they perform risk management prior to and during operations? Reputable drone services will always conduct some sort of risk assessment prior to flight and continue to assess factors throughout the job. A good operator knows when to halt operations due to increased risk or decreased safety.
  • Does your project require indoor work? Many companies won't fly indoors, FAA guidelines don't cover indoor operations and therefore have little to no regulation. If you need indoor work look for a company with experience operating under these conditions to ensure safety for all parties involved.

Ready to make the call?

Now that you know what you're looking for, give Vertical Imagery a call. We'll proudly exceed all of your requirements and expectations. We hold ourselves to the highest standards on all of our projects and are licensed and certified by the FAA. The safety of you, your team, and your project is of our highest concern and will never be jeopardized by cutting corners. When the job requires aerial imaging make sure Vertical Imagery is your first call!