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Curious What Types Of Drone Services Are Out There?

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All the info about drone services you ever wanted to know

So, I finished shooting a listing property for one of North East Ohio’s top real estate agents with Keller Williams. Rather than head back to the office to start my editing process, I stopped at a local coffee shop (Crimson Cup in Tallmadge, FYI, excellent Nitro Coldbrew coffee!). I must have sparked some interest when I was sitting at the booth with my company swag, my DSLR next to me, and a backpack filled with camera equipment. An individual who claimed to live nearby asked me what I had taken pictures of. As the conversation progressed, I started to pick up on the fact that they didn’t realize that there are local companies that offer drone services! They would have never known where to look to answer their question of “drone services near me.”

Walking away from the coffee shop, I realized two things. One, I got almost zero photo editing done and was going to have a couple of extra hours in the office. And two, there must be quite a few people looking for “drone services near me.”

That said, as a drone photographer I wanted to take the opportunity to answer the local community about a company that does UAV services (unmanned aerial vehicle) in their area, along with some of the things that you may need UAV services for.

So if you have ever looked for a company that could break out a drone and do photography, video, or other drone services near you, check out the content below, and I will help answer those questions.

Things you can use a drone service company for

There are many different types of services drone pilots can perform for clients. You’ve probably heard of real estate photography and aerial video. But there are some you probably haven’t thought of, like cell tower inspection, roof inspection, and using UAVs for construction. 

The extensive progression in technology by the drone industry has made it easier and cheaper for companies to see what only helicopters and birds could see in the past. Below I’ll discuss in detail some of the different industries UAVs are used.

Real estate photography

Given the fact that aerial photography services are part of what I do for a living, using drones for real estate photography has a special place in my heart. In the past ten years, UAVs have made it much easier to get those crisp hero shots that make real estate listings stand out and build the brand of real estate agents. 

Drone photography went from a luxury for the highest-priced homes to an expected feature in any real estate listing. Aerial photography for a real estate listing gives the prospective buyer a birds-eye view of the property. These aerial photos and videos can provide a better perspective of the property’s neighbors and the nearby amenities like lakes and parks. Raising the height of the framing for the photos also gives a more professional feel, similar to what home builders and designers use when marketing their work. 

Generally, when shooting a house, I use gutter and roof peak height as a starting point for capturing the outside of the home. Then I will catch an off-center side angle farther away, and a higher elevation straight-down shot to show where the house sits on the property. This is where you may see listings that show an outline of the property lines. Property lines can be done with Google Earth, but an aerial photographer can give a higher-definition shot and an updated view of what the property looks like in its current state. Drone video for real estate listings is also a great way to showcase the house and its most important features, such as detached garages, barns, ponds, or tennis courts. These can be short videos, but when added to the listing photos, they set a listing apart from the rest.

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Drone Services for Construction

The use of drone photography by construction companies has skyrocketed over the past five years. UAVs provide a fast and efficient way to survey and monitor a multitude of data points during a construction project. According to a McKinsey study, the construction industry has, and continues to struggle with inefficiency throughout projects. Inefficiencies lead to projects taking longer than expected and coming in over budget. The technological innovations in drones, cameras, and LIDAR have made data collection and management a considerable asset for construction companies. These drone photography companies provide progress monitoring, mapping, pre-planning, material management, risk mitigation, aerial inspections, and surveying. 

What used to take hours with specialized and expensive equipment can now be done in just a few minutes, and data can be sent to the local or national offices of the construction company for processing. With this data at their fingertips, construction companies can monitor their projects more efficiently, utilize the resource of remote workers, and communicate with their stakeholders more efficiently.

Drones have also unlocked the ability to capture construction zones and projects in unique situations. These include projects on islands or over the water, such as bridges and materials shipping. There are many benefits for construction companies to hire drone operators that perform different types of drone imagery. These include increased profit margins, more effective customer acquisition, and more efficient scheduling. In short, construction companies will likely continue to grow their adoption of UAV services to manage their projects more efficiently and deliver to their customers.

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Drone service for radio tower inspection

Another drone inspection service outside real estate listings you may not have thought of is tower inspection. Drones can examine these towers much more efficiently and deliver valuable data in ways people on ground-based systems like cranes cannot. High-resolution visual inspections using commercial UAV-based camera systems are more flexible and quicker than ground-based inspections. All visual content is recorded in a professional high-resolution video that is loaded into specialized software to make digital twin 3D models for further analysis. 

Thermal cameras inspect the tower for hot spots, indicating faulty wires or antennas. Still photos can also be captured during the inspection. This remote aerial method significantly reduces man-hour costs, liability, safety exposures, and high-reach equipment costs. Drones can safely assess the condition and orientation of all cell tower components before the repair crew is sent on-site. Inspections are analyzed by technical personnel on-site or remotely via an internet connection.

Towers can also remain functional during the inspection. Communication companies with cell and radio towers, municipalities with water towers, wind farms, and other industries that use towers or vertical structures as part of their daily operations require regular maintenance. Drone aerial inspections offer a cost-effective solution to keep people safe while saving time and money.

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Drone home inspection

Something I find very interesting is how much UAVs have impacted the home inspection industry. It’s not just real estate photographers using them for photos and video. Home inspectors, roofing companies, residential solar companies, and insurance professionals have adopted drones to make their jobs easier, safer, and more effective. Below are some areas where drone inspection is changing the game.
Drone services for home inspectors

A significant advancement in drone technology is thermography. Home inspectors have been using thermal cameras for years to inspect the walls and windows of a house. These thermal images can quickly show where there may be gaps in the insulation and electrical issues. Using a UAV, the inspector can scan the home’s outside walls to inspect thermal leakage on walls, windows, and around the electrical meter.

Before drones, a roof inspection required someone to climb a ladder and walk around the roof to determine the condition. This poses several issues, such as risks when using ladders and slippery roofs and possible damage to the roofing material if it’s very hot or cold outside. This is where roof inspections with a drone come in.

InterNACHI, or the International association of certified home inspectors, states; the inspector shall inspect the roof covering materials, gutters, downspouts, vents, flashing, skylights, chimneys, other roof penetrations, and the general structure. The home inspector is not required to walk on any roof or do anything that may, in the inspector’s opinion, be dangerous or damage property. Using a drone is an excellent solution to abide by InterNACHI standards while remaining safely on the ground.

Roof inspections with a drone

Drones can be used to perform aerial roof inspections by home inspectors, roofing companies, and insurance professionals (for storm damage) to safely and efficiently determine a roof’s condition. With the camera technology that drones can carry, these professionals can take still photos, videos, thermal images, and even be used to take a roof measurement to determine the amount of material needed to replace it. 

This can have positive effects on the roofer’s materials management. For insurance claims adjusters, UAVs can speed up jobs by 1.5 times. Pictures of the roof are also helpful for data mining and product pricing. Drone roof inspections can be performed on residential and commercial roofs, making it a versatile tool.

Drone inspection for solar companies

Imagine having to inspect acres of solar panels with handheld equipment from the ground or with a pickup truck. It takes hours, and it’s probably sunny and hot. Now imagine being able to complete the job in 10% of the time. Thermography and multispectral cameras mounted on UAVs make this a reality. With the ever-growing push to renewable energy, solar power has seen the largest advancements in technology and adoption, leading to the cost per megawatt coming down. 

This is all great progress, but these panels need regular inspection and maintenance to keep them generating reliable power to the grid. Energy companies have since adopted UAVs to make these inspections more efficient, with higher accuracy and deeper data collection for analysis. With drone inspections, these companies can now detect defective cells or cables with pinpoint accuracy for where to send the repair crew on these vast solar fields.

What areas does Captivly cover for drone services

Are you looking for drone services near me? Captivly performs aerial real estate photography and other drone jobs for northeast Ohio. As a drone service provider, we predominantly service the following counties: Cuyahoga, Summit, Medina, Stark, Portage, and Geauga, but we do have flexibility outside our central region. Our drone service options include property outlines, aerial photography, and videography services.

We also have aerial inspection services. There are many things to consider when planning on getting UAV services. Most importantly, ensure your project is planned well in advance in case your property is in a restricted air space, so your FAA-licensed drone pilot can obtain proper clearance.

Cleveland Drone Services

In Cleveland, one might think there are more limitations due to the Cleveland Hopkins and Cleveland Burke airports. While these are controlled airspaces, licensed drone pilots can request prior approval to fly in certain areas. A drone operator can capture the cityscapes and skylines of Cleveland, day or night. With the city on the water, you can have some amazing shots.

Akron Drone Services

Captivly provides drone services in Akron and the surrounding area. Whether you need aerial photography, visual inspections, or drone videos we can help you with your project. When looking for drone services in Akron, Ohio, one of the most common needs for our services is for commercial real estate photography. With all the corporate buildings and commercial properties in the area, realtors tend to find quite a bit of competition.

One thing that makes the top agents stand out over the competition is when they consistently use high-quality photos of their properties. However, they don’t always use these photos for the MLS. The power behind professional photography comes into play when you leverage those images to improve your personal brand. Showcasing the top images on your social media feed, placing a quick 15-second video in the reel section of Instagram or Facebook, and building your brand image on your website are powerful ways to stand out.

Canton Drone Services

Just like in Cleveland, one of the limitations that come into play when looking for drone services is the restricted air space. Akron-Canton Airport is a large airport in the heart of Canton that takes up quite a bit of the air real estate. That being said, it isn’t impossible to get drone services done. That means that you will have to ensure that you are giving the company working with you ample time to ensure that all of the proper approval has been granted before the day of the job.

One of our favorite projects to perform in Canton, Ohio is working with non-profit organizations to capture photos and videos of their events, such as 5k runs. This amazing opportunity allows them to showcase their purpose with media that most organizations don’t have access to.

Want to know what drone services we provide in Canton, Ohio?

  • Real Estate Drone Photography
  • Real Estate Drone Videography and Video Services
  • Commercial Drone Photography and Videography
  • Aerial Drone Inspection
  • Aerial Footage Editing

Here is a drone photo from one of the events we attended.

Aerial Image of a 5K Drone service Canton ohio-1

What licensing should your drone pilot have

Does your drone pilot have the proper licensing? Commercial drone pilots must have the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) remote pilot certificate part 107 license. This unmanned aircraft license requires the pilot to have passed an FAA-administered test demonstrating their knowledge of FAA regulations, air space rules, weather conditions, emergency procedures, aeronautical decision-making, and night operations, just to name a few.

This extensive test is vital to aviation safety for other pilots and passengers in the air and bystanders on the ground. This license also allows the pilot to obtain waivers for your drone flight to fly in areas an unlicensed pilot may not. You may not realize it, but airport airspace is larger than you think, and your project may find itself inside one of these restricted airspaces. When in doubt, always hire a professional drone pilot.

What happens if you hire someone that doesn't have their drone license

As tempting as it might be to have your best friend’s kid, a wizard with tech, pop their drone up in the air and grab photos for whatever kind of job you might have. Unless that kid happens to have, all the requirements needed… DON’T.

It has been recorded that the FAA has confirmed in writing that an unlicensed pilot can receive a $1,100 fine for every time that media was used commercially (yes, that includes things such as the MLS). But here is the kicker: in this scenario, we are getting aerial photos of a property we are listing… Now while the unlicensed pilot is looking at the $1,100 fine, the real estate agent that hired the unlicensed pilot is looking at an $11,000 fine!

So let us repeat ourselves, make sure an FAA certified drone pilot takes your photos!

Lets wrap up

So if you are ever in need of an experienced drone pilot that does aerial photos, video, or any other drone service, or if you were looking to learn a few different drone services that are out there, I am happy to have guided you through a quick overview. Hopefully, answering a few of the questions, you may have had along the way and giving you insight into the drone services you were looking for.

Drone Service FAQs

When looking at real estate photography the average price is around $110 per job. 

At Captivly we charge $99 to add drone photography to your listing photos

For inspection services the price can widely vary and is based on the task at hand. 

The cost for a drone pilot typically ranges anywhere from 100-400$ per hour.

Captivly charges 99$ to add aerial photos to your job

Sure, but you better have spent the time and money getting certified as a UAV pilot, and check your METARs, TAFs, and make sure you have the right clearance to shoot the property based on its location. 

Other wise let someone from our team take care of the leg work. Our drone photography add on is very affordable!

Absolutely! Let’s shed some light on how serious this issue can be. 

For real estate if you are caught hiring someone to shoot drone pictures of your listing the drone pilot can receive a fine of $1,100. While the real estate agent will get a far larger fine of up to $11,000!

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