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How to Hire a Commercial Drone Operator for Aerial Photography or Video Projects

The top 6 tips on how to hire the right drone operator

Review Portfolios

Reviewing a drone service providers portfolio is always the first step. You want to make sure you are satisfied with their previous work. You want to make sure you resonate with their particular style and the look and feel of the jobs they have already performed appears to be the same that will work for your project. Review many portfolios and make comparisons as to the quality of work. Once you have discovered one or more whose work contains high quality and a style you prefer; these are the providers to contact.

Communication

– As in any partnership; communication is vital. You want to feel at ease with sharing your ideas to meet your final goal. This is especially so in aerial photography or video, both fall into the category of visual arts and are quite subjective and are often difficult at best to clearly define what your end results expectations are. You want to make sure you and your operator are at ease communicating with one another. Any perceptions of awkwardness, stubbornness or other uncomfortable feelings that may occur during your initial contact with your possible hiring choices should be noted. A professional knows how to accomplish their goal; yet your input as to your specific desires are important as well and need to be heard and addressed as to how they might or might not work in terms of aerial photography or video.

Verification of Certifications

A commercial drone operator must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to legally operate. Ask to see their FAA Section 333 Exemption and find out if they themselves are a licensed pilot or have one on staff to conduct the drone operation. FAA Certification and a licensed pilot insures their flights are in accordance with all local airspace restrictions. Making sure your operator is properly documented will help insure they operate legally and will not expose you to unnecessary risk or liability. You can check the FAA certification list here.: Authorizations Granted Via Section 333 Exemptions

Verification of Insurance

– All professionals should carry drone insurance for their specific operations to cover themselves and you from any possible accidents that may result in damage or injury; that may not be covered in regular polices. You can also check your policies to see if they specifically cover drone operations; it is most likely they don’t. If an accident occurs both the drone operator and you and your company can be held responsible for damage or injury. So be aware and make sure you are covered in one way or another.

Compare pricing

– Of course you would say; yet just like any other industry many will opt for the lowest bidder and often find themselves at a loss in some way. If your project is important enough to invest dollars in; you want to be sure to hire a pro to handle it. Otherwise you may find your choice of dollars over quality only gave you an operator who is not invested in themselves and their lack of proper equipment, knowledge or experience will be evident in their final product. This does not mean there are not good commercial beginners out there that are willing to start at a cheaper price in order to build a better portfolio. But it is important for you to know they have invested in the adequate equipment to insure you get top quality and any pro deserves to be fairly compensated for all they bring to the table.

Be sure to have a contract

– This also should go without question; as collectively we all know it is far better to have any agreement in writing than not. Your contract should include both parties expectations; as well as address some of the unexpected. Your contract should outline and define the details; as to what you desire to be delivered and the time it is to be delivered and the operators; in terms of what they will and will not do and at what cost and time frame to deliver your desired outcome. You might also consider your contract including third parties; whose properties may be involved in and need permissions for over flight operations for liability purposes.