If your business is pioneering commercial drone applications in the U.S., there’s a good chance that you’ve already requested and been granted a 333 exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This is the first step to flying commercial drones legally in the U.S.
It’s essential – but it’s also the bare minimum.
Being allowed to fly drones isn’t the same as operating professionally or efficiently. Having a 333 exemption won’t ensure that your customers come back or that your business succeeds.
Expecting success doesn’t mean investing in a new fleet or fancy office furniture just yet. It means that you anticipate a thriving business and put the right systems in place at the outset. After all, if you were to open a hardware store, you could use a pencil and a notepad to track every last rivet, bolt and hammer – but you probably wouldn’t.
It’s time-consuming, the potential for error is high and you have better things to do.
Tracking your batteries, drone maintenance schedule and pilots may not seem like a big deal when you have one drone, five batteries, one pilot and just a few customers. You can probably track everything in a spreadsheet or even with paper. But if your business grows even a little, that system quickly turns into a logistical nightmare.
Just one more drone or pilot and a few dozen customers can create a time-consuming workflow with lots of opportunity for error. Smart business leaders know better than to waste their time on inefficient systems.
Instead, invest in a good system early on. If you’re flying drones commercially, we recommend investing in a system that can keep track of unlimited drones, batteries and pilots; provide proof of training and flight hours; plan and log flights; and fly safely with a validated airspace map.
You’ll be able to meet increased demand without a blip, and you won’t spend nights and weekends reconciling disparate systems and re-entering data into spreadsheets.
This article is adapted from a blog post by Jessica Moody, marketing manager at Skyward, a Portland, Ore.-based provider of an information management platform for commercial drone operators. On Tuesday, Feb. 16, Skyward is presenting a webinar that will cover tips for running and managing a professional drone operation, including the first-hand experiences of expert panelists. Register for the webinar here.