Just like when you are shopping for any kind of professional, trying to find the right drone pilot these days is like searching for a needle in a haystack. Everyone and his dog are “drone pilots”, but only a handful are actually qualified and have the requirements, such as being FAA exempt. So, if you are hoping to find the right professional to do the job that you have, these questions will give you a good place to start.
What are your certifications?
It’s imperative that drone pilots have proper licensing of course, but don’t be afraid to ask them about their certifications in filmography or photography as well as a pilot license and many really qualified ones will have. An experienced and properly certified professional will be more than happy to hand all of that information over to you so that you can take a look at his or her credentials. An unprofessional pilot will be reluctant – clearly a red flag.
What are your limits in terms of jobs?
Even the best of the best are going to have limits in what they can offer with their drones, so make sure that you are in the right spot for your type of job. Keep in mind that different industries have different needs – golf course maintenance, agriculture, movie/tv motion picture, weddings, real estate, etc. Each variance requires a different eye so be sure to get the one that specializes in your needs. Someone who is not able to help you out with a job is not unprofessional, it means that they are taking the professional approach and being upfront about it. This is helpful in the long run so that you can find the right person. Someone who is trying to assure you that they can do anything or everything should be avoided.
What insurance do you have?
Insurance is critical within the drone world for you as well as the pilot and his or her equipment. So, you can ask about the insurance and make sure that you’re satisfied with the answers you get. If you aren’t sure, ask to see proof of it. A professional will have that on-hand to show you. Make sure the name on the policy matches the company/professional you’re talking to!
Can I see some previous job examples?
Just like other professional industries, past work is going to be fantastic for helping you judge whether or not this is the right person for you. While there are going to be restrictions on the footage shown due to privacy between clients, a professional drone pilot often will have some sort of sample promotional video, demo reel or something put together so that you can get the proof that you’re looking for. If the “professional” refuses to show you anything at all, consider it another red flag as well as uncertainty that this person can produce the results you need!
Would you consider signing a contract?
This can be tricky, but it’s worth asking. Some professionals don’t work from contracts, others don’t care, and still, others will insist on one. Since a contract is a legally binding document, it can often give you satisfaction in knowing that you have protection if the pilot doesn’t deliver as stated. That being said, it might not be the right choice for every project. Use your gut when asking this question, especially in the pilot’s reaction or emotional response. Lastly it provides a means of exchange – you are needing X to be done and paying Y to get it done. Should you need additional work, be sure it isn’t something that was already promised in the contract.
Great as a starting point, hopefully these questions will steer you in the right direction to find the right pilot for your needs. Feel free to Contact Drones of Prey for your motion picture/television and marketing needs. We are your drone pilots of choice as we have the experience in many industries and happy to discuss them with you.