From Pharmacy Tech to Drone Pilot with Vikash Mahadeo
Today’s Guest – Vikash Mahadeo of Birds Eye Ariel Drones – Orlando
How Vikash got started. He already had an interest in photography and RC so using drones to take photos was a great combination of his interests. First drone was a Dromeda Ominus, which had FPV (first person view) capabilities.
Seeing in real time was a game changer. It had a wifi camera and a battery that let me record in 5-7 minutes.
How did this become a business instead of just a cool hobby?
I had a business partner who paid for me to get my license and then we applied for the FAA 333 exemption. The vision was to target Real Estate. We already had a number of contacts and we knew there would be a huge opportunity.
Landing the first client – we offered a couple of free videos for realtors. It just took a few of those to get paying agents and brokerages on board. We used the time waiting for the 333 exemption to be approved and operated as a hobbyist to build up a portfolio of videos. Prior to August 2016 you had to have a pilot’s license so I had to do that. It set us up with the local contacts and with operators at local airports etc. It’s nice to have the additional training.
Note: The new rules state you just need your Remote Pilot Certificate – which you get after sitting and successfully taking the exam.
How did you get business?
Our website ranks well with google, so we get a lot of business from search. Our site comes up when people are looking for aerial and/or drone photography. I also use email to send snippets or screen shots of videos we’ve taken so people can see what we’ve done and the type of results they can get for themselves or their clients. I looked at Real Estate signage and contacted realtors via email. The first time I sent an email, I got a reply in a few minutes. It was a great way to start.
Emailing new contacts/realtors
Reaching out to developers
1 wedding (not a regular part of our work)
We’ve discovered that shots on the water are popular, also near attractions (we show how close they are to resorts, Disney etc.) We also look for properties that are large in scope.
Can you share pricing info?
Pricing $250. is the basic pricing, sometimes a bit more or less depending on the project. We also do interior stills so we provide a full-service package for Realtors which can run up to $650.
Pricing is based on size of home (interior photos) and size of lot, air space authorizations, locations etc.
Do you have standard shots you take for each video?
– Orbit around the entire property
– Fly ins toward the property
– Directly over the home with a vertical pan
Do you edit your own images and videos?
We do our edits and add music, royalty free license from Free music archive (non commercial attribution)
End product is usually about 90 seconds to 2 minutes including intro and trailing slides
If someone is thinking about starting a biz like yours – what would you tell them if they were just starting?
One – Get good quality equipment but keep costs in mind.
Two – Know your airspace and where you can fly and what parts of town that allow drone photography. The rules vary so reasearch first.
Three – Understand your market, talk to agents in the area to see how they use photos videos.
Connect with Vikash –
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