Drone to 1K Episode 4: Bill Holderby with Eagle Eyes UAS
Bill is a UAS Solutions Director, Professional Drone Pilot and Owner/President of Eagle Eyes UAS.
Bill says he’s always been kind of a techno nerd. While working a project in Florida several years ago, he came across a professional pilot who was someone he perceived as worth knowing. “I kept his information and then when I moved over to the area where he lives, I looked him up and I said, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ He told me he was in the drone industry. As someone who believes in going after technology when it first comes out (even though not perfected) drones had already caught my attention.” Bill’s contact then started sharing ideas of what he was doing. With a background in sales and marketing, Bill saw an opportunity to be in the beginning of an industry which, if done right, he could really do well with it. So Bill started working with his connection for about a year, not making a lot of money but learning from his business skills, about drones and orthomosaic imagery. He then took the Part 107 and did very well.
Starting A Business
What happened next was ironic. Bill had branched out on his own doing inspection work of the damage after Hurricane Irma. Bill felt himself an apprentice of drone work during this time. He learned about a variety of different equipment and he learned just by flying drones. “The learning experience was mostly good…a few bad. There’s never a dull moment. To me, flying a drone is somewhere between super exciting and terrifying.”
At that point, Bill’s inspection work wasn’t for insurance companies, because insurance companies, like many industries, know that drones exist, but they don’t know how they can benefit them. Bill said it took time for people to embrace and understand drones. According to Bill “Your job is going to be more on educating than flying a drone. You need to become a master educator and someone who can explain whatever industry vertical market you’re going into. You need to be able to explain ‘what’s in it for me?’, ‘why do I need this technology?’ ‘How is it going to make my life better?’ We understand it as pilots and we learn it more and more every day. We learn new applications and we read about them. But the bottom line is you’ve got to become good at educating people and making it simple. Don’t get complicated. With most people, the simple aspect of how this can help them on their job or business is where you’re going to gain customers.”
Bill started out with a Phantom 3. He understood orthomosaic imagery and had been flying enough. “I already had one drone stuck in the tree and then another one I whacked it into a wall. It was a friend’s and broke off the camera. You do these things and you not only learn to fly drones but not to fly it where there’s a lot of trees.”
Bill’s Simple Marketing Advice
Bill suggests you learn the basics before trying to get fancy–things can happen. Bill literally started in the community where he lives. The manager asked what he would charge for it, told him to do some before/after pictures of their pool project and even suggested he charge $1,000. That’s how he came up with a per acre rate for doing orthomosaic imagery.
He flew again and again. Then he literally went down the street and knocked on the doors of the managers of other buildings. He got into a couple of them; he did some research online. “One called another and told another and then I had four associations that wanted to hire me—all of a sudden I was busy. Then I started calling up other community association managers, you know, just googling names. Through picking up the phone and calling people or driving by with some marketing material, I just kept sharing what I could do.”
The Secret To Roofing Inspections
Bill says that in South Florida you can’t get a roofer to come out and inspect only 2-3 association buildings. If you have 20 buildings on your site, you don’t want to send your maintenance guy up there to walk around and see what kind of structural damage there is because the potential for him to break a leg, or fall off while trying to take pictures is ridiculous. “When I explained that I could fly a 20 acre location in 30 minutes and in 24 hours I could give them detailed pictures of damage on the rooftops—they got excited. Without exception, I hand-delivered the results via thumb drive. They were blown away because I showed them how they could literally use the snipping tool on a windows PC and take each individual roof mark up where the damage is, but, more importantly, they could see which one needed immediate attention, where they might want to throw a tarp on and which didn’t need any attention.” Bill found out this was important because after it rains, water intrusion would further damage the building. That was one of the best things that could happen because he could sell the before and after so they could do a comparison and show insurance companies how it worked.
Bill’s advice, if you’re seriously looking at this business, is, “If you’re a shy introverted person, you’re going to have to change that; this business requires you to go out there and talk. But here’s the thing, if you were educating yourself on drone technology and what they’re capable of doing, and you can get a few neat stories under your belt and people are going to be interested in this. I just did a continuing education class that I got certified for.”
Expansion Is About Educating And Helping Others With Good Ideas
“The class I teach is everything you always wanted to know…you’re going to know more than 99% of the people on Earth about drones. I show them all kinds of neat things. If you’re going out there selling insurance or credit card processing, you’re going to get beat up. Go out there and talk to people about drones and specifically what they can do for them. Give them good examples.” For example, every seven years a high rise gets a paint job. Typically, they’ll go out and get a paint job quote but once they get up there and start painting and see damage, it could double or triple in price. So I suggested, why not inspect the building every couple of years, take some HD photos, some 4K video, up and down, get some roof shots of chillers and AC equipment, etc.” Bill made phone calls to a list for one area. He set up meetings left and right. Since starting that, he’s done at least $10,000 in business in that segment alone. Now, he’s beginning to get traction through referrals. For this type of work, on the low end, Bill can make $650. The high end could be anywhere between $1,000-2000. Bill charges $400/hour pending on what he does. For video editing, he can charge $100/hr.
For bigger or multiple buildings, there’s more money to be made. All Bill does, he says, is to show them examples of what he’s done for other people and how he found problems in places that nobody would ever see. According to Bill, that’s just one vertical market to look into. You have to determine what your market is. David agreed, “When you find these little problem points and then you educate people about how these drones can help save a bunch of money and heartache…once you get in and you just start talking to people, you’re able to see more of the issues and problems. THEN your brain starts moving and thinking about how you can help and solve that for them.”
“We’re here to solve problems. You find problems by going out and talking to people. I always tell people the drone is just the vehicle. It could be a big drone, small drone. It can be this drone, that drone. There are a lot of great drones out there that take super good photos. But just because you go out to buy a drone does not make you a business. You need to solve problems. You need to be a business person about it. You need to know everything from being incorporated, to having a business bank account to managing and writing invoices for customers.”
Potential In New Markets: Listening, Passion & Branding
On construction sites, helicopters are used for taking updated photos, but most of them are from so far away. There’s no real super close up high quality. Construction, to Bill, is still far behind. They still have not fully embraced what the potential is with the drone. “We need to find the pain, and then you come in and you talk to them about solving that problem with them. If you find the problem the drone can solve, they’re going to be all ears. It’s about listening. If you’ve studied drones for one day, you’ll know more than 99% of the people out there. So if you get a couple of stories, you’ll wow them. If you’ve got some pictures and things you can show or videos, it may not take much to impress people—but you can’t BS them. If you really are passionate about what you are doing here and you’ve figured out 2-3 vertical markets to go after, people are going to listen and it’s going to take time. It’s going to take at least a year or two.”
David asked about a good way to get clients—a specific strategy. “Would you do it the same exact way or would you kind of switch it up from what you had been doing?”
Bill asserts that people need to get involved in networking organizations specific to a particular area of focus. “I did a story in the local chapter magazine in an area of Florida. I talked about why you need to start budgeting for drone services. For example, we have hurricanes and even though they’re going to need it afterwards, they should be thinking about doing it beforehand. You should start documenting now that it’s not that expensive. Document the properties that you manage, whether it’s a high rise or a or a 100-acre low rise. For example, I had a customer who had 116 acres and the charge came out to less than $5 a family to get unbelievable orthomosaic detailed imagery. If they did that once or twice a year, that’s nothing for the value they’re going to get.”
For construction, what he needed to do was some free flying to get some pictures, videos and orthos. He then edits photos and videos to anywhere between 4 and 6 minutes and puts music to it. They love it because he’s showing the owners of these projects that people were actually spending the tens or hundreds of millions. Bill says, “So if you’re going to do construction, call on some construction companies, talk to some project managers, talk to the people that do their budgeting and their estimating. Have some materials, a little bit about your business. Understand that in the beginning, it’s not going to be the most perfect thing…it will feel awkward.”
David agreed that even though people complain about not being able to make money, he sees that successful people are the ones who have taken initiative to learn some skills to help people solve some problems. David says, “People assume, ‘oh, if I can spend $1,000-1500 bucks on a drone, I should be able to go out and everybody should be clamoring for my unique skills.’ But it really comes down to all the other stuff you learned, right? How to make the orthomosaic maps, how to do the editing, how to pitch someone on an idea, and how to approach someone.”
Bill replied, “If you’re going to do this as a business, then do not treat it as a hobby. Focus on this for six months really hard and be willing to put in 10 to 12 hour days, be willing to go out and meet people over a cup of coffee or go to their office. If you’re going to run it as a business, you need to show the people that you’re running it as a business because if you don’t, if they think you’re just some kid or somebody who just like you said, bought a Maverick, it’s going to come across that way.” He suggests creating a basic website, doing a little bit with social media, getting good at using things like Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and Word. Dropbox is great for sharing big files. For marketing, he says you also need to have things like a logo, brochures, business cards, etc. “Go to events in shirts with your logo on or a cap or something like that–brand yourself. Tell people who you are and what you represent.”
“I’m a professional. I am licensed and insured, and I tell that to people point blank in each of my presentations. If somebody comes to you and wants to fly a drone and they’re not licensed, run, don’t walk. And if they’re not insured? Run faster because that means they’re not serious about the business. For $1 million of flying insurance, a drone is going to run you about $500- $600—if you can’t afford that, you shouldn’t be in business.”
The most successful businesses out there have a big “WHY?” behind them. Take Apple for example. There’s a why behind what they do and the way they do it. For me it’s the sharing and the educating of people on how this technology can change their life—it’s literally getting them to go WOW, or seeing their eyes pop when they suddenly see that I can really help them manage this property.”
Enjoying the Business—and The Results
Bill says, “My favorite part of this business is that no two days are the same. If you put me in a factory to make widgets and I had to do the same thing eight hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, I’d probably kill myself. Today, I’ve set up three meetings with people for this Thursday I’ve got a meeting or a presentation and about a month in front of a group of 50 people for a 115-acre site. And, this is not to to to brag, but I’ll share with you some of the $ detail of those jobs. Within the last two months, I’ve got projects for $935, $1,800, $650, $550, $1,200, $1,925, etc. I don’t do much real estate, but I can earn $200 for 1 1/2 hrs of time. Not all my months are like that, but my business has been building.” Bill monitors sales every month on a spreadsheet and compares it versus where he was a year ago. He’s always looking for the growth and has had months where he’s made little or nothing. He defines himself as successful because he’s created it and is moving in the right direction…every day he’s doing a little bit and it’s fun. Flying the drone is really a small part of it—most of the time is spent on the phone, on the computers and emails, sending invoices, making deposits (which is always a good thing).
David and Bill both agree, “The biggest thing for people to take away is yes, it is possible. Maybe you’re not going to get rich your first year…maybe not your second year…maybe not even your third year, but if you’re in it to get rich, then you should do something else. Build your business. There are many different areas—pick one to three, stick with it and understand it’s like planting an apple seed. You put the seed in, but don’t think in six months you’re going to be selling apples. It’ll maybe take a year or two and then all of a sudden you have a tree with multiple apples. You can sell all those apples, but you’ll do a lot of work in the meantime. Then you can charge, because you know you have confidence in yourself.”
Bill sees flying a drone as the beginning, but people should have a specialized skill—orthomosaic, video editing; you can combine these things. Bill feels confident charging what he does because he knows he’s going to give people at least that in value, if not more. His goal is always to under-promise and over deliver. “Let them know you’re a generous person and you’re willing to go above and beyond. You know… Give them a little bit more…Separate yourself. Are they going to remember how you were branded? That you dressed nice? Did he have business cards? Did he follow up when he said he would? Bottom line, yes, there is money to be made. We are still in the very beginning, infancy stage here.”
“You only need one good idea to, to spark a revolution. I’m sure there’s some great ideas out there from other folks too, so I’m looking forward to it.”
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00:00 Okay. So we’re going on computer here and then they do this on as then?
00:04 Yeah, go. Okay. Sorry. I’m just, okay. Okay. Okay. All right. Okay.
00:18 Okay. So, oh, so we’re recording, so I’ll do a little, um, uh, I’ll do, I’m going to do an intro and an outro after we’re done recording, but we’ll just kind of start right into the interview. Uh, and just like mostly just us having conversation. So, um, all right, everyone. Welcome to the Joe Moche podcast today with us on the podcast. We have bill holder B of Eagle Eyes. Uh, Uas, thanks so much for, uh, coming onto the podcast bill.
00:43 Oh, it’s my pleasure, David. My pleasure.
00:46 Oh, great. So I’m like, people might know by now this podcast. Uh, the goal is to kind of capture some of the stories of how other successful drone pilots or drone pilots that are in business and are actually making a decent amount of money. We asked people, uh, for it to apply if they’re making $1,000 a month or more on the side with their drones if they met that level. We want to hear your story. How you got started, any challenges that were other people can know what’s possible and kind of maybe avoid some pitfalls or save some time if they’re starting up a drone business of their own. So with that, um, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you first got into drones?
01:29 Okay. Well I won’t go back too far, but, uh, uh, as I always say, and even in my bio that I give out to people sometimes, I’ve always been kind of a techno nerd. And, um, I was working a project here in Florida several years ago, uh, actually about eight years ago and came across a guy who was a professional pilot, didn’t end up doing any business with him, but, uh, you know, when you meet somebody you think is worth knowing and keeping you, you never know. So I, uh, kept that information and then when I moved over to the area where he lives, I was kind of commuting at that time. Uh, looked him up and I said, hey, what are you doing? And he told me he was in the drone industry and this was probably about four years ago, three years ago. Um, and I was like, oh, really?
02:14 And, um, I’ve always been somebody who believes in going after technology when it first comes out, even though it’s not perfected. And, um, drones just kind of caught my attention and he started share with me his ideas of what he was doing. And I’ve always been involved in some form of sales or marketing and I thought, wow, you know, we could, you know, be, you know, really in the beginning of this industry and you know, if you’re, if you do it right, you could, I think really do well with it. So, um, got started working with him for about a year, year and a half, um, didn’t really make a lot of money and came to find out a little more to his business skills and so forth. But I learned a lot about drones, about doing orthomosaic imagery, um, you know, just, you know, understanding the part one oh seven, which I ended up taking and doing very well on.
03:05 And the kind of then branched into my own, um, business, which happen to ironically coincide with a hurricane season down here in south Florida. And that really kind of, no pun intended, but launched my business, uh, doing inspections, uh, for ’em post Hurricane Irma damaged all that. But yeah, being around somebody, you don’t necessarily make money but you learn, you’re kind of like an apprentice. And I learned about a variety of different equipment I learned from a gentleman who was selling the DGI equipment, learned a lot from him. And, uh, you know, you just, you learn every time you fly a drone is a learning experience mostly good. A few bad. Yeah, we can talk about that later too. And, um, but you know, it’s, it’s, I always look at, you know, this is a great experience because you’re always learning something new. There’s never a dull moment. Uh, to me, flying a drone is somewhere between super excited and terrified. So
04:12 Awesome. Now, real quick question on, I don’t want to get too deep into it just yet cause we’ll talk more about it later. But when you’re doing, uh, that post, um, post hurricane inspection work where you’re doing mostly things for insurance companies at that point?
04:27 No, because insurance companies, like many industries, they know that drones exist, but they don’t know how it can benefit them. In fact, what I always tell people is they don’t know what they don’t know. And the best analogy is when the fax machine came out many years ago, if some of you don’t know what a fax machine is, look it up online. But years ago, fax machines came out and I had the owner of a, uh, of a construction company telling me, he said when they first came out, the owner did not want anything to do with it. He says a year later they were faxing their own bids back and forth. So technology, especially for those of us that embrace it, we’re all excited, Gung Ho, we want to go out and tell everybody and show them how great it is. But unfortunately it does take time for people to embrace it and to understand it.
05:14 And one of the most important things I will share with you. And by the way, if you’re listening to this podcast, please take notes because you’re going to get some, some gems here today. And whenever you take notes, she can go back or listen to it again. But your job is going to be more on educating then actually flying a drone. You need to become a master educator and someone who can explain whatever industry vertical market you’re going into. You need to be able to explain what’s in it for me, why do I need this technology? How is it going to make my life better? We understand it as pilots and we learn it more and more every day. We learn new applications and we read about them. But the bottom line is you’ve got to become good at educating people and making it simple. Don’t get complicated. Most people just, you know, if you, you explained the simple aspect of how this can help them on their job or business or whatever, um, that’s where you’re going to gain customers,
06:13 Right? To keep it simple, stupid. Uh, um, yeah. Well that’s great. Um, so, so you got, you got started doing, um, some, so, so who, I guess who were your clients then, uh, when you’re doing the hurricane work?
06:29 Well, I started out with a phantom three, um, and it wasn’t even an advanced one or anything, just the basic fandom three, but I understood a orthomosaic imagery and, um, I’d been flying enough. I had already had, you know, one drone stuck in the tree and then another one, I whacked it into a wall. It was a friend’s and broke off the camera. And again, you do these things and you know, one of the things you want to learn when you fly a drone is don’t do it where there’s a lot of trees. Number one, go to an open area.
06:58 Yeah, yeah. That too.
07:00 And, and, and don’t get crazy with it. Learn the basics before you start trying to get fancy because things can happen. But, you know, again, these are all learning lessons. And, uh, I literally started in my own community, um, where I live and I told the manager here and she’s like, oh, well, yeah, go ahead. You know, what, what, what would you charge for it? Like, oh my gosh, how am I going to figure this out? What am I going to charge? And, um, and then she said, and could you also, you know, do some pictures of the pool project, you know, before and after? I’m like, okay. So came up with a number. In fact, I think she maybe even suggested a number. She said like $1,000. And I said, no, not that much. And actually that’s kind of how I came up with a per acre a rate for doing orthomosaic imagery.
07:47 Now I don’t always charge that. Sometimes I charge less, especially when you start doing a hundred acres, cause that can get very expensive. Um, I flew and I had a visual observer with me, kind of a partner and, uh, you know, flew that. And then I literally went down the street and knocked on the doors of the managers of these other buildings and got into a couple of them, did some research online and one called another and told another, told another mean it had one office I had like for different, uh, uh, associations that wanted to hire me and all of a sudden I was busy. And then I started calling up other associations, what we call community cams or community association managers, you know, just googling names and stuff and um, you know, just through blunt force of picking up the phone and calling people or driving by and you know, with some feeble marketing material at that time started, um, you know, sharing what I can do.
08:44 And the thing that I sold there was anybody knows in south Florida you can’t get a Roofer to come out and inspect your association buildings for usually two to three. And if they do come out, they want to contract the same time. Let’s say you have 20 buildings on your site, you don’t want to send your maintenance guy up there to walk around and see what kind of structural damage there is because the potential for him to break a leg fall off and let alone try and take pictures is ridiculous. So when I explained that I could fly a location, okay, 20 acres and 30 minutes and in 24 hours I could give them detailed pictures of what was the damage on the rooftops. They got excited and without exception, David, every time I went in hand delivered the results via thumb drive. Um, and I, I was shooting orthomosaic and I was still in the beginning stages, but you know, it was still very good.
09:41 They all went wow. They were blown away because I showed them how they could literally use the snipping tool on a windows PC and take each individual roof mark up where the damage is, but they could more importantly see which one needed immediate attention, where they might want to throw a tarp on in which Ruth didn’t need any attention. And this is important because after storms it usually rains. And so water intrusion would further damage, do damage to the building. And that was one of the best things that could happen. And, and this was even months after the storm because, um, again, you know, them getting roofers out there was not very easy. Um, okay, this, this time, I’m now trying to get ahead of that. So when I’m selling is the before and after so they can do a comparison and show insurance and some insurance companies are beginning to get into it. But, uh, you know, just giving an insurance person that drone is not the best way to do things right
10:39 Now. Just for some clarity, when you said you went to these community managers, what kind of communities are these? Are these like, uh, like mobile home parks or are these like regular homes? Are these office buildings and what kind of building?
10:50 Okay. These are, uh, these are basically, um, community associations that have condos. Like I live in a three story condo. Um, most of them are two or three story. They could be town homes, they could be single family homes. Um,
11:04 And they’re responsible for the upkeep of like the, the roof in the outer part of the building.
11:10 Well, the Community Association manager and again, look up cam. Uh, what they do is they work with the Hoa is the Home Homeowners Association board. And what they do is they manage everything from, you know, the maintenance and the landscaping to the collecting of the fees and how things are paid out, security, uh, the grounds if there’s, you know, roofing damage. If there’s other things. Now, you know, if a condo is owned by somebody, then that’s the responsibility of the owner. But in the common area, that’s all done. Gotcha. The managers and state of Florida, it’s a huge business and I’m sure in other states it’s, you know, same thing.
11:48 That makes sense. Yeah. I was just trying to think about it as far as their incentive for wanting to get these, these reports. Yeah, that makes sense. If they’re responsible for the condition of the roof in, in some of those other kind of common areas, that’s awesome. So you just, you know, and I think that’s one thing that a lot of people take for granted is, uh, the um, you know, sometimes you just have to not be shy. Go out there and just start talking to people and ask people, you know, you got to find where the needs are and how you can help and then just start calling people up, knocking on doors. You know, I think a lot of people are kind of, I think some people are timid at first because there may be they, they’re not clear on what value they’re bringing to the table, you know, but, um, but no, go ahead.
12:28 No, I was going to say, let me address that because I’ve been in, in some form of sales or marketing all my life, so I can talk to anyone anywhere, anytime. I can walk up to anybody cold. I can stand in a room with a thousand people and start talking to them. No big deal. But for those of you that are seriously looking at this business, if you’re a shy introverted person, you’re going to have to change that because this business requires you to go out there and talk. But here’s the thing, if you were educating yourself on, on drone technology and what they’re capable of doing, and you can get a few neat stories under your belt, people are going to be interested in this. I just did a class the other day, a, I’ll get into that later, but a continuing education class that I got certified for, um, I do it for breakfast lunches and then others, it’s a one hour class on drones.
13:16 It’s, it’s everything you never knew. You always wanted to know about drones. I say that jokingly and I tell everyone, I said, you’re going to know more than 99% of the people on Earth about drones. But because it’s very visual and I show them all kinds of neat things and stuff, they are literally blown away. This is, you know, if you’re going out there and selling insurance or credit card processing, you’re going to get beat up. But when I go out there and talk to people about drones and specifically what it can do for them. Give you a real good example, David. Um, I’ve expanded into the high rise, the luxury high rise doing inspections because every seven years a high rise gets a paint job. Typically they’ll go out and quote a paint job for a quarter of $1 million and once they start painting and they get up there and they see the damage and all that, it could double or triple in price.
14:02 And I’m like, well, Geez, why not inspect the building every couple of years, you know, take some HD photos, some four k video, you know, just go up and down, up and down, up and down, obviously get some roof shots of their chillers and ac equipment and all that. Well, I made phone calls, um, to a list that I got for this one area and I mean knocked me over with a feather. I have never had so much positive open minded people. I had meetings set up left and right and I can honestly say since, um, I started that in September of last year. I’ve done at least $10,000 in business just in that segment alone and it’s just opening up and now I’m beginning to get traction because people are referring me people and an average job that I do for a high rise on the low end, if I’m just doing a a a little three minute video just to show off their,
14:58 Just like the old basically.
15:00 Yeah, just kind of a yeah, kind of a, yeah, like a marking day or whatever. But you know, let’s say I do have a point of interest, do some high rise low. We’re at, you know, hybrid or rise up, low rise, low shots, stuff like that. A little bit of at any, you know, less than an hour, you know, low end, probably $650. Um, on the high end I’m could be anywhere between a thousand to $2,000 because some of these buildings are big. Some of them have more than one building. Um, there’s money to be made there. You gotta be licensed, you’ve got to have your insurance, you’ve gotta have your ducks in a row. And I go in and, and, and meet with these people and I flip open my laptop and I just show them examples of what I’ve done for other people and how we’ve found problems on like 18th floors and 16th floors, places that nobody would ever see. Right. And these are multimillion dollar condos where people pay literally on the low end, 2 million on up to 25 million to live in these places. So what’s a thousand, $2,000 to them? It’s nothing.
16:00 Right? Yeah. Wow.
16:02 So it’s just another vertical market to, to, you know, that you could look into. And I think, again, it depends on where you live and what your market is. You have to determine.
16:11 Yeah, sure, sure. And another thing is, it’s interesting that you say in this, you know, there’s people that are coming up with different uses for journals all the time. I feel like, you know, so I mean inspection is not nothing super new with drones, but just the way you’re applying specific inspections or you’re seeing opportunities that, oh, I know this building has to be repainted or they find these issues. You know, when you find these little problem points and then like you said, you’re educating people, hey, here’s how these drones can help you save a bunch of money and heartache. And we’ve talked to other people to where, you know, once you get in and you just start talking to people, you’re able to kind of see more of the issues and problems and then your brain starts, you know, moving and thinking about how you can, how you can help and solve that for him. So,
16:51 Right. Well it’s, it’s, it’s like you just said solving, we’re here to solve problems. So you find a problem and you signed find problems by going out and talking to people. And I always tell people, look, the drone is just the vehicle. It could be a big drone, small drone. It can be this drone, that drone. Um, you know, a lot of great drones out there and take super good photos. But you know, just because you go out to buy best buy or somewhere online and buy a drone does not make you a business. You need to solve problems. You need to be a business person about it. You need to, you know, you know, every everything from being incorporated and having a business bank account and managing, you know, and writing invoices for customers. Those are things you need to learn how to do.
17:33 But you can do that, but you need to be able to go out there and as a business say, okay, I understand these are some challenges and problems you have. And, and see the drone allows us to get into places that we never could before or let’s say they used to use like on construction sites, helicopters used for taking updated photos, but most of them are from so far away. There’s no real super close up high quality. That’s another area that I thought would, would be very, very good. And construction to me is still far behind. They still have not fully embraced what’s what the potential is with the drone. Solve problems, find out the problem, find the pain, and then you come in and you talk to them about solving that problem with them. And I’m telling you, if you find the right problem and the drone can solve it, they’re going to be all ears there. There’s going to be very, I have not had any negativity or anybody get, get annoyed with me and going to talk to them, whether it’s on the phone, in person, at a networking event, nothing. That’s the beauty of this. So even if you are shy, now’s the time to go talk to people because they’re open.
18:36 Yeah. And I think that’s, I think that’s good for people to hear too, because I think a lot of people, you know, you’re afraid of, oh, what if I look stupid? Or someone says no, you know? So I think that’s, that’s good for people to hear that
18:45 You’re finding it was like, you know more about listening. Even if you’ve studied drones for one day, you’ll know more than 99% of the people out there. So yeah, about it. And believe me, you get a couple of stories there and you’ll wow them. And if you’ve got some pictures and things you can show or videos, it doesn’t take much to impress people and you can’t be, you can’t bs them. But if you really are passionate about what you are doing here, you really believe in it. You’ve, you figured out two or three vertical markets to go after, people are going to listen and it’s going to take time. It’s going to take at least a year or two. You know, I’m seeing what’s happening after a year and going into my second year and, you know, momentum is beginning to pick up. But uh,
19:25 Yeah. So, uh, I was going to ask you, um, you know, you talked about, you know, getting your, getting started and it was a lot of learning at first and, and as you’re getting into these areas where you’re at first year, you’re kind of doing the, doing the hard work of, you know, chasing down leads and talking to people. But then once you get in the door, referrals start coming in. Um, which about this, like if you were to go back from the start and say, all right, here’s a really good way to get clients or I guess what you know now, um, you know, do you have any, um, more advice there on like if you were to do the sober and you had a specific strategy for getting clients, would you do it the same exact way or would you kind of switch it up from what you had been doing?
20:05 I would still do the same exact way. And what I mean by that is, um, you need to get involved in networking organizations specific to a particular area you want to focus on. So for example, Cai is a nationwide organization, a Community Association Institute, and they have things all over the place. Um, and I just did a local story in their local magazine for the local chapter here in this area, Florida. Yeah. And I talked about, you know, why you need to start budgeting for drone services. Um, because you know, where we have hurricanes, they’re going to need it afterwards and, but they should be thinking about doing it beforehand because you really should start documenting now that it’s not that expensive. You should start documenting, you know, the properties that you manage, whether it’s a high rise or a or a hundred acre low rise. Like I’ve got a meeting that I just set today with a lady who’s got 116 acres and um, you know, the, the charge is going to come out to less than $5 a family to get, uh, you know, unbelievable orthomosaic, you know, detailed imagery.
21:15 And even if they did that twice a year or once every year, that’s nothing for the value they’re going to get. So organizations, um, I’m a big believer in construction. That one takes time. Uh, there, what I needed to do, Dave, is I had to do some free flying. I had to basically get some, you know, I had to get some pictures and some videos and some orthros and kind of do some stuff for free and don’t feel bad in the beginning if you do, if you do offer to do stuff for free, I don’t believe in giving away my services because typically today I charge on an hourly basis, anywhere between 250 and almost $400 an hour pending on what I do. Doesn’t mean I always get that. Okay. That’s kind of where I put my price points at. And you know, sometimes if I’m doing a lot of editing, I charge $100 an hour to edit, um, video.
22:06 But, um, a lot of that I have to thank Alex, uh, who I’ve learned a lot from. You know, Kudos to that man. He is funny, but he knows his stuff and he, he’s Zeros it down. So if you guys have not signed up for his training, be it the video, how did he know? Or the serial video editing. Yeah. And you didn’t pay me to plug that and he didn’t pay me to plug that. I’m just telling you it’s good because I came from nowhere. I mean, I remember one time, it’s seven hours to edit three minutes in video and I finally got a good computer and figured out what the Heck I was doing and uh, and all that. But okay. Yeah, either.
22:50 Yeah. So anyways, so like construction is, is a big area and you know, I, I’ve done some orthomosaic stuff for them. They kind of get it, but, uh, uh, the updated photos and videos and what I do is I edit the videos to anywhere between four to six minutes. Some of these sites are 30, 40 acres large. And I put a, you know, music to it as well. And, uh, you know, and they love it. And, uh, it’s, it’s, it’s really important because they’re showing the owners of these projects that people were actually spending the tens of millions or hundreds of millions of dollars and they liked this kind of stuff. Um, to see it. And with the joy with the, with the, um, with the drought when you can obviously get some pretty nice tight shots, you know, not what they were used to with a helicopter. So if you’re going to do construction, go call on some construction companies, talk to some project managers, talk to their, um, the people that do their, their budgeting and their estimating, um, whatever it is. Like I said, you know, go find those people and literally just, you know, start calling him or if you’re not really good on the phone, show up in person. Um, you know, try and have some materials, a little bit about your business. Uh, you know, and, and, and understand the beginning, it’s not going to be the most perfect thing. It, it, it’ll feel awkward. But again, we don’t have a lot of competition right now because there’s not a lot of people doing this.
24:16 So it’s funny you say that because you know, sometimes you hear, if you’re looking around on Facebook, where if that’s everybody’s favorite place to complain, you see a lot of people saying, oh, it’s, it’s oversaturated and oh, there’s no work. And, and you know, you see a lot of complaining, but then I talked to people and you know, there they’re making good money and they know what they’re doing, but the people who are, are successful are the ones who have taken initiative to go actually like we were talking about earlier, learn some skills to help people solve some problems. People just assume, oh, if I can spend $1,000 or 1500 bucks on a magnetic or magic to, uh, I should be able to go out and just, everybody should be clamoring for my, you know, unique skills. Put a drone that essentially flies itself in the year. Um, but really, I mean it comes down to all the other stuff you learned, right? How to make the orthomosaic maps, how to do the editing, how to, you know, do a pitch someone on an idea or approach someone. Like, that’s the stuff is the reason, in my opinion in, I don’t know if you agree, but that’s why are you know, having
25:16 Very important, if, first of all, if you’re going to do this as a business, then do not treat it as a hobby. You know, if you have the funds that you can live on where you can focus on this for six months really hard, um, and be willing to put in, you know, 10 to 12 hour days, be willing to go out and meet people over a cup of coffee or go to their office, things like that. But here’s the important thing. If you’re going to run it as a business, you need to show the people that you’re running it as a business because if you don’t, if they think you’re just some kid or somebody who just like you said, bought a maverick or maverick too or whatever, um, that’s going to come across. So here’s some important things. Come up with a business name.
25:55 Incorporate s Corp, c Corp LLC, open up a bank account, a use quicken, you know, to manage that. You know, you don’t mix private, you know, personal with, with business. Next, you know, come up with a website. Now I created a website. Nothing fancy but you know, something basic. I did a little bit with social media, some Facebook and linkedin and youtube channel, which youtube has been kind of cool. Make sure you have a good computer cause you’re going to have to, if you’re, if you’re doing editing and if you’re not then but still make sure you’ve got, you know, a lot of Ram, a lot of hard drive space. Um, you know, get good at using things like uh, uh, office which has outlook, excel, PowerPoint, Microsoft word. I create documents on word, I saved them as PDFs. I use outlook for scheduling and managing all of my contacts.
26:41 There’s other things out there. PowerPoint, I create PowerPoint presentations that I can show. I can put them on a thumb drive and I can pop it into a big TV and show them where I can pop it into my laptop. Doesn’t matter. Um, Dropbox for sharing files because you know, these things can get pretty big. But you know as if from a marketing standpoint, you also got to have things like a logo, brochures, business cards, you know, some magnet signs for the side of your car, a name tag. If you’re going to to events and even I’m shirts with your, your logo and stuff on or a cap or something like that. You want to brand yourself. And that’s the other thing is you know, what are you doing to brand yourself? You can’t just show up and say, I got a drone. Who are you?
27:23 What do you represent? The thing that I represent to my, my people is that I’m professional. I am licensed and I am assured, and I tell them point blank in each of my presentations. If somebody comes to you and wants to fly a drone and they’re not licensed, run, don’t walk. And if they’re not insured, run faster because that means they’re not, they’re not serious about the business. For $1 million of insurance for flying, a drone is going to run you about five to $600 and if you can’t afford that, you shouldn’t be in business. You’ve got to have that kind of insurance specific and that’s not actually expensive. That’s actually pretty good.
28:01 Yeah. Cause that’s over a month. They usually, so
28:04 Yeah, I mean these are some of the basic things. If you’re going to run it like a business, then you need to create a business. If you never created a business before, you know, maybe be a little bit more challenging. But, um, you know, I always ask, ask the question, you know, why, why are you in this business? There’s a great book by Simon Sinek, start with why the most successful businesses out there have a big why behind them. You know, if you take apple for example, there’s a why behind what they do, the way they do it. You know, for me it’s the sharing and the educating of people on how this technology can change their life. And it’s literally getting them to go wow. Or s or seeing their eyes pop when they suddenly see, wow, that can really help me manage this property or that can help me, you know, show the owners of this construction site. You know, what, what’s going on. Or, again, there’s so many different things out there, but that’s another thing. Why are you doing this?
29:01 Yeah, no, I think, oh gosh, all the advice is awesome. You’re right. People should be taking notes and maybe we will have a lot when we, when this goes live, we’ll have um, you know, show notes where people can, uh, can reference different things. Um, oh man. Well, I only have one more question for you and that’s just, and we might’ve already kind of covered it, but, um, but what, uh, what would you say is your favorite part about having, uh, your own drone business and flying trips?
29:31 Well, my favorite part is that no two days are the same. Every day is a little different. And since I’ve been self employed, most of my adult life, I do the same thing over and over again. If you put me in a, in a factory to make widgets and I had to do the same thing eight hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, probably kill myself. Um, yeah, but, uh, it’s the fact that, you know, every day is different. Um, I mean today I, I’ve set up three meetings with people for this Thursday I’ve got a meeting or a presentation and about a month in front of a group of 50 people for 115 acres site. Yeah, and, and this is not to to to brag, but I’m just going to kind of share with you some of the jobs because they have a big whiteboard in my office.
30:23 I have a room in my home, I have a separate room for Home Office. This is not to brag, but you know, David asked me to share some numbers. I’m not going to tell you exactly what I’m doing with these buildings, but most of these are inspections and some of them are updates and things like that. But just within the last two months, I’ve got a $935 $1,800 $650 $550 $1,200 $1,925 650400250. And then I’m doing a favor for a lady that showed up at a presentation I gave and just doing some quick shots of her roof. I don’t really do real estate type stuff, but for $200 it’s going to cost me and a half hour worth of time. But those numbers I gave you, that’s over the last couple of months. And I’m not saying all my months are like that, but my business has been building. So this year, you know, January I was, you know, pedal to the metal, making phone calls, getting out there and, um, and like I said, you know, things are beginning to take off.
31:23 I monitor my sales every month and I do this on a spreadsheet. I compare it versus a year ago where I was and I’m, you know, always looking for the growth and listen, I’ve had months where I’ve made nothing. Okay. Um, it doesn’t happen often because now I have a couple of regular customers where I get some basic money. Um, you know, and I’m not to the point where I would say I’m super successful yet I’m successful and I’ve created, informed it in word, we’re moving in the right direction, but I have to keep doing what I do every day, which is, you know, following up with phone calls, sending material out, doing presentations, flying, getting the data to people, editing, all of that. So every, every day it’s doing a little bit, but you know, what do I like about it? It’s, it’s fun. I mean, you know, sometimes when you’re flying it gets a little unnerving. Uh, you know, but, uh, it’s, it’s still, it’s, it’s fun and, uh, but you know, flying the drone is, is really a small part of it. It’s a very small part. You know, most of the time is spent on the phone, on the computers and emails, sending invoices, making deposits. That’s always a good thing.
32:36 Yeah. Well, the one thing I think is important to take away from what you’re, all the stuff you’re saying or now it’s just a lot of people just, I know from just talking to all the different folks who’ve, uh, you know, are on our email list or who are taking our, some of our courses, but they just want to know is it possible like if I put in the work, uh, is it possible for me to make money doing this? You know, cause people don’t, they don’t want to waste their time. Right. If I’m barking up the wrong tree, the waste my time. I don’t want to do that. And that’s one of everybody’s biggest fears is, is putting in all this effort and not getting anything out of it. And I think, like you said, there’s obvious work upfront and you have to keep at it. But I think the biggest thing for people to take away is yes, it is possible. I mean, you’re proof other people are proof of it,
33:17 But you’re not going to, you’re not going to get rich your first year and maybe not your second year. And maybe not even your third year, but if you’re in it to get rich, then I say you should do something else. Right. Build your business. You know, my goal is to have at least, you know, one full time person within the next six months, meaning that I have enough work that I can, you know, afford to pay somebody else to start doing some of the flights and things. But you know, I do want to build a larger business with this, but I’m learning to be an expert in, in a few particular areas and not spreading myself too thin. I’m not trying to do real estate, I’m not trying to do, um, you know, utility infrastructure inspection, things like that. There’s so many different areas.
33:57 You know, you just gotta, you know, pick one or two, maybe three, and you got to stick with it and understand. It’s like planting an apple seed. You know, you, you put the seed in, don’t think in six months you’re going to be, you know, selling apples. It’ll maybe take a year or two and then all of a sudden you have a tree with multiple apples. And you can sell all those apples, but you’re going to be doing a lot of work in the meantime. And the good thing is, you know, you can charge, you know, your confidence in yourself, your belief in,
34:25 In yourself is important. Remember, you can always come down in price and if you think you need to compete on price, you’re totally, totally wrong. You know, if you’re flying a drone, first of all, you have a specialized skill. If you know how to do Orthomosaic, you’ve got to even more specialized skills. If you know how to edit videos, you know, like Alex, you got a really specialized skill. You can combine these things. You can command a pretty decent, you know, penny if you will, um, for what you do. And, um, that’s another thing, you know, I feel confident that I can charge this because I know I’m going to give them at least that in value, if not more. My goal is always to over is to under promise and over deliver. So whatever I do for a client, you know, sometimes I’ll do an extra short little video or you know, they went 20 photos and I’ll give them 30 photos.
35:13 I always give people more than what I told them I was going to do or whatever we agreed to. That’s another thing. Let them know that you’re a generous person and that you’re willing to go above and beyond. You know, just what you said, you’re going to give them a little bit more. Yeah. Those things I think, yeah, those things I think, you know, helps separate yourself. You know, you’re going to brand yourself. What are they going to remember when they say, Oh, David, the Joan pilot, you know, was he, was he branded, you know, did he dress nice? Did he have business cards? You know, you know, was, was he po, you know, Nice. You know, did he follow up when he said he was gonna follow up and you know, make the phone call and you know, little things like that matter. And if you had a business before, you know, you probably have a, a much better chance of being successful.
35:57 But you know, bottom line, yes, there is money to be made. We are still in the very beginning, infancy stage here. Don’t let anybody out there tell you otherwise, find your niche and realize that there’s going to be people that come in and try it. And after a month they’re going to quit in six months, they’re going to quit. [inaudible] you got to determine how you’re going to be that person because it’s, it’s not crowded right now. And even if there were another 10 people in my, in, in this area where I live, there’s still so much work that needs to be done. And again, it goes back to educating. You’ve got to educate people. Don’t sell them. Educate them.
36:34 Yup. I love it man. Such good podcast. So much good information. Yeah, I won’t keep any more. I mean that’s, those are, those are my questions and you’ve, you’ve even gone above and beyond on the podcast with given us good information. So, uh, Bill, I really appreciate it. Before we go. Um, where’s the best place for someone to reach you if, uh, if they want to get in touch with you as your website or social media, something like that. What’s the best place for people to,
37:02 Well, they can go to Eagle Eyes, uas.com, Eagle Eyes, uas.com or um, that’s my website. And if you go to youtube, you can also, uh, just um, you know, under youtube put in eyes, uas and that should bring up my channel. But uh, you can email me at bill, at Eagle Eyes, uas.com and I’d be happy to answer any kinds of questions or things like that. If, if you know, you’re really looking for some formal coaching, we can figure that out too. But you know, if you want some, you know, basic, basic feedback, um, have some, some questions, things like that, you know, I believe in the industry, so that’s why I want to see other pilots, uh, successful. And it’s why I also, if I see people flying that are not licensed and doing it in the wrong way, I’m not sure shy about reporting them either. Because this is my industry that I’m wanting to protect. So, but, um, yeah, check me out. He Glides uas.com a bunch of stuff there. You know, it’s not the best websites, not the worst. It’s, it’s who I am and yeah,
38:04 It’s up and works,
38:05 But it works. Yeah. You know, I mean, I’m not getting a lot of business off of the website, but you know, in today’s society they’d be like having a business 20, 30 years ago and not being in the yellow pages. You just have to be there. And it is a place where people go to see stuff. And I, I post quite a bit up there and on my Facebook as well, that, um, you know, most of it is going out there and, and, uh, you know, shaking hands, talking to people, presenting stuff, educating, asking questions, all that stuff.
38:32 Yeah. Well, we’ll have, um, all things you mentioned your website and, uh, in your email, we’ll put those in the notes as well if people want to get in touch with you there. Um, all right. Well, Bill, thank you so much again. I really appreciate it. Uh, you give tons and tons of awesome info and I know everybody that listens to this, uh, will have enjoyed it as well. So I thank you again.
38:52 Well, it was my pleasure to share and again, thank you for putting Alex in your, uh, in your, uh, uh, your cadre of support tools for us. I think he’s, he’s been one of the best things that I’ve actually seen from, uh, you know, from a teaching standpoint. And so, you know, you’re doing a great job of giving valuable information to people and, you know, continue doing what you’re doing. I think this is a great idea, getting a variety of different, you know, people who’ve done the business and are getting results. I mean, I’m going to listen to all of them as well because, you know, you only need one good idea to, to spark a revolution. So I’m sure there’s some great ideas out there from other folks too, so I’m looking forward to it.
39:30 Yeah. Well, no, I, that’s, that’s awesome to hear. Okay, well thanks bill and, uh, take care.
39:35 All right. Okay.