Spencer is the owner of Aerodrone Solutions.
Spencer started Aerodrone early in COVID. He’d been in military, then went to college, found drones and did military contracting in Middle East. Because that work was touch-and-go, when he returned from Afghanistan in April and in May, he decided to start his own company.
David: What I want to know first is–are there any similarities to flying drones in Afghanistan to flying your DJI drones?
Spencer says it’s similar in how the camera works. The DJI is more simplified but flying is different since he was flying fixed wing UAVs for the military.
David: You were one of the first people to sign up for D$1K—ready to get after it—which is a big reason why you’re successful. Obviously, you were in drones in the military, but from a civilian standpoint, how did that process start for you?
Spencer signed up for the Part 107, started it, did five minutes of it and didn’t touch it again for two years. His friend Gail is a commercial pilot in Ocala who had the idea of starting something casually. Because of the uncertainty of the virus, Spencer was real nervous—but other than drones, what could he do? So he went with what he liked, and started up the drone idea. Spencer says,
“I loved the idea of having my own company and putting into it and getting something else. It’s super rewarding.”
Spencer is a local and has a lot friends who are real estate agents, so he thought it would be really easy. For two months, he did no business, but all of a sudden the flood gates opened and he was overwhelmed with work.
David: Take us through those two months, what did you do to get the first client?
At first, he didn’t know where to get contacts. He found good ideas from Facebook pages of guys that were starting out. He went to Zillow, found 300 of the top agents in the area and sent out an email, getting not one response. He then started doing direct messaging on Facebook, Instagram (a little on LinkedIn)—letting people know what he does that makes him stand out more. That’s when it started clicking with people, Spencer says, mostly because the email was a template and the messages were more personalized.
David: Things picked up for you when you started doing more direct reach out. What was your first client? Was it paid? How much did you charge for that?
Spencer’s first client was someone he knew, who was a pretty good realtor in his area. She said she’d called three other people and Spencer was the first one to pick up.
“What’s huge is answering all your phone calls and also being available. Agents have listings that need to get on the market ASAP. They call and you need to be there soon.”
Spencer’s first gig was paid but he gave her a discount for the drone service and a free 3D tour of everything. Normally that would have been around $299 or $295. Spencer gave it to her for $195, which also included full interior/exterior HDR bracketed photos and drone photography.
David: After your first job, where did it go from there?
From there, Spencer says, it went word of mouth to a couple of different realtors and some other friends that were slowly coming out of the woodwork. He had a photographer reach out that does shoots and mermaid portraits for kids.
“I had no other option because I’m engaged, I have family, I just want to be home. I knew I had to make this work and that’s why I’ve been so hungry for it.”
Spencer continued to go on Facebook, asking if realtors in the neighborhood had needs and getting a few potential contacts from that. He’s also gone to happy hours for realtors, showing up with flyers. He says it’s important to market yourself, in the most budget friendly way to do it.
Spencer has continued to get random requests other than real estate, which keeps it interesting. He says that specializing in something is good. It’s important to get in the door and make some money.
David: You started charging for these jobs and making some money. When did you break $1K for a month?
It took two months…in July he hit $1K. He’s still growing. Spencer says that growing was like a domino effect because one person tells another person. He just needed to keep being professional, instead of stressing out over a job that should take two hours and it taking 20 hours.
David: Let’s say someone is listening to this and says ‘I want to do my own thing’ or ‘It sounds incredible to fly drones on the side’. They say, ‘Spencer, I heard you on the podcast, you sound like you’re a credible person and you know what you’re doing. What should I do? Where should I start? What should I learn?’
Spencer says that he would tell them first to get their Part 107.
“Do the course that Drone Launch offers. It has everything you need for a foundation. Get someone who knows SEO. If you’re doing it on the side, it’s going to be different managing your time, but be patient. As long as you’re professional, produce a good product and chip away at it, you’ll eventually get some good business out of it.”
David: Where do you see things going for you moving forward? Do you want to stay in real estate? Are you hoping to branch out into other areas?
Spencer wants to do some roof inspections. Being in Florida, they get a lot of hurricanes. He also wants to focus on real estate because he enjoys it. His goal is seven listings a week, which he says is pretty doable in the future.
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Training from Drone Launch Academy
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