When it comes to business and drones, there are a lot of things that you could do for one or the other. Tom Simmons is someone who realized this and is now doing well with his drone business after realizing that he couldn’t use it for taking real estate pictures.
“I said, ‘OK, we’re going to go out and take some pictures of our real estate listings,’ ” said Simmons, a broker with Nelson Property Consultants. “After a little research, I discovered technically, according to the FAA, you can’t do that according to the regulations that are in place.”
So with that being the case, he instead founded Aerial Horizons which an authorized dealership for DJI. He’s not alone though as many business people are starting to see the potential of drones in terms of turning a profit.
“Most people who are inquiring want to operate them legally,” said Steve Hoogerhyde, an aviation safety inspector. “They’re concerned about doing something they shouldn’t, and there’s a process in place for them to go through to operate for commercial purposes.”
In the case of Simmons, his business is selling drones for prices ranging from $1,100 to $13,000. Unfortunately, the use of these drones are hampered by FAA regulations which has been making sales in the business industry rather difficult. For agricultural and hobby sectors though, drone sales are booming.
He also makes an effort to instruct customers when it comes to drone use, which can be problematic particularly for people who get their drones online.
“So many people buy these things online, take them out of the box, charge the battery, take them out and fly it, and it flies away,” he said. “And they don’t understand why.”
As for the matter of using the drones to take pictures or videos for real estate listings, Simmons hasn’t had any luck there yet. He would need to be granted exemptions by the FAA which would require a sport pilot certificate which is given only after completing a ground and flight course.
“Over the last few months, I’ve been telling all my customers they need to go to the FAA’s website and read the rules and regulations,” he said. “And if they’re going to be using these for commercial purposes, they need to go through the process.”