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Build or Buy—In the Rush for UAV Services, Which Path Should You Take?

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Published in PXYZ

From renting or buying a house to hiring an in-house marketing team or going with an agency, life is filled with tough choices.

For some businesses, building out your own drone operations wing might make sense—for others, not so much. Let’s take a look at some of those factors so you can decide for yourself and get the most bang for your buck.

Core or Context?

For a survey organization, drones are rapidly becoming core to their capabilities. To be blunt, survey organizations without this skill set will simply NOT be competitive in the coming years.

However, for a developer, drone needs are context; a good project developer has so many things on their plate that flying drones probably aren’t at the top of their list.

Do you want fast, cost-effective site assessments? Absolutely. Do you want to build your own drone operation to get that assessment? Most definitely not.

Much like how you don’t become an apprentice plumber in your spare time just to fix a leaking sink, all business have to decide whether building a UAV operation is core to their business or simply context. The answer for many is that often it pays to hire a professional.

Drone Operations Aren’t DIY Friendly

Building your very own drone operation might seem pretty straightforward. All you have to do is buy the kit, train a couple operators, then reap the rewards. But we’d be wise to remember the old adage that says “other peoples’ jobs are always easy.”

Creating your drone operation involves the same basic cost structure as most other operations—that is to say, 20% of your costs will be in capex and 80% in opex. So the question then becomes will you get the ROI you need out of your team?

Go with your gut. For the same reason you don’t have a survey team on staff, you probably shouldn’t have an in-house drone operation. It’s probably also the same reason why I didn’t take years to become a plumber in my spare time.

Can You Keep Up?

What’s exciting about drones for us is probably what’s daunting about drones for you.

Drones are currently riding the crest of the technology wave, which means constantly evolving sensors, improved performance and reduced cost. As a business owner building your own drone team, you’re going to be forced to invest in new tech approximately every 18-24 months just to stay current and efficient.

Along with new hardware comes the cost of training and development of your operators, too, and every year you’ll need to keep your Part 107 license current.

If that sounds like too much trouble for you, let us handle it. We can afford to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to new technology because that’s what we do. Our job is to provide elite drone mapping and inspection services so you can focus on, well, the thousand other things you need to worry about.

So ask yourself—are drones core or context to what you do? If the answer is context, you’ll know who to call when it’s time to map out your next project. Call PXYZ.

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