In recent years, drones have become a staple for companies that perform roof inspections, and these days, many are saying they do drone roof inspections. While that might be true, there are dozens of drone solutions available, and not all are suited to their unique roof inspection needs. Here are the key things to look for if you’re in the market for a great drone solution for roof inspections.
A true drone solution should be affordable. There are companies out there selling drone solutions that cost $30K or more, but you can easily drop $4K for one to help you get the job done right. One great benefit of drones is that they reduce your costs. Make sure the company you pick for your drone roof inspections doesn’t charge you an outrageous amount per inspection, per month, or per year. Solutions designed for roof inspections will save you money in the long run.
On-boarding and Training
Drones might be totally new to some users, which is fine – everyone has to start from somewhere. A provider of a great drone solution will help you through the process of getting up to speed. This includes Part 107 training so you can be FAA compliant, and training that covers the ins and outs of the hardware and software. Drone inspections aren’t as easy as just pulling a drone from a box and flying (though it’s close). There are some nuances to flying, which means it’s important that the company you choose helps you learn everything you need know before you start inspecting roofs.
Once you’re a fully certified and proficient drone pilot, you should still be in contact with your provider. A great drone solution provider will give you a great customer service experience from early training to troubleshooting. Make sure a vendor you choose has support options so you know exactly who can help you overcome any challenges you encounter with your software and/or your hardware.
There are a lot of drones out there. Some inspection-focused drone providers design their own hardware, while some leverage well-known suppliers such as DJI. There are advantages of both approaches. However, it’s important to note that some companies that build their own hardware are going out of business, while others are so overpriced that they’re impractical. In some cases, some drone kits have so much gear that you have to haul it around in a truck. Getting hardware from a third-party such is a great option because there are more options as far as models are concerned, affordable options, universal controls, easy app integration and more. Just make sure you do your research on your hardware and pick the solution that suits your needs.
Software and Artificial Intelligence
While manual drone flight can get you great aerial imagery, it’s limiting when it comes to data analysis. The best solutions for roof inspections will have technology built-in to analyze and process data gathered from the roof. As you’re looking at solutions, consider whether the solution has industry-specific features that can make your workflows better. For instance, a solution for insurance claims might have automated damage detection so adjusters can find hail hits easily. A solution for roofing might improve a roofing estimator’s ability to create solid estimates by providing accurate measurements. Meanwhile, solar companies might be able to automatically identify roof penetrations like vents, and create 3D models to map out the locations for solar panels.
Anyone can pull a drone from a box and begin taking pictures of roofs and claiming to do drone roof inspections. However, to be considered a provider a true solution there are some key components that need to be present. A solution provider should be affordable, help you with training and support, have reliable hardware, and the necessary software or app to analyze your data so you can make the best decisions possible.