Drones for thermal imaging - pricing structure?

For some industrial/commercial complexes, how do you guys go about charging for just the imagery captured from a drone? I realize the talents that come along with the years of training most of you have and that an inspection is much more detailed that just capturing imagery but curious of some ranges you have seen. Thanks for the insight.

Daryl- That would be “Free” in most cases in this group.

You need to get on a web site for IR. There are only a half dozen here that do what your looking at, and I would not expect a reply from them on pricing. No two jobs are the same and you must know what, how, why and when to attempt a thermal scan. Then you need analysis and reporting. Your part is very small and the added charge is not worth most thermographers time. The only job which you could make any money on is commercial. Only a handful here do any commercial that warrant an aerial platform.

You need to learn to do it all.
Based on the complexity if this type thermal job, a Lvl III would be in order. See Jim Sefferin at Infraspection or Gary Orlove at ITC Flir about training.

Your looking at a $2,500/day job for one Thermographer to set up and analyze a project (requiring a drone) that you flew a drone over. Do you know of a market that will bear that cost plus your fees?

I have a power plant I’m doing tomorrow night where I could really use a drone, but it would take an act of congress to allow flying in restricted air space. So that would be a no go.

People with thermal imaging equipment see all kinds of great uses for thermography as we go about our daily business. The problem is that most potential customers do not see it the same way. You need to know what drives the market, then you will be able to put a price on your service. Just because I charge $2,500/day will not always mean your capable of a good payday for flying a drone unless your doing the whole job.

Home Inspectors do inspections for around $300-$400. Not all home buyers are willing to pay even that much. Now try adding $1,500 for Thermal Imaging… That drone won’t fly often enough for a reliable source of income. That’s why they do it for free. It’s more of a marketing cost than an ancillary service. Especially when they try to do it with a Flir One.

I must say when pricing commercial IR I have never had two jobs that I priced exactly the same. My prices are based on sq footage, drive time and lodging if required.

Taking the travel and lodging out of it, what do you charge per sq foot for a 100k sq ft building and a 1M sq ft building?

For a 100K SQ FT =$5K for 1 Million SQ FT =$10K would be a fair price in Okla other areas you might get more but not here. This is for a walk over, for IR with a Drone my pricing would vary we charge per night plus report time in the area of $2k per night because the drone cuts out time.

Great, thanks. I am looking at this more from solely an image capture perspective, not the analysis (we have that part covered). To fly the size roofs I mentioned, I am trying to determine a per square foot price but don’t want to undervalue the image collection.

Daryl- Get in tough with Jim Sefferin at Infraspection. What you are doing is not in the same league with what we do and where we do it. Your client is not a person or company, it is a corporation. Big difference there.

Daryl, it would be helpful if you told us more about yourself. Right now we’re not sure if you’re a wedding photographer looking to get additional income from your drone, if you’re a Level III thermographer with 20 years experience trying to calculate the ROI on going airborne, or if you’re a facility manager trying to establish “normal” pricing to compare to proposals you’ve received.

Good point. :slight_smile: While I am a commercial drone pilot, I am the VP of the enterprise insurance vertical for one of the largest commercial drone companies in the world. I am working with a number of carriers who are interested in gathering visual and thermal imagery of the properties they insure. We have our own internal flight services crew so the mobilization costs are easy to calculate. It’s the data collection pricing that I am inquiring about.

We can fly 100k square feet with a thermal sensor in about 18 mins at 40 meters. Part of our expertise comes in the way of site vetting, product/sensor selection and flight parameters required for the optimal flights. We would also work with onsite security teams, local police, etc. as part of the planning process, especially for the larger facilities.

I feel like keeping the pricing at a per square foot rate may be best but again, I am looking for that type of advice here.

Lastly, we do have a Level III on staff but for these types of projects, my end clients are heavy on the engineering personnel who also have certifications. In lots of cases, we would simply be delivering the data collected in a stitched, orthomosaic file.

I appreciate the insight from you all.

If I was in your position I would price per job based on a range of SQ footage from say 50K to 100K a 100K to 250K and so forth up to about 500 K the fly time is not much different on the smaller structures