Inspection Drones

Who uses a drone for (some) inspections?
Is it as useful as you thought it would be when you bought it or do you regret getting one?
What model do you have? Any “must have” features?

Mavic Mini for roofs and BIGCrawler360 UGV for crawlspaces.

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Oh cool! I didn’t even realize they were used in crawlspaces :+1:

There are many ways to spend money around here, lol.

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I use a DJI Spark and it has likely saved my tail a few times. No regrets whatsoever, precisely the opposite. A lot of modern homes have very steep slopes and I will not risk mounting them when I do not have to do so. Additionally, it more than pays for itself with metal roofs, slate roofs, etc. Bear in mind that you will need to obtain an FAA Part 107 license to be compliant with the law if you use a drone for commercial purposes (any paid compensation). With the license comes the responsibility to know where you can and cannot operate. With an FAA Part 107 license, you can also get fairly quick authorizations in restricted air space using the LAANC system (via Kittyhawk, Airmap, etc.). Many drones now have geo-fencing that will also prevent you from operating it in FAA-restricted areas. Always have a backup plan for those areas in which you cannot fly. I keep an extendable pole with a digital WiFi camera I mount on the end of it to get roof pictures when it is unsafe to mount and when I cannot fly. Between the drone and the camera pole, these two pieces of technology have likely saved my life at some point.

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MAVIC MINI!!!
Cheap and runs like a champ.
I’ve done just fine without all the front/back/side sensors, not necessary for me.
Dont forget you must register the drone and get your 107 license for commercial use, even though the mini is less than 250 grams.

Awesome thanks! Due to the price, I was hoping the Mavic Mini would be a good one.
Do you offer or use infrared?

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I offer drone, infrared, and lawn sprinklers all as add-ons.
For the infrared I went with a cheap Amazon off-brand.
$300 - 220x160 pixels
Works great and not a huge deal if i destroy it (just like the drone).

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Just saw the Mavic Mini today at Costco for a very reasonable price so it’s good to see positive experiences with them. What’s your add-on charge for the drone inspection? I would think you would run into scenarios where people don’t want to pay extra for the drone inspection then hire someone else thinking you wouldn’t complete as thorough of a roof inspection as a competitor, have you had that happen?

I don’t charge extra to use my drone. If the roof is too steep or too dangerous to climb, I use the drone, otherwise I climb.

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Thanks, I thought that was usually the norm so I was curious what sort of success/challenges Daniel may have had by charging.

Wow!!..

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I lump it all together in an $100-200 “upgrade” package - drone, infrared, and lawn sprinklers. That way no item has a individual cost to compare to others. Whichever item they really want they have to take the rest. And then if I can’t do one of the items it’s less important than if they paid for it specifically. (No fly weather, or sprinklers disabled)

I also provide a short drone flyaway video of the house front immediately after inspection, so I’m providing “value” even on a flat one story roof.
Everybody is deep down excited about a house purchase and loves to have a teaser video to easily share on social media.

Side note - even on a flat/easy roof i find that a drone flight can uncover subtle issues like large areas of differently tinted shingles that i can miss when walking.

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Even if they don’t pay for it - I sometimes fly the drone on extra difficult roofs if i feel i really don’t have good coverage, just for my own peace of mind.
But i don’t send them the cute flyaway video!!