Using Drones for Estimating and Inspections
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word “drone”? I’m willing to bet it’s not “estimating”. Sure we see drones filming movies or on the battlefield, but drones at the job site? Pretty cool if you ask me. ContractorTalk did a write up on job site drones emphasizing their importance, cool factor and overall ability to generate valuable information. See it here. They noted that in a similar fashion, farmers have been using drones to inspect their vast array of crops. Just recently, though, contractors have been getting on board with the drone procedure – estimating and inspecting the job site.
Drones can be extremely helpful when estimating. A drone in the sky essentially gives you a top to bottom view of the entire job site. It is the perfect way to survey all aspects of the land. No longer do you have to walk around obstructions or survey certain patches at a time. Drones allow you spot potentially damaged zones from angles otherwise unobtainable. This can speed up the estimating process as you will know where to concentrate your time.
Obviously, you will still need to perform specific measurements by hand, some of which requiring a ladder. The drone, though, will help you identify which measurements you may need to focus on.
Just like that of estimating, use the drone to be your eye in the sky. When the job is done inspect everything using the drone. You will be able to see all angles more effectively and efficiently. This beats the idea of combing the home with a ladder every few feet. This is not to say you shouldn’t inspect the home with your own eye, just take advantage of the drone for those hard to reach places.
Use the drone to hone in on specific problem areas. This will save you time and energy, avoiding walking over all aspects of the job, not knowing what to look for. The drone is almost a “refreshing” way to inspect, as you might be able to catch certain things you otherwise might miss by walking around.
Choosing a Drone
The quality of a drone can range tremendously. If you are planning to estimate or inspect with a drone, it is a good idea to buy top of the line. The lower end models often do not have cameras, and if they do, the resolution is low quality. They are also made with cheap materials that could break if you were to crash, or experience violent winds. High-end drones are made with sturdy materials and provide recording/live streaming to a computer or device. You’ll want to have HD compatibility, if not 4K when estimating. The live steam allows the pilot to fly while you and your team inspect via computer. Feel free to take multiple fly overs, inspecting anything that might need a closer look. A recording of the drone video allows you to keep track of troubled spots, so you never forget where they were. This is great because it avoids having to walk on the roof, or climb the ladder to inspect every inch of the job. It is a safer and more efficient alternative.
Drones take time, energy and practice to perfect. You can’t expect to buy a drone and become a master is minutes. Flying a drone around to inspect your job requires great attention to detail, as well as an understanding of how to operate. Learning to fly and watch the feed takes practice. Take the drone on some test runs at your house or office. Place an irregular object somewhere and have your team try to find it. This is good practice for the inspection or estimating you might perform down the road.
Be well aware of the variety of features that can come with a drone. Some cameras do not look directly down, some do not record, others do not have HD streaming. Find the drone that is right for you, which means doing a bit of research.
Also, if you do use drones on the job site, keep track of the law in you local area. The FAA and Department of Transportation are in charge of drone regulations and requirements. Contact them to ensure it is safe and legal to fly a drone in your area.
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Drones for Job Estimates and Inspections… https://t.co/t57GfVEvDw
— ContractorTalk.com (@ContractorTalk) May 24, 2016
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— Clear Estimates, Inc (@clearestimates) June 2, 2016
Estimating with ease.