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  • UAV Recon Became the Most Preferred Vendor for Powerline Inspections via sUAS

    If you’re an electric utility, this will save your bacon! FREE stuff at the end too…

    Having flown over 10,000 structures this year alone, conducting aerial assessments from 7200 – 230kV, we have been able to provide the most TIME & COST effective business model for powerline assessment services. There are multiple options in the market for hiring drone operators to inspect powerlines, and the barriers to entry are VERY low….this should help you get started.

    UAV Recon has proven to complete 50% more poles per month, with 128% fewer man hours to deliver a finished product. Due to the volume, the cost of which also has been consistently lower per project; tracking ~$2.5M in savings for utilities!

    Based on our experience, here are some tips to help you implement a successful sUAS inspection program at your utility.  (3)  Additional Factors to Consider of a sUAS Vendor for Powerline Services.

    • Completion Rate
    • Total Man Hours
    • Experience

     Completion Rate

                  Completion Rate is often overlooked. If your paying a company per hour….yikes! Your absorbing the risk of [the other company] being diligent/efficient vs traditional methods. Request a fixed price proposal, that’s easy to interpret. Weather can be a large limiting factor for sUAS operations; the longer the project…the more weather delays, weekends, holidays, etc. This, and other factors, all impact completion rate and largely drives the cost of your project.

     

    Total Man Hours

    One the most debated arguments, questions, and forum inquires revolves around ‘Price.’ However, unless you can quantify ‘Total Hours’ into a specific project…the debate of price is irrelevant. Many want to jump to ‘Price’ without ever analyzing ‘Cost.’ A vendor will correlate ‘Price’ to Total Man Hours & Completion Rate. Thus, compare total man hours.

    If you intend to complete some of the scope in-house, you need to account for those additional man hours and overall Completion Rate.

    Ask for prior project examples…that will shorten the list dramatically. We ask each time, and we’ve never had a utility tell us we couldn’t share project success with another utility.

     

    Experience

    Did you know owning a drone & flight proficiency are not a requirement to get the prized FAA Part 107 airmen certificate? The business barrier to entry to offer sUAS inspection services is very low compared to other startups. Daily seen on the internet, many start out getting a drone from Amazon, and resort to Facebook forums asking, ‘So I got my drone today, how do I find clients.’

    There are even multiple business models signing up any pilots via email lists, selling franchises, and investment entities bidding large MSA’s with no experienced personnel in the actual scope of work.

    The most common misconception and marketing tactic we see…is advertising “Drone Inspections.” Drones don’t do inspections….and if you own a drone…it doesn’t do the inspection. Unless the craft is fully autonomous in both flight and analysis…a ‘PERSON’ either behind the controls or behind a screen is ‘Doing the Inspection.’ Horror stories of companies hiring a ‘guy with a drone’ offering “Drone Inspections,” only to discover they get a jump drive of useless data exists far too often. Who is, and what does [Person] know about the service they are providing?

    Safety and Market Understanding fall under experience level. One needs to understand the scope of work to implement proper safety protocols and procedures.

     

    Yes, UAV Recon started from scratch also. We relied on our prior utility experience and great relationships to build a solid business model. It was this experience that helped us develop the most cost-effective model for utilities needing large scale inspection projects.

    Quantify the experience level of the service provider, as it relates to the scope of work, as well as sUAS flight operations. A previous client list should be readily available.

    We hope this blog post has been helpful. To our knowledge, UAV Recon has flown more structures and recorded more flight hours in a utility wire environment than any other sUAS solutions provider in the USA. Our content is a direct reflection of our utility partners and what they claim to value and appreciate.

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    FREE - If you would like a Guide Form Specification to use for your program, including standard terminology, timetables, pricing models, and common utility requests; please send us an email and we’ll provide a .DOC for you to begin with. No need to start from scratch.