You just bought a brand new drone and you’re looking into selling drone videos for real estate to bring in additional revenue? Maybe you’re looking at starting your own drone video business? How much should you charge for your services?
This is a difficult question to answer precisely, but we’ll give you a few ideas to get going.
First and foremost: regulations. You must understand the regulations in place in your country before even thinking about selling your services. What does it have to do with how much to charge for a video? Well, if you need a permit that costs $50 per shot, a training that costs $1000, you’ll have to take that into account. This can also be a significant barrier to entry, such that you should look into it before spending much time advertising your services and building up your brand. In the US, you need to get Part 107 and the appropriate permit. There’s no recurring fees to fly.
What would happen if you have a drone accident? What if it scrapes your client’s brand new Mercedes? Yeah, you need insurance. The cost will vary greatly by country, state and probably even locally. Shop around. We pay around $70 per month.
How far away is the shooting? How are you planning on getting there? Mileage costs time and money, which should not be underestimated. If you’re planning on shooting once a week to generate additional income, this needs to be taken into account. Who wants to spend their precious few days off in a car for “free”? A rough estimate is that it costs around $0.80 per mile ($0.50 per kilometre) to drive a car. Add to that at least $50 an hour for your time.
Even though drones are not as expensive as they used to be, it’s still a significant investment. Add the required accessories and you end up at least one thousand dollars in the red before you start making any money. There’s no hard rule here, but you should aim to recover your upfront investment in ten shootings. For example, if your drone and accessories were $1500, $150 per shot should go towards equipment, maintenance and depreciation.
What kind of service are you offering?
Are you planning to offer a complete package, meaning planning, filming, editing and publishing the videos on social media? Or just the filming? From experience, it would be very difficult to sell your services if you’re not planning on offering the complete package. Agents rarely want to hire two teams just to publish a video for their properties. If you’re not familiar with video editing, you may want to consider an online course or video series. iMovie is still the go-to software to edit video without spending a fortune (it’s free with Apple computers). Personally, I use Final Cut Pro. It’s a very powerful software, also by Apple. It costs $299, which is a lot less expensive than it used to be. It’s a Mac only software. If you run Windows, Adobe Premier is the high end go-to solution.
Video editing is an in-demand skill for which you should charge $75 an hour (minimum), up to $150 (or more) depending on your skillset. Be ready to spend at least two hours editing a 1:30-2 min video, with the first few taking as much as five hours.
Again, you should plan to finance your editing rig and take into account the upfront costs when you come up with how much to charge for a drone video. However, compared to a drone, a decent computer will likely last longer and serve other purposes. We recommend planning for $50 per video in “computer and software fees”.
The soundtrack you’ll be using when editing the video is copyrighted. Some artists will let you use their tracks for free. You can also get free tracks from different websites that comes with no copyrights, but as with most things, you get what you pay for. Buying rights to a quality track for your project can set you back around $30.
Distance: variable; starting with $50 is reasonable.
Editing software + equipment: $50
Editing (including copyrighted material): $200-$400
Grand total: $700 to $1100
Obviously, this might need to be adjusted based on local factors, such as local competition and the complexity of the regulations in your country. Some projects, for example a really large property, can require more time (filming and editing), which will then have to be taken into account.
Reading forums, we’ve seen people offering drone video for real estate for around $300-400. As you can see, this is significantly less than what I came up with. I strongly believe my estimate is reasonable for a quality product, as you can see from the cost breakdown. If you provide your clients with a great service, they will be willing to pay for it. Granted, to charge $1000, you need to offer something different and of high quality, but if you’re able to sell your services and if you’re doing a good job, charging this much is reasonable. That’s in the ballpark of what we’re charging at Superficie Media and we have great, recurring clients.