The Arguments For and Against Cut & Paste UAV Contracts

In Drone & UAV Contracts, Drone Customer Service Contract, Drone Law Blog, Drone Law Top Level Categories, Our attorneys handle all FAA Part 107 Issues, Part 107 Compliant Operations Manual by Enrico Schaefer

uav agreements contracts forms

Traverse Legal, PLC, the lawyers behind DroneLaw.Pro, have been innovators in providing high value, low cost legal services for almost two decades.  Traverse Legal was one  of the first law firms in the United States provide full access to case management systems to clients, guaranteed documented deliverables and guaranteed flat fee pricing. DLP’s lawyers often push hard against ‘traditional’ law firms and lawyers who continue to bill by the hour, play ‘hide the ball’ from the clients and refuse to quote fixed guaranteed prices for defined projects.   Our trademark slogan Changing the Way Law is Practiced®” (first use 2005) reflects a belief that clients deserve better options, improved customer service and transparency from their law firms. Some lawyers don’t like us much because our attorneys and staff embrace the very competition, innovation and client choice that many law firms have been able to traditionally avoid. We love using technology to provide efficiency and reduce client cost. And we love creating high value, low cost options for clients across a range of technology, intellectual property and commercial law practice areas.

In the drone market, Drone Law Pro has developed products and services that we believe meet our test of “high value, low cost.”  As importantly, DLP believes that these innovative products will help drone operators cost-effectively ‘jump start’ their professional drone businesses and help develop the industry standards that will grow the UAV market.  What do your contracts say about you?™

DLP’s ‘OPs in a  Box‘ contract and document package of 15 essential documents, and training videos is one example of how our drone lawyers are helping drone companies succeed.  Drone Law Pro also offers  ‘a la carte‘ versions of its industry standard drone contracts and products at an average price point of $350, which is far less than you might pay for contract drafting from a lawyer offering traditional hourly legal services.

DLP sometimes receives comments from drone pilots arguing that drone operators don’t need professional UAV contracts, that Pilots should do it themselves, or find contract forms online using a simple Google search.  DLP loves these discussions and appreciates the feedback, since healthy and honest debates allow us to ‘make our case’ that professional drone companies should use professional-grade UAV contracts.  The discussions below reflects many of the the ‘pros’ and ‘cons of the ‘do it yourself’ approach.  Follow the debate yourself and, as always, let us know your thoughts.

Should Drone Pilots Use ‘Form’ or “Cut & Paste’ Drone Contracts, Manuals and Documents For Their Drone Service Company?

Here is an advertisement and discussion from our Facebook Page for our UAV-specific contract offerings (most of them priced at $350), which include an editable Word version, Fillable and re-usable PDF version and training videos teaching you how and why to use the specific contracts you are purchasing.

drone contracts

DLP is not adverse to receiving negative Facebook comments, assuming the commenter is respectful and the comment is relevant to the message thread. Below is one exchange between a Part 107 Pilot and DLP, debating the issue of whether drone operators should purchase and use UAV specific contracts and other business documents.

 Should I Google a ‘Form’ Contract?

One commenter thought the $350 price tag seemed high and suggested a Google search for the same contracts for free.  To date, we have never been provided a link to any ‘form’ contracts that compare to the contracts we offer, drafted specifically to address Part 107 regulations and UAV industry requirements.  And none contain a training videos providing legal information every drone business owner needs to understand the specific contract provisions.  Try “Googling” for UAV or drone contracts and see for yourself. Beyond warranty contracts for drone purchasers, not much comes back. And we always encourage potential clients to shop around by speaking with other lawyers and getting multiple quotes.

drone contracts, manuals

Note the commenter ‘liked’ our response.  And we appreciated the comment so much we sent the user a free sUAS Service Agreement package just to say ‘thanks.’ 🙂  And while ‘self-help’ is an option if you don’t have the money in your budget to pay a fee, our $350 fee is often well below what it would cost for a single Word document drafted by a lawyer charging an hourly rate.

Done Operators and Part 107 Pilots Don’t Need Contracts.

Another Facebook user took issue with our product offering, initially taking the position that drone pilots and operators don’t need contracts, let alone contracts specifically drafted for Part 107 and UAV operations.

UAV Form Agreements

A different Drone Law Pro community member immediately took issue, and noted that there is  a difference between hobbyist Part 107 pilots and professional Part 107 drone pilots.  Admittedly, we typically represent drone pilots who are serious about growing their business, serious about helping to establish industry standards beyond FAA Part 107 regulations, who want to embrace professionalism and are adamant about following the rules even when the risk of getting caught is  low.

Should Drone Pilots Simply Draft Their Own Contracts?

The commenter’s argument evolved from ‘you don’t need contracts’ to ‘do it yourself.’ Sometimes, you don’t have the money in your budget, especially start-up drone businesses, to pay for much of anything. In that case, we agree.  You may have to cobble something together yourself.  A ‘self-help’ contract is sometimes better than nothing at all (but not always if poorly drafted, or you lose customers because you don’t appear professional).

draft contract form

We are still waiting for a Google link to any comparable contracts to those we offer.  And we continue to believe that encouraging any non-lawyer to simply ‘do it yourself’ is a risky idea, assuming you can afford to get real contracts drafted by experienced attorneys. Note the analogy to doctors and dentists below.

google contracts online forms

The observation the “amateur contracts reflect amateur business” is important.  As an industry, market demand will grow once customers believe that the industry and pricing reflects something more than a kid who bought a drone with a 4k camera. The overall image of drones, and drone service providers needs to evoke a sense of ‘trust’ ‘competence’ and ‘professionalism’ before we will really see market demand for services at pricing which reflects the investment and skill of the pilot.

“I Already Have A Lawyer.”

In this instance, the commenter retreats from ‘not needed’ to ‘I have my own lawyer.’ This is great news for some drone operators.  And drone pilots should definitely contact their lawyer to have contracts drafted for employees, partners, independent contractors, flight crew and customers.  However, if the lawyer does not have background in contract drafting, drone law or FAA Part 107 regulations, you may not get the customization you want.  Remember, your contracts say a lot about your drone business’ level of professionalism.  Serious drone service companies want their contracts to make the customer feel confident in their professional drone services and regulatory compliance.  A well drafted customer drone service agreement and will protect both the drone company and the customer, and make the customer feel safe about using your services.

There is a comment about being a ‘middle man’ which we don’t understand.  While we are sometimes hired by the outside attorneys for a company because they lack the expertise to assist their clients, most of our drone clients contact and purchase from us directly.  Here is how we responded:

already have a lawyer

While it is easy to comment on internet threads and Facebook posts, the drone community has a responsibility to weigh-in on comments which reflect poorly on the industry, encourage non-compliance with FAA regulations or encourage unsafe UAV operations. Be respectful, and avoid ‘snarky’ interactions when advancing your arguments.  The drone industry needs to help itself in  order for it to mature and grow.

Do You  Want to Know More About Your Drone Contracts, Manuals & Documents?

Do you want to know what the debate above was all about?  DLP’s products are unique and designed to cost-effectively help drone service providers grow their business.  Here is what our customers say about our specific contracts, documents and videos.**

Rated as an “excellent” value for the money. Customers are ‘extremely likely’ and ‘very likely’ to recommend these documents to their friends.

“Comprehensive and customizable to your needs.  Video that goes along with the documents are top-notch.  Enrico goes through every line of the document.  Just what I was looking for at a very affordable price.” – Ronald T.

The sUAS Service Agreement is top notch and well worth the price!” – Tom I., TCI Corp.

“[I love] that you HAVE videos.  They make things so much easier ….” – Joe G., Arise Drone

You can learn more by checking out our “OPs in a BOX’ Package and our ‘a la carte’ products by click these links.

Drone UAV Contracts, Documents, Manuals

Or you can contact us directly with any questions.  We are always happy to set up a call.

One Last Word about Hiring A Drone Lawyer.

Your relationship with your drone lawyer will hopefully last a long time. You should feel comfortable with the primary lawyer as your attorney, understand how many years of experience that lawyer has practicing law and feel comfortable with that lawyers bedside manner in your interactions.  You should also get to know the law firm’s staff since you will likely be dealing with a team that is assisting you on your legal matters (unless you select a solo practitioner).

Choosing a lawyer is not quite like getting married, but it is a relationship which can return long term rewards if you select properly. Often times, it pays to pay for one or two projects, then reevaluate your drone lawyer and the law firm to make sure it is a good fit.

On a final note.  In over 75 years of cumulatively practicing law, DLP attorneys have never bad mouthed other lawyers.  Picking a lawyer is a personal decision.  One lawyer may be a great match for one client, but not another.  We have been helping clients with intellectual property, commercial law and regulated technology issues since 1990, when the new technology was something called the internet.  Some lawyers in the drone industry, unfortunately,  deceptively ‘bad mouth’ competing lawyers.  This is unnecessary and unfortunate for the industry and for people needing UAV related legal services.  One drone attorney, who is new to practicing law, often cites his ‘commercial pilot’ experience as objective evidence that he is a good lawyer.  This young solo does not appear to have any partner supervision, almost no experience practicing law and little experience litigating civil cases.   Being a commercial pilot may be great for someone looking for someone to fly their plane. But it has nothing to do with being a good lawyer.  With the internet, you can easily identify multiple options for your legal services. Educate yourself, test the waters and revisit your choice of law firms on occasion. Unlike marriage, you can change attorneys at any time.  There is not such thing  ‘for better or for worse’ when it comes to selecting an attorney.

The DLP Approach to Legal Services:  Our attorneys have no opinion on any other specific drone attorney’s qualifications to handle your legal matter.  We want to be a part of expanding the UAV community, and believe that attorneys who compete should share the common goal of helping the community grow and succeed.   Across numerous other technology sectors over 30 years, we have worked directly with our competitors to share information ,innovate and work for the common good.  A rising tide truly lifts all boats.


**Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Please note that the testimonials or endorsements do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction applicable to your specific situation or value to your specific business model.