UAV Operations Manual – Differentiate Yourself from Other Drone Service Companies and Pilots

In Drone & UAV Contracts, Drone Law Blog by Enrico Schaefer

Drone UAV Contracts, Documents, Manuals

Do you have a Part 107 Compliant sUAS Operations Manual?

Learn more about Part 107 manuals by listening to this podcast or reading the trascript below.  Also, find resources for Drone Operation manual forms, templates and examples below.

Welcome to this edition of Drone Law Pro Radio.  Your source of information for everything UAV.  We are drone attorneys and we speak drone. Subsrive to Drone Law Pro Radio here. 

Today’s show on Drone Law Pro Radio is going to be dedicated to the UAV Operations Manual. The manual that your company should be using in order to standardize your business, your procedures, safety, and regulatory compliance.

My name is drone attorney Enrico Schaefer and we have a great Operations Manual that we make available to clients and customers. (click here for more information).   This package includes training videos instructing you how to use the manual, how to use the manual for not only compliance but for marketing and internal process as well.

Today though, I’ll talk a little bit about why documentation is important for your drone service business.  Our background is that we represent hundreds of drone operators and pilots, whom we have spoken to well over a thousand different drone pilots and operators over the last several years. We have 25 years of experience in dealing with regulated new and emerging technologies.  So there are certain things we have seen over and over again as new technologies come into the marketplace.  We are a law firm that specializes in representing technology companies and technology concerns.

What we have seen over the last 30 years is that differentiation is a key element of success for businesses trying to enter into new regulated markets.  As those markets mature, the big factor that is going to separate the weak from the strong, the people who are successful and the people who are not successful, is going to be differentiation.

So how can you differentiate yourself as a drone service company or as a drone pilot with a remote pilot certificate?  Well, obviously being a great drone pilot with mad skills at flying the drone is one way to differentiate.  Unfortunately, that isn’t really something that customers see at least initially.  They don’t know the difference between a good drone pilot and a bad drone pilot and that’s not something you can prove when you’re sitting across the table from them and trying to sell your services.

You could have mad post-production skills — so you’re taking those videos and you’re taking those photos and you’re editing them in adobe and you’re making them beautiful in ways that most drone pilots can’t because they don’t have those skills, so that’s a great differentiation tool.  And you could show your videos to customers, but again, it’s not the type of thing that is tangible enough for a customer to say “okay you’re different than someone else.”  They’re going to assume everyone is good at that stuff until they buy a junk service product that spits out junk videos that really aren’t very good.

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Beyond these items of post-production and drone piloting skills, what is the best way to stand out from the crowd?  We’re going to be talking about the Operations Manual and we’re going to be talking about that manual because it is one of the many ways in which documents, the things that are visible to customers, the things that customers actually do see, allow you to stand out from the crowd.

So, what does it mean to be a professional drone service company?  Well, no one really knows yet – right?  Because the market is still emerging and we’re still trying to figure out where that line is between the fly by night pilots who are going to try and undercut your pricing and the professional services.  We know after 30 years of representing technology interests that the customers are going to gravitate very quickly towards the professional service providers.  Especially if they have any sort of significant budget for drone services, right?  If you’re doing low-end real estate, yeah, maybe the neighbor’s kid is adequate.  For 98% of the market, professionalism is going to be the primary differentiation point.  You can have a great website that is going to be differentiating you from the competition.  You could have great marketing materials.

Your documentation, your contracts, your manuals, the different things that you interact with the customer with are going to say something about you.  If you don’t have good contracts it’s going to say you may not know what you’re doing or you’re not a professional.  If you have UAV customized contracts that screams professionalism, that screams compliance with FAA regulations, and most important, that make the customer feel safe, you’re going to differentiate yourself from the crowd.

Now you need to educate your customers about professionalism in order to insulate yourself from the kid with the drone that comes in that door, the customer’s door next, and tries to sell services at 25% of the cost.

So the Operations Manual is one of the documents that we offer for sale.  It is a UAV Operations Manual compliant with Part 107 that you can use to your benefit to differentiate yourself from the market and to improve your company and your internal processes.  So these documents, including the manual, help you think and act professionally.  If you follow the documents, if you follow the Operations Manual that we offer, you are going to end up in the professional space because there’s just no way to avoid it if you follow those checklists.

It’s going to create, the Operations Manual, is going to create an internal process for your business that can be replicated and followed so that you can be efficient.  So using the UAV Operations Manual for your internal purposes is really important and can help you build your business, the foundation of your business, but it also can be a marketing tool with customers; and we encourage our clients and customers to go ahead and share the Operations Manual with their customers so the customer can see how you are doing it right.  How you are acting professionally and how you are making them safe with your drone operations.

Keep in mind the customer is going to get sued if there is an injury on site as a result of your drone operations.  Whether customers realize that or not, if there is an injury or property damage then the customer hiring the drone company is likely going to get named.

Alright, so let’s talk a little bit about using the Operations Manual as a marketing tool today, as opposed to, as in, internal process.  If you follow the Operations Manual it sets forth an organizational structure for your drone service company that is going to be the foundational element of your company.  It is perhaps the most important document within your organization.  It’s going to define the roles and qualifications of all flight crew, it’s going to identify the process by which all flight operations for your UAV occur, and it’s going to ensure safety and/or reduce risk because of the checkmarks that you’re going to have to cross off before you put that drone in the air.  From site survey before the flight operations to identify risks and hazards and make decisions about reducing risk to all the other elements of risk management are all baked into the operations manual all the way to emergency procedures if there is a loss link on the drone.

The other thing that is really important from a marketing point of view with the Operations Manual is that is going to ensure your compliance with FAA regulations Part 107 is an intricate piece of the Operations Manual.  The manual actually defines a level of safety beyond what is required in Part 107 all the way up into what we believe industry standards will be for professional drone service providers.

But you want to take that compliance piece of the manual, share it with your customer and show how compliance with FAA regulations is baked in and that manual can really become handy, because when that next drone service company comes through the door of that customer and says “well the FAA doesn’t really care about that” or “hey you know the FAA doesn’t really enforce this” or that “FAA doesn’t really care about compliance,” they’ll have seen your manual, they’ll have seen what the compliance items are and they will know that they are at risk if they hire anyone except a professional drone operator that takes it seriously. (continued below)

More Operation Manual Templates, Forms and Resources

  • [PDF] UAS Operations Manual Template – Bureau of Engineering – City of … Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). Flight Operations Manual …. 5.1 Operations Manual . ….. 11.2 EQUIPMENT / UAV / DRONEMONTHLY INSPECTION .
  • [PDF]  UAS Operations Manual Template – Piper Mountain Aerial Operations Manual. February 2017. Page 2. Piper Mountain Aerial Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations Manual ii. TABLE OF CONTENTS. 1. PREFACE .
  • Writing your Drone Operations Manual – CAA Updates | Uplift Drones  Apr 26, 2018 – Read everything you need to know about the CAA drone operations manual and recent updates, to help you gain first-time PfCO approval.

The question you want the customer to ask your competitors who follow you through that door is “can I see your Operations Manual?”  And if they don’t have an Operations Manual, you’re at an immediate advantage.  If their operations manual isn’t as professional and UAV focused as yours, then you are going to have a significant advantage.  If you follow up that operations manual with a professional UAV service’s contract (something that we also provide the customers at a low price, high value, low price documents are what we specialize in), then you are going to appear as a professional drone service company.

So, one thing we always talk about is that clients’ customers often times have a hard time really understanding the value that you’re providing them, right?  They’re not on site, they don’t know how much time you’ve got flying the drone, and how amazing you are at flying the drone.  They don’t really understand that.  They perceive you through yes, your marketing materials and your website, but perhaps most importantly through your business documents – through your documentation.  We offer a Notice of UAV Operations set of documents that you can use with neighboring property owners to tell them about your flight so that there’s not a problem once the flight operation occurs, or even potentially get them to sign off on it in certain circumstances.  You have both options.  If you share those types of documents with your customers, you’re showing them you’re professional, you’re showing them you’re doing it right.

My name is drone attorney Enrico Schaefer and we will see you next time.

You’ve been listening to Drone Law Pro Radio.  Where drone pilots turn for legal expertise on everything drone.  Visit us at DroneLaw.Pro.

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