I once had a request for an aerial shot of a lakefront home. I don’t have a drone (or access to a private plane) but that did get me looking into drones and their use commercially.
You can walk into any Best Buy and buy a drone, and have recreational fun with all its features, pretty much without any care (OK, watch out for power lines). The emphasis is on “recreational.” Once you start to use the drone as part of a business venture, it’s no longer considered recreational; it’s commercial, and that’s when the FAA steps in. If you are going to be paid for providing drone services, or using one as part of your own business, you need to get an FAA exemption to their rules for unmanned aircraft. You get the certification by stipulating certain things, such as not flying it above a certain height.
If you are thinking about contracting out for drone services, it may be a good idea to make sure your provider has the proper credentials. Agents, you may want to talk to your broker about how they feel about this, and what their expectations are. It’s all about liability. Again, think about accidentally clipping power lines. And we’ve all heard on the news about drone operators getting too close to aircraft.
For more information on the FAA regulations, click here.