Establishing Your Hourly Rate

If you don’t price your drone services correctly, you could lose business because your too expensive, or work way too hard, and not get paid enough. But pricing is more complicated than it seems, and many drone pilots fall victim to bad pricing practices. It is not unusual for a drone pilot to copy pricing from their competition and use the same numbers, or worse, undercut their competition by a few dollars to be the cheaper option. The better approach is to figure out what pricing you should be using for what you provide, and to who.

It sounds difficult, but it’s not. We’ve provided some tools to help you run scenarios so you can get a feel for where your pricing should be. If you have an idea of what you need to make on an hourly basis to reach your goals, it becomes a lot easier to quote clients when they contact you about their job. It also gives you some perspective on taking jobs where the clients budget isn’t in line with what you need to make.

Many pilots have set prices on packages they offer, which is great. But when the client calls and wants something other than the packages you offer, you need to be able to respond. Your pricing is a big key in your sales process, so it’s worth knowing where it should be for your market, and the products or services you offer.

The video provided here gives detail on drone related considerations that go into pricing, so we won’t rehash that here. What the video does not address, is what to do with that hourly rate once you have it. If you have a number that gets you where you want to be financially, you now have some more work to do to determine how it will be received in your market, and by your potential clients.

In general, if you bring value to a potential client, they’ll hire you. Value can mean a lot of different things for different clients so you want to look at it from their perspective. What are they getting for there money? Is it a picture, or is it a tool that helps a real estate agent get more showings on a property? Is it a progression video, or is it a marketing piece that will help secure future work for a construction company? Is it a roof inspection, or is it a product that saved equipment costs, and provided increased safety for the client? Value analysis will help you determine if you are on the right track with your hourly rate, and ultimately you job cost.

Even though you shouldn’t base your price on your competitions price, it is alright to spot check your price against your competition to see how your prices stack up in the market. You will probably find that you’re lower than some, and higher than others. This is a good indication that you are doing something right, unless your business model is inexpensive volume work, or exclusive high dollar production work. You will get price shopped by potential clients, and you will lose work to other pilots doing it cheaper. You’ll also loose work to pilots that charge more but provide better value. It happens, but don’t focus on your competition’s pricing. Too many people spend too much time worrying about what their competition is charging, and neglecting to focus on what they can improve on to get more clients. Trying to keep up with the competition is exhausting and unproductive, so keep your focus where it’s productive.

Ultimately, you want your prices to be good for you and good for your clients. If they are, then you’re in good shape. If they’re not, then adjustments may need to be made. Remember, adjustments are made when you work faster and smarter. Adjustments are made when your processes are streamlined. Adjustments are made when you include added value to your jobs. You’re hourly rate might not be the problem, it could be other factors. Work that into the equation as well when it comes to pricing your services, and start getting good at selling your value.





This is in no way a magic wand for pricing your services. However, it is a tool to help you plug in numbers and get an idea of how your price can be affected by many different variables. The intent of the video and the worksheet is to help you determine what your pricing could be, based on different factors. This should not be used as a machine to generate your price for every job. 

Click Here To Download the spreadsheet

Click Here To Download the PDF