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How To Build A Profitable UAS & Infrared Thermal Imaging Business

March 28, 2017


Now is the time, as never before, to profit with unmanned aerial systems (UAS) & aerial infrared imaging for thermal inspection of commercial buildings. If you want to win more roofing bids, increase profits and distance yourself from the competition, then you’re reading the right article.

That’s because you’re about to discover how a UAS can give you a quick return on investment when you take the time to develop a business model around this state-of-the-art platform.

The good news is that you don’t need to write a 50-page business plan to start making money with aerial imaging. If you take the time to learn what a camera like the Zenmuse XT powered by FLIR is telling you, it becomes a valuable tool that sells itself once clients see what it can do.

Read on…

How Roofers Are Profiting

As an example, take Dana B., a commercial roofing contractor and licensed thermographer in Southern California who, after acquiring an aerial commercial building inspection kit, brought in over $4,000 on 3 inspections in just two days plus referrals. Total time invested from flying to generating the reports was 6 hours. And there’s Orson J., a home inspector in Florida who recently acquired an aerial home inspection kit and says “every time I walk out the door it’s $300 in my pocket minimum. It’s not how much it cost me, but how much it saves me that counts.”     

You Too Can Profit

Many contractors who are new to infrared thermal imaging and UAS do not fully realize how the market is changing.  As customers continue to become more tech savvy, they appreciate the high tech nature of this type of inspection service and are willing to pay for it.  

So why not take advantage of that fact?

Instead of battling the lowball competition for work, the time is now to take to the skies and open up a whole new profit center for your business.

Develop Your Business Model Canvas

A business model canvas is used to describe your key partners, key activities, key resources, value propositions, customer relationships, marketing channels, customer segments, cost structure and revenue streams.

For commercial roofing, let’s consider three of the nine attributes as a way of demonstrating how you can profit quickly providing aerial infrared thermal imaging.

Identify Key Partners

Another way to think about this is to ask “what type of partners do I need to be successful?”

Some key partners may include:

  • Shopping Centers
  • Office Complexes
  • Warehouses
  • Supermarkets
  • Hotels
  • Manufacturing Facilities
  • Association of Energy Engineers
  • Building Owners and Managers Association

Identify Key Activities

The next thing to consider is, “what key activities will help me attract more clients?”

Finding ways to get the word out about your aerial services is key. Consider ways to network to your clients whether it be through social media, traditional advertising, state/local business networking events, etc. There are a variety of activities at your disposal.

Some key activities may include:

  • Demonstrate UAS capabilities with documented results
  • Send a sample thermal inspection report via email
  • Show client aerial before and after hi-resolution images of previous projects
  • Hold a seminar for local architects and engineers
  • Sign up for a booth at your local home & garden show

Forecast Revenue Streams

At this step you’re likely test different pricing structures as this all comes down to “how much are my customers willing to pay me for my services?”  

Keep in mind that your aerial kit is a tool and brings value to the job you do. Consider what services utilizing the UAS fit the client’s needs. Pricing to take high-resolution before / after photos should be tiered differently than pricing to thermal inspect a 20,000 sq-ft. roof. Being able to give the client more precise and detailed analysis of problems areas on their structure will help greatly in your pricing stage of the job.

Bottom Line: You can build a profitable Aerial Infrared Thermal Imaging Roofing Business if you get strategic and focus on the key activities that generate revenue. Now that you know some of the key steps towards building a solid business it's time to take action.

Call UAS THERMALS® to learn about our turn-key aerial infrared packages at 1-800-UAS-1353