The pest control industry is like most other industries, you have your early adopters, laggards, and everybody else.
In the past few years, we have definitely seen our share of businesses offering inspections via drones, but most companies have yet to jump on board.
I think most professionals see the value in adding drones to their arsenal, as drones can offer safer ways to inspect roofs, hard-to-reach areas, and dangerous animal habitats. In addition to safety, drones can offer a faster alternative to the traditional methods of inspection.
Need to check out a chimney or gutter? No problem. You can pull out the drone, guide it to the appropriate spot, and have your findings FAR before you could get the results by using a ladder.
So why isn’t everyone on board?
I think there are two primary reasons drones haven’t been universally adopted: ROI and licensing.
Most pest management professionals, myself included, don’t see the $1,500 – $5,000 investment as a good return on investment. For many of us, roof inspections aren’t that common, so it’s hard to justify the price of a drone and the other costs associated with it.
There are also regulatory hurdles for operating a drone. The Federal Aviation Administration regulates drones in both commercial and recreational use, and some states have additional regulations. It’s not like you can buy a drone and begin offering unmanned inspections to consumers, if you plan to use a drone in commercial applications, you must take a test (much like a pilot’s license).
The Sad Truth
I do see drones in the our industry’s future, but I think many of us will need to experience (or hear about) an unfortunate event in order for us to take action. Losing out on a lucrative job or a ladder related accident/close-call will do the trick (as it always does).