Market analysis

Hi all! I’m hoping you all can help me make an educated decision about getting into the Lidar game. I have a drone service company and over the past six years have been providing RGB mapping (generally in timber) along with Multi-spectral (Agriculture), and lots of feature film work. I’m considering adding aerial Lidar services to the list.

The problem is that I don’t know what I don’t know so any comments or help is very much appreciated. Is there even a market for Lidar as a service? By that I mean, do survey companies generally have/purchase their own systems, or would they prefer to farm it out?

What is the target market? Since I’m not a licensed surveyor, should I be targeting survey companies or engineering firms?

Getting into Lidar would be very expensive for my small company. How and how much do you charge? Is it by the hour, daily, by the job, by the acre,…?

Thank you in advance for helping me make this big decision.

Hey RBohling
Lots of crossover, as I flew the last 7 yrs in film/entertainment industry w/Inspire 2 and heavy lifters. Now, I’m on the industrial side and joined an engineering/survey firm. We chose to take the leap and create our own sUAS Division, to replace farming out topo work…mainly b/c drone companies who aren’t in this field, don’t understand what surveyors really need in order to sign off their license. We had to continually work w/the deliverables we got and it was not productive. Now, we have our own in-house division, where we’ve tailored our deliverable and Accuracy Report to cater to this industry.

Most companies probably aren’t willing to bit the bullet and let go of the capital it takes to start a division, cuz it’s not just about equipment (the most expensive line item), it’s insurance, hull coverage, maintenance on drones, having redundant systems b/c if you use yourself then you have to be able to fly at any time, so double everything equipment wise is, well…wise. I come from many years as a scuba diver so I’ve learned the value of redundancy.

Target both!! We generally take traditional field crew rates for a project and take 80% +/- to arrive at LiDAR quotes, but there’s always variables, too. Just a basic starting point.

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Hey Alliance,
Thanks for the reply, this is a huge help. Thank you for the part about drone companies not getting you the proper deliverables. It looks like I’ll need to set up a training program for our pilots that really drills down into client specific requirements.

I totally agree with you on the redundancy! You can’t have actors, g&e, camera department, etc, standing around while you try to figure out why your aircraft won’t lock gps or whatever. lol

Thanks again. very exciting times!

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