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What should I charge for mapping?

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I have been doing aerial surveys for my own company using DroneDeploy for some time now so I have some experience but I am just now getting asked by other companies to do surveys and I am not sure what to charge since I have just been doing this for myself so far.

A professional survey company wants me to do a 20-30 acre site and all they want is contour lines they can import into AutoCAD. I know how to do that, just export the file from DroneDeploy so it doesn't take any more work on my part than just gather the images and upload to DroneDeploy. This site is 45 minutes from where I live and I will probably use my Inspire 2 to do the work.

Can anybody give me a clue as to what to charge?

Thanks,
 
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I have been doing aerial surveys for my own company using DroneDeploy for some time now so I have some experience but I am just now getting asked by other companies to do surveys and I am not sure what to charge since I have just been doing this for myself so far.

A professional survey company wants me to do a 20-30 acre site and all they want is contour lines they can import into AutoCAD. I know how to do that, just export the file from DroneDeploy so it doesn't take any more work on my part than just gather the images and upload to DroneDeploy. This site is 45 minutes from where I live and I will probably use my Inspire 2 to do the work.

Can anybody give me a clue as to what to charge?

Thanks,
Assuming they are laying out the GCP's and doing the all the image processing, $250 is kind of my minimum charge for collecting data, which would cover a 20-30 acre plot.

D
 
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Assuming they are laying out the GCP's and doing the all the image processing, $250 is kind of my minimum charge for collecting data, which would cover a 20-30 acre plot.

D
Oh really? That’s much lower than I was thinking.

It’s 45 mins away so 1.5 hours round trip plus call it 2 hours in the field with set up/tear down and battery changes. More if I have to set up GCPs. Say 1 hour to upload the images, download the data, check over the data to make sure it makes sense, and send it on.

That’s 4.5 hours so at $250 that’s only like $55 per hour. I was thinking more along the lines of like $100-$150 per hour.
 
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Oh really? That’s much lower than I was thinking.
I roughly charge $100/hour portal to portal with a $250 minimum. 30 acres meets that minimum.




It’s 45 mins away so 1.5 hours round trip plus call it 2 hours in the field with set up/tear down and battery changes.
Ahhhhh...I missed the "45 minute" part. $100/hour portal to portal. So 1.5 hours of travel would incur another $150 on the invoice. For a total of $400.




More if I have to set up GCPs.
Correct. As I stated, I assume somebody else is setting up and collecting GCP's.




Say 1 hour to upload the images, download the data, check over the data to make sure it makes sense, and send it on.
It doesn't take that long to copy images to hard drive and then USB stick...couple minutes tops on USB 3.0. Checking images in the field (exposure and focus), again, takes a few minutes. My client's office is on my way to my mother's house (who I visit almost daily), so I rarely upload images. 30 acres @ 250 AGL 75/75 overlap is about 500 images. That's not a lot.




That’s 4.5 hours so at $250 that’s only like $55 per hour. I was thinking more along the lines of like $100-$150 per hour.
Yep....I missed the travel time, which would push the invoice to $400 - $500. I could shoot 30 acres in about an hour - which includes everything. Actual flight time for a double grid @ 250 AGL and 75/75 overlap is about 21 minutes. What I forgot to count was the actual building and subsequent caching of the mission, which would take < 10 minutes at home the day before - especially if it's a rectangle. Slightly longer for complex polygons. Still, I could have the thing built, shot and delivered in < 4 hours.

D
 
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I roughly charge $100/hour portal to portal with a $250 minimum. 30 acres meets that minimum.





Ahhhhh...I missed the "45 minute" part. $100/hour portal to portal. So 1.5 hours of travel would incur another $150 on the invoice. For a total of $400.





Correct. As I stated, I assume somebody else is setting up and collecting GCP's.





It doesn't take that long to copy images to hard drive and then USB stick...couple minutes tops on USB 3.0. Checking images in the field (exposure and focus), again, takes a few minutes. My client's office is on my way to my mother's house (who I visit almost daily), so I rarely upload images. 30 acres @ 250 AGL 75/75 overlap is about 500 images. That's not a lot.





Yep....I missed the travel time, which would push the invoice to $400 - $500. I could shoot 30 acres in about an hour - which includes everything. Actual flight time for a double grid @ 250 AGL and 75/75 overlap is about 21 minutes. What I forgot to count was the actual building and subsequent caching of the mission, which would take < 10 minutes at home the day before - especially if it's a rectangle. Slightly longer for complex polygons. Still, I could have the thing built, shot and delivered in < 4 hours.

D
Gotcha gotcha I read your post wrong about the GCPs. Ok thanks this is extremely helpful!
 
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I have been doing aerial surveys for my own company using DroneDeploy for some time now so I have some experience but I am just now getting asked by other companies to do surveys and I am not sure what to charge since I have just been doing this for myself so far.

A professional survey company wants me to do a 20-30 acre site and all they want is contour lines they can import into AutoCAD. I know how to do that, just export the file from DroneDeploy so it doesn't take any more work on my part than just gather the images and upload to DroneDeploy. This site is 45 minutes from where I live and I will probably use my Inspire 2 to do the work.

Can anybody give me a clue as to what to charge?

Thanks,
So many variables in this question but here is a general thought:
Having worked in a survey company I can tell you we would have charged $1200 per day to survey with traditional ground station. When I managed the drone department, we had to internally charge that same amount. We set the GCP’s, flew the mission, processed internally with Pix4D, generated and printed countries, etc... I would estimate the drone work saves about 1-2 days of survey work at that rate.
If the area is bare then your data will be fairly accurate. If you need to classify then photogrammetry is much less accurate and sufficient only for basic earth movement and generally speaking you wouldn’t need GCP’s for that.
mid it were me, I’d determine the value of the product to the customer not the value of my time. I would charge much more than suggested above. IMO

good luck. And keep moving forward.
 
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So many variables in this question but here is a general thought:
Having worked in a survey company I can tell you we would have charged $1200 per day to survey with traditional ground station. When I managed the drone department, we had to internally charge that same amount. We set the GCP’s, flew the mission, processed internally with Pix4D, generated and printed countries, etc... I would estimate the drone work saves about 1-2 days of survey work at that rate.
If the area is bare then your data will be fairly accurate. If you need to classify then photogrammetry is much less accurate and sufficient only for basic earth movement and generally speaking you wouldn’t need GCP’s for that.
mid it were me, I’d determine the value of the product to the customer not the value of my time. I would charge much more than suggested above. IMO

good luck. And keep moving forward.
Thanks for your input! Much appreciated.

When you were doing it did you use RTK drones?

When you say “if the area is bare” you mean no trees?
 
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Thanks for your input! Much appreciated.

When you were doing it did you use RTK drones?

When you say “if the area is bare” you mean no trees?
we used an eBee without RTK. I’ve personally used Inspire 2 and Phantoms as well no RTK. I left before they adopted lidar for classification and accuracy purposes. But I’ve worked with lidar.
And yes bare meaning no shrubs or trees or tall grass. You can produce 2’ contours if you have decent overlap. Again there are lots of variables but your customer should clearly lay out their expectations ahead of time.
 
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we used an eBee without RTK. I’ve personally used Inspire 2 and Phantoms as well no RTK. I left before they adopted lidar for classification and accuracy purposes. But I’ve worked with lidar.
And yes bare meaning no shrubs or trees or tall grass. You can produce 2’ contours if you have decent overlap. Again there are lots of variables but your customer should clearly lay out their expectations ahead of time.
Great thanks!
 

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