A company named Skycatch wants to be your on-demand drone service. Instead of buying your own (likely expensive) drone and learning how to pilot it, NBC details the San Francisco-based startup’s desire for you to try a new program they’ve named “Workmode”.
“If we didn’t have Workmode, we would have to buy our own drone, train our own pilot and potentially carry a little bit more liability insurance,” said Kevin Soohoo, chief information officer for Air Systems, a commercial heating and cooling installation company. “I don’t want to have a rookie flying a drone.”
Skycatch connected Soohoo with drone pilot Tom Waclo, who uses his drone to monitor rooftop work for between $400 and $1,000 a flight. Being a hired gun has become Waclo’s full-time job. “It’s still a very new industry. There’s not that many people who even realize what the capabilities are,” he said. “It’s been great to have (Skycatch) help me find work.”
Flying a drone isn’t easy. The less-expensive ones typically rely on a fiddly connection to your smartphone, and more expensive drones usually have controls that would confound the layperson.
The FAA is still figuring out what they want to do about drones. It’s unlikely they’d block commercial use — which is what Workmode offers — but consumer use may take a hit. Even if a small business owner wanted to use drones for work-related purposes, getting FAA approval may prove time consuming and costly.
NBC’s report also notes Skycatch now has FAA approval to operate drones for construction and agriculture purposes. Drones-for-hire may not be a niche service; it could be the dawn of an industry.