How can the Property Industry adopt the use of Drones effectively

Key Considerations for Estate Agents when using Drones for Aerial Property Marketing.

Planning on using drones for advertisements in 2017? You may have read our previous post on “6 reasons why Estate Agents should use Drones for Property Marketing in 2017”, but the property industry still has many unanswered questions around how to effectively adopt the use of drones (UAV’s). PWC reported in 2016 that the global Drone industry will near a total value of $122billion by 2020 with numerous industries already reaping the rewards of this growing technology. Here we will discuss key considerations for Estate Agents who are already using them in the property space and how to start building this ground-breaking technology into current business practise.

Cyclops UAV are specialist providers of Drone Services to the Property Sector with a key focus on Aerial Photography for Estate Agents, Aerial Property Marketing and Asset Management. We are CAA qualified, IOSH safety passport holders and members of the association of remotely piloted aircraft systems (ARPAS-UK).

#Service Delivery

Aerial property marketing with drones should be a quick and painless process, typically taking less than 24/48 hours for deployment – depending on external factors such as weather conditions and location planning considerations. This is incomparable to timely manned aviation, sometimes taking 7 days or more. Drones are also more capable of capturing far superior quality images than the use of camera poles.  We always aim to get footage to our clients on the same day or at worst the next morning, this includes post processing times for editing. The quicker imagery is delivered the sooner your property can be advertised; resulting in a finely tuned valuable service offering for all parties involved.

What about receiving the imagery after the work is complete? Always carefully consider by what method you will obtain the final footage. This can influence the efficiency of advertisements, productivity, product quality, security, data accessibility and customer relationships. Typical procedures include; emailing files, external storage sources, cloud sharing and specialist software.  Cloud integration can even enable the sharing of data directly with advertising agencies, marketing teams and printing companies, saving you time and money in the process. Investing in a service that leverages technology and innovative sharing workflows will guarantee you spend more time dealing with clients rather than unzipping files, downloading, organising and storing volumes of property video or photography.

#Process Integration

Commercial drone operations are complex although when used effectively they can add real value to businesses of all sizes, there is no limit to the quality of data that can be collected. Understanding how drones can assist with achieving organisational goals is the first step in this process, encouraging innovation and change will certainly help along the way.

Educate your business –  do the research, analyse competitors and speak with industry professionals. Drones are frequently in the media these days and mostly for the wrong reasons, understanding the challenges, key benefits and where exactly they will add value for customers will support with educating colleagues, making supplier decisions and implementing long-term service integration.

Understand exactly what you need to achieve – Identify specifically what your business would like to achieve with drones and discuss the various options before acting. Link these discussions to your overall marketing and customer engagement strategy to generate a clear plan that will build brand awareness through your drone advertisements. Do you need aerial video for social media marketing, photography for printed materials, vertical shots for identifying a properties radius or 360 panoramic video for landscape views? Adopting this technology appropriately will not only increase sales but engage current and future customers with your brand both online & offline.

Pricing & Payment Structure – Prices vary depending on equipment, qualifications, location and experience however typical rates can start anywhere in the region of £250+VAT for professional operator hire.  Structuring payment terms can sometimes prove difficult for agents as operators will often need payment before the property sells. Flexible solutions for both parties are desired; especially when quality of service and time limitations are major deciding factors. Choose a supplier that is happy to work around your financial business requirements although if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Cyclops UAV offer two different service options for agents – one is charged directly to the client (owner of the property) with commission payable to the agent and the other through the agent as an intermediately. Contact us for further details on our aerial property marketing for estate agents.

#Securing Copyright Ownership

Dealing with professional photographers is certainly nothing new for Estate Agents, however drone providers may well want to keep ownership of rights for images, especially if they could hold any real future value (more likely for high value commercial property marketing or filming purposes). If you have specific uses in mind, you should ensure these are thoroughly discussed before contracts are settled in the first place. You could also agree that the copyright will be assigned to you – this would be done by having a written and signed contract with the company saying you had bought the copyright from them. Following this process will ensure you can fully utilise your footage across all advertising channels without any future authorisation from the supplier.


The legal considerations around the use of drones for commercial purposes is hot topic for the government and various industries as the technology continues to grow into 2017, and it’s probably a little more complex than most would expect. Below I will briefly explain the key areas Estate Agents must consider when using drones or hiring professional operators in the UK.

The operator must have prior permission granted from the CAA to conduct Aerial work for commercial purposes, also known in the industry as ‘permission for commercial operations’ or PFCO.
Providers must hold specialist drone insurance to work commercially, this is not possible without the above permissions.
Drones must not be flown any higher than 400ft to avoid manned aircraft above.
Drones should always be operated within the ‘visual line of sight’ of the pilot (if it can’t be clearly seen by the operator it’s most likely illegal).
There are specific regulations around how close drones can be flown to congested areas, crowds of people and buildings without prior permission. Double check its legal when you speak with your professional provider, some operators may have special exemptions from the CAA.
Legal responsibility always lies with the commercial operator.
Businesses caught using drones without the correct commercial permissions in place, insurance and supporting paperwork could be prosecuted by the CAA. Fines can be around £5,000.

If your business is in discussions with a drone provider always check their paperwork and insurance documentation prior to commissioning. All qualified operators will have an identity card, official certificate and CAA identification number. Should you be unsure check directly with the CAA to be safe.


#Drones in the Property Industry

Key industry developments include property marketing, emergency services, insurance, construction, asset management, security, logistics and agriculture. If there is ever a better time to try out the technology, it’s now?
Hundreds of independent and well recognised chains of Estate Agents/Surveyors across the UK are already using drones for aerial property marketing, some offer aerial photography as a standard service for customers. Commercial agents and property investment firms are also quickly catching on, many now replacing the reoccurring expensive cost of manned aviation for local area views with the more cost effective, efficient and added close-up benefits of drone photography. It’s becoming apparent that 2017 could well be the year that aerial perspectives become an ordinary customer expectation within the property sector.

Written by Jack Dixon – Director and commercial drone pilot at CyclopsUAV.

If you would like more information on Drone Services to the Property Sector, Aerial photography for Estate Agents or Aerial Property Marketing please visit our website, email Richard at or alternatively call 07778617882. We also offer free demonstrations for commercial clients.

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