In the past few months, hundreds of entrepreneurs and small business owners have reached out to us for advice on marketing their drone services. In fact, more than a third of drone entrepreneurs have told us that marketing is their biggest business challenge. 

Based on their feedback our marketing director, Erin Olsen, wrote an article offering marketing tips and best practices, and it quickly became our most-viewed article of all time.

We also began asking some our most active clients—including LIFT Technologies, Talon Aerolytics, and SkySkopes—how they obtain clients. Across the board, the answer is clear: Customers want to see proof of insurance, work samples, and flight hours, the number-one benchmark of experience and professionalism.

Introducing Skyward flight badges, for individuals and organizations

We realized that it should be easy for our customers to share their expertise with the wider world. So we created two badges that Skyward users can embed on their websites and share with the world.

The personal badge aggregates all of the flight hours an individual pilot logs in Skyward across every organization they fly for, including historical flight hours. This is great for freelancers or contractors who may be a member of several different organizations. This badge is available to everyone with a Skyward Basic subscription (it’s free).

The organizational badge aggregates the flight hours logged by every pilot within a particular organization, including historical flight hours. If a pilot is a member of multiple organizations, the organizational badge only shows hours logged for that specific organization. This badge is available to any business with a paid Skyward subscription.

Sharing your flight hours is easy

  1. Make sure to enter your historical (pre-Skyward) flight hours in your Skyward account. If you have a Basic subscription, you’ll enter your own hours. If you run a business with multiple pilots, as well as a paid Skyward subscription, add each pilot’s historical flight hours to their individual pilot pages.
  2. Every time you fly, make sure you log your flights in Skyward. Note: This is about much more than keeping your badge up-to-date! Flight logs are essential for regulatory compliance and managing your business effectively.
  3. Look at your dashboard. You’ll see a handy Skyward badge. Give it a click, and you’ll see the code for embedding it onto your own website. You have a choice between a “dark” badge or a “light” badge—experiment with which looks better on your website.

Why drone flight hours matter to prospective clients

Your flight hours, whether as an organization or an individual, tell prospective clients whether you have in-depth experience or if you’re still in the early stages of becoming a professional.

Last week, Andrew Dennison, COO of Uplift Data Partners, told us that he looks closely at flight hours when he vets pilots for LIFT’s nationwide network of drone operators.

“We look for at least 50 hours of manned flight time and 30 hours of unmanned flight time,” he said. “These aren’t the cheapest pilots, but they’re safest because they know how to communicate within our national airspace.”

Logged flight hours not only show that you’re experienced, they also show prospective clients that you pay attention to detail and that you take regulatory requirements seriously. For most companies in most industries, these are a big deal. Drone service providers who aren’t detail oriented or who don’t care about regulations present too much of a risk for most of the companies and organizations hiring drone pilots today.

Whether you already have hundreds of flight hours or you’re just starting out, posting a flight hours badge to your website will show prospective customers and business partners that you run a transparent business, operate professionally, and have good systems in place.