Joshua Barnett, president and co-founder of Austin, Texas-based Drone Dispatch, returned to Best of Success in Dallas to give an update on the regulations and emerging technology that could make drones among the most revolutionary and disruptive tools ever introduced into the roofing industry.
An expert in the commercial drone space, Barnett said he believes there’s tremendous potential for drones in the roofing industry and he wants to help roofing contractors integrate this technology into their businesses. He started off by reminding attendees that drones have already proven to help roofing contractors save time and money, and reduce risk. Though much of the work over the past five years centered around inspections and marketing, the evolving technology and local and federal regulations have opened the doors to so much more in terms of data collection and overall efficiency.
Barnett broke down the recent advancements in quadcopter and drone camera technology, noting that the drones are becoming more and more functional and autonomous.
“We actually joke around the office that our drone pilots are really glorified drone chauffeurs,” he said. “They drive the drone out there, step out and set it up, it flies the mission, lands itself and they put it in a box and they’re on their way.”
Though commercial roofing contractors have been customers for years, the majority of recent roof-related work is for residential roofing contractors working in the insurance space.
He explained that insurance carriers appreciate working with his company as vendors because there’s very little open to interpretation when it comes to detailed photos of whether roof damage exists, or does not.
He also explored the pros and cons of adding drone operations in-house, versus working with a vendor. Starting drone operations on their own will give roofing contractors complete control and streamlined communications regarding drone flights, he said. However, roofers will also have to do more work to hire and train drone operators, and ensure they have the proper certifications needed to operate in their specific market. They’ll also have to be vigilant about monitoring advances in the technology to maintain a competitive advantage.