K: Great, let’s get started. Tell me a bit about your business.

TE: I take videos with drones, and I have taken photos my entire life. The most interesting industry is the construction industry. We do inspections of flat roofs – If we can send a man to the moon, why can’t we make flat roofs leak-proof? I fly the drones over flat buildings with thermography to find leaks in the roofs. We get our training and licensing through FAA to fly drones over certain areas. I fly with one other person, in accordance with FAA regulations, which require a visual observer. We have been in business for 3 years.

K: And who do you serve, really, who is your best customer, we call it target audience?

TE: It depends. Ideally, property managers and building owners. The challenge in this industry is that roofers should be my target audience, but a lot of times they prefer to just replace the entire roof instead of fixing small problems. About 80% of roofing materials taken off roofs are dry, but since roofers aren’t able to see the small areas of damage with a thermography drone, they replace instead of repair.

K: What has been the greatest impact of COVID 19 on your business?

TE: There has basically been no business because school districts don’t know what their funding will be. I’ve done my own research on school buildings where there are leaks all over, but with all the uncertainty on funding and Covid, they don’t know when or how to find budgets to fix the problems.

K: What 1 or 2 actions have you taken to make a difference, how is it working? 

TE: Go fishing! There is so much uncertainty – look at the business closures of downtown Spokane, there is a lack of funding to fix roofs at this time. It’s like pushing a wet noodle, you can’t get very far.

K: Okay, this is an interesting question, it has been said, smart people learn from their mistakes and wise people learn from the mistakes of others. What mistakes did you make along the way and how can other entrepreneurs learn from your experience? 

TE: One example of a major mistake, was that I wanted to go out and buy equipment then find out what to use it for. Instead of finding the market first, and then buying the equipment as needed in order to match that market. Research who’s going to buy your products and whether they will actually buy when the time comes.

K: Perfect, last question, tell me what is most inspiring to you today?

TE: I get excited about learning new things. Curiosity! Things are constantly changing in our world, learning new things and finding new ways to do things. If you keep learning and trying to stay ahead of the curve by watching others, learning from them and take it to the next level. Be curious about new things

OFFER: Mention this interview and we can schedule a consultation on what to look for and what not to look for when you hire someone to fly a drone for you. Also, we can talk about why you should hire your uncle Bob who owns a $500 drone!

Tom Ethen
[email protected]

Western UAS -Thermal Roof Inspections: Save Money & Protect Your Investments.

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