Can A Drone Design A Better Pool?
Perhaps not just yet, but according to today’s guest, they definitely speed up the process and save a lot of time and money. Jim Wolfe is a pool designer from Chesterfield, Missouri. His company, Azpoolz, is a premium pool and spa design concept studio. He designs hundreds of pools every year. In 2017, Jim began using a drone to streamline the process of creating 3D models of his pool designs. By contracting with on-line drone pilot platforms, like droners.io and upsonder.com, Jim was able to extend in drone design services nationwide. In this episode of he Drone Radio Show, Jim talks about how he uses a drone to streamline his design services and how he was able to leverage drone service companies to expand his business throughout the country.
In This Episode
- Introduction. Jim has been in a graphics designer for more than 25 years. He started designing pools several years ago when a neighbor in Chandler, Arizona, a pool salesman, asked for some help in designing a pool. Jim quickly learned that many pool sales people also design the pools they are selling. Most sales people struggle with design, so Jim saw an opportunity to leverage his design skills to support pool sales people and build a successful pool design business. Jim designs hundreds of pools each year for clients all across the country.
- Drones and Pools. Jim describes himself as a tech nerd, so it didn’t take him long to figure out how to use a drone to take images of a pool site and create 3D models. He uses a DJI Mavik, Pix4D software to collect the data and Pool Studio (VIP 3D) to convert the data into a working 3D model of the exiting site. Prior to using drones, Jim had to use Google Earth or have clients take images of their backyards. He had to construct the elements himself to produce the base map. This was time consuming. Using drones, he can compile the existing site data in a single 10-15 minute flight. Prior to using drones, someone had to go out and physically measure the site, take out tape measures or use a measuring wheel to walk the property.
- Using 3rd Party Drone Services Companies. Thanks to on-line drone services companies like Droners.io and UpSonder.com, Jim has been able to find an efficient and professional way to serve clients located outside of his local area. The process of collecting aerial data for site design is pretty simple and most experienced drone pilots have mastered that skill. Jim talks about the benefits of having a ready database of Part 107 certified and insured drone pilots that he can contact with a job whenever he needs the services.
- Lessons Learned. Jim talks about lessons that he’s learned starting a drone based business, such as vetting clients properly, as he’s been burned by a couple of clients. A lesson that all new drone operators and business people need to learn.
- Challenges. Jim hopes to build long-term relationships with qualified fine drone pilots in his markets that he serves. People that can do the job professionally, accurately and quickly. In the design business, the most important factor is that time is money. Pool design projects are typically small projects, so operators have to be committed to completing the work quickly.
- Recognition. Jim shares a few articles recognizing his use of drones to design pools. These include:
- Advice to Other Design Professionals. Jim observes that drone technology can be used by a wide variety of design professionals, like landscape architects, landscape design companies, home builders, home remodelers, etc – anyone that can take advantage of 3D modeling. Designers would be able to take advantage of the same time and cost savings that Jim has experienced. And those industries would be able to easily adapt the use of 3rd party drone service companies, like UpSonder.com to do the data compilation. Designers don’t have to be drone operators to reap the benefits.
- Closing. Jim comments on how drone technology and 3D mapping techniques have opened new opportunities for small businesses. It’s really an interesting world that blends hobbyists with actual real world applications.