As opposed to traditional roof inspections, what is usually done in 4 hours and 3 man teams can now be done in 45 minutes and one drone operator.
Drones are making roof inspections faster and safer. But how much does a drone roof inspection cost in 2022?
The average cost of a drone roof inspection ranges from $150 to $400 nationwide. It can be lower or higher than that range depending on the complexity and size of the roof.
In this article, I’ll go over the cost of drone roof inspections in more detail. I'll also cover some factors that I think are the reason you should consider getting a drone roof inspection instead of a traditional one.
The roof is arguably the most important part of a home. It’s no wonder that “a roof over your head” is a widely used expression.
A roof protects you from the elements, and as such is likely to get damaged during winter storms. The National Roofing Contractors Association advises doing a roof inspection twice a year. Once before the winter, and a second time in the late spring.
Roof inspections can help you spot cues that, if left unchecked, will cause problems to your whole house structure in the future. Problems such as: Missing shingles, drooping and sagging, cracks or granule loss due to the weather conditions.
Other reasons why you might want to get your roof inspected include:
Put simply, roof inspections are crucial. Now that I’ve stressed that point, let’s look at the cost of drone roof inspections as opposed to getting your roof checked the traditional way.
We know that in the U.S, the price of roof inspections ranges from $100 to $600, anything more than that is considered high-end and is usually relying on drones and infrared technology for 3D mapping the roof.
But that’s a general look. To get a more detailed view that’ll allow us to compare drone roof inspections with traditional ones, we’re going to have to dive deeper.
According to a study done by Fixr, the price ranges for the different types of inspections are as follows:
|Traditional (physical)||$75 - $250|
|Drone inspection||$150 - $400|
|Infrared inspection (drone)||$400 - $650|
Data pulled from a study done by Fixr
Another study done by Thumbtack (basically Uber for handymen) shows similar results. Which means we can safely assume that this is accurate.
Physical inspections are the most common type and they cost an average of $75 - $200 depending on the complexity of it. They’re usually done by a certified inspector.
Drone roof inspections are, as the name suggests, done by drones. You might have noticed that they cost more than traditional types (an average of $150 - $400) and that’s for good reason.
Drones capture far more information on your roof and give the inspector a better idea of your roof’s state.
Last is infrared drone roof inspections. Nationally, the average cost for these is $400 - $650. Technically they fall under the umbrella of “drone roof inspections”, but since it costs more I’ll quickly go over it.
Most inspections concentrate only on the visible problems while infrared inspections use thermal imaging to spot leaks or weaknesses. Hence the added price.
Alright, time to go even deeper. You might’ve noticed that drone roof inspections cost more than normal ones. But that’s only on average, most times you can get a drone inspection for the same price as a traditional one.
That said, what actually influences the cost of drone roof inspections?
There are 5 factors that I compiled and that I think are the main influencers of pricing:
While most roof inspectors add a surcharge for an especially large roof, others will just charge by the square foot of roof area.
For example, on the low end a 1,000 sq.ft. flat roof will cost $75 while a 3,000 sq.ft one will cost $350. These rates are hardly fixed however, it often depends on the contractor you’re employing for the inspection.
Yes, roofing material plays a big role in pricing. You may actually pay more if your roof is made of “uncommon” material like wood shingles or barrel tiles.
In fact, a drone roof inspection for a slate tile roof costs almost 4 times more than for an asphalt roof.
Not much of a problem if you’re getting a drone roof inspection. But it’s pretty common for roof inspectors to increase their price if the roof is steep or dangerous. Drones solve that problem by making the inspection fully remote.
For drone roof inspections, climate is a big deal. If the climate conditions aren’t favorable (wind, rain, etc…) the roof inspector might charge you more because of the potential damage to their drone.
There are also drones that are more suited to unfavorable climates, but those are expensive and will naturally cause the inspector to charge you more.
A good rule of thumb is to schedule your roof inspections on sunny days and cancel if you think there is a chance of rain or wind.
Let’s say you’re selling or refinancing your home. Or you just need something to give to insurance, a roof certification is often used for those reasons.
Oftentimes if you require a certification after the inspection you’ll have to add an extra $75 - $200 on top of the inspection fee.
I know you were expecting to hear otherwise, especially after seeing how drone roof inspections are priced higher than traditional roof inspections (on average). But by the end of this, you’ll see why drones are a better option.
What makes drones ideal for roof inspections is the sheer amount of information they can give you on your roof’s state, and the speed at which they do.
Below are some reasons that I compiled and that I think will make you see their advantage.
More than 300 people die each year in the U.S from ladders. And 150k emergency cases annually are caused by ladders.
The fact that inspectors (or even yourself) can pilot a drone dozens of feet away from the roof, and gain all the information they need (even more than they need) makes drone roof inspections a far more appealing option than their manual counterpart.
This draws back again on the efficiency of drones. Some roofs are either too inaccessible, or too daunting for an inspector to perform a manual inspection.
Drones get rid of that obstacle and make roof inspections as easy as piloting a drone.
I mean, can you really picture yourself on top of a fourth-storey steep roof, holding a camera…?
Did you know that on average, a typical roof inspection takes up to 5 hours? And that’s usually with more than just one person doing the inspection.
Studies show that roof inspections done by drones are 5 times faster than traditional ones. A usual drone roof inspection is usually finished in an hour or less.
A manual roof inspection needs planning. It needs ropes, tape, ladders and a lot of other tools the inspector might need.
More often than not, that means having to help the inspector out of politeness, holding the ladder for him, keeping an eye on something, etc…
And if that doesn’t fall unto you, then that means he has a helper and that just means extra costs for you… Drones completely bypass all this hassle.
While for large roofs a drone pilot may bring a VO (visual observer) with him for line of sight, the cost of that is still low compared to 3 inspectors working 4 continuous hours.
After everything we covered in this article, you’re probably already starting to see the benefit of drone-based roof inspections.
But perhaps you’re skeptical. Perhaps all of this begged the question “But can a drone accurately inspect a roof?”...
Using 3D mapping, a drone can inspect roofs even better than manual roof inspections. Infrared technology can expose problems that aren’t visible to the human eye, preventing disasters in the process.
Adding infrared sensors to drones can help the inspector detect leaks, insulation breakdowns and various other roof defects… And all of this is done almost instantly.
There is software that takes care of the 3D mapping and simple-to-read reports get generated in minutes after the drone flight is over.
This video is a perfect example of such software in use:
Maybe you’re a drone owner and all of this made you want to start inspecting roofs as a side gig.
Pricing your roof inspection services will depend on you, but I can give you some pointers that will act like guidelines.
Depending on the client’s location, you might want to add a surcharge of travel expenses.
Most drone pilots have a radius where they don’t charge travel expenses, but once past that radius they add a fee.
Are you experienced as a roof inspector? Do you have other skills that might help in the project?
Charge according to your skill level.
Perhaps the biggest factor for your pricing is this. If you’re not an experienced roof inspector and you don’t know what you’re looking for, chances are you’re going to need software to analyze the raw footage.
Software like that makes things really easy but also costs money. Roof reports from DroneDeploy for example cost from $25 to $100, depending on the complexity and surface area of the roof.
If you’d like a more detailed guide on how to price your drone services, I already went in-depth on the subject in my previous article.
There is no way to replace an actual trained professional’s skills and expertise.
Pulling the ladder out from your garage and trying to do the roof inspection yourself is not only wrong since you don’t know what you’re looking for, but also dangerous. So many things could go wrong when you’re 30 ft off the ground…
Using drones is a far better alternative. And if you already have a drone and want to do it yourself, there is always software that can help you analyze the date, automatically.
Though a trained professional will always be a better option.