Why did Drone Deploy increase monthly expense to $500/mon

I just got back from a DroneBase job that requested a roof report and ortho map images.
When I went to log in to Drone Deploy to collect the ortho map images, I saw I needed to renew my subscription… okay, no problem, I can earn that money back with a few jobs this month right?
WOW, okay, it’s $500/mon now???
Just a couple months ago, it was $200, right?
I would have to do at least a dozen jobs to even cover my expenses for software and fuel now, and I simply do not get that kind of work… and that’s JUST for expenses, much less any sort of profit to compensate me for my time and effort.

Does anyone else think this is excessive???
What could have happened at DroneDeploy that made them decide to increase expense by 150%??
Hopefully someone else creates a service that provides what DroneDeploy does, without this enormous expense, I’m sure there are hundreds of small business pilots out there that are going to be put out of work now by this price increase.

What do y’all think?

What plan are you on? Individual is $329/mo and Advanced is $599.

The individual plan, but I use a month by month sub, since I deal with seasonal work (Fall and Spring I do almost entirely weddings).
You only get that $329 if you commit to an entire year ($3,948/yr)

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Gotcha. Pricing and sharing have always been a point of contention with DroneDeploy. It’s not really a fair apples to apples comparison with any other software though so I don’t think their pricing is out of line, just not cost-effective for casual use. If I were you I would buy a perpetual copy of Metashape and be on your way.


I appreciate the advice!!

Hi there, sorry about the unfortunate surprise.

In the membership page, you should still see the “lite” subscription option available, but we have taken it off the main pricing page for new customers.

Out of interest, what would you say would be a fair price on a “per job” pricing model - ie how much would you “pay as you go” per map/model (assuming panos and photos were included) instead of a monthly package?



I see that now, thank you for clarifying.
So y’all are grandfathering in pre-existing accounts with the old prices ($200/mon), while requiring new accounts to pay the $500/mon, do I have that right?

I think a “per job” pricing model would be a great product to offer, but let me tell you why it isn’t currently feasible for small time pilots such as myself.
Most of my survey type work comes from DroneBase contracts, and they have a disadvantageous pricing for their pilots… most my jobs start with an meager offer of $70.
They’re usually around 1-1.5hrs of driving ($20), and have about a 1-2 hour workload.
So without ortho request, that’s $50 before tax,
for 2-4 hours ($25-13/hr),
not great, but it’s fairly easy work that I enjoy for the most part.
Once it dips below $10/hr, it’s not worth the tread off my tires, even if I don’t have any other work available for that day.

So if you took the optimal job, I can knock it out in 2 hours total, it’s only 30 minutes away, and make $25/hr…
the most I would be able to shave off would be $15/hr x 2hrs =$30/job… and then I still earn a bare minimum $20 for my time.

So, what really needs to change in my situation is for DroneBase to up the pay for their pilot contracts if they’re requesting ortho.
Unless they have outrageous business expenses, they are making a thick profit margin themselves, and should be able to afford that.
I wrote them as well and let them know the situation, so we will see if they respond accordingly.

To answer your question, I would think $50 would be a good balanced price per job for your service.
If I got my average 4 jobs/mon, you would still break even w your current monthly plan, but it would give me leeway if I had a slow month.
If I had a busy month and got 8 jobs, y’all make $400.

But again. DroneBase needs to cover that imo. They’re making good money for brokering these contracts while the pilots are making next to nothing.


Love the analysis and agree that the majority of Dronebase work is less than desirable but if you get on the Construction track I’m seeing $150-175 pretty regularly. I’m in Central Texas though so the construction activity may not scale to other places.

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Couple of thoughts concur on the low paying gigs which are not unique to dronebase.
I have jobs request the ortho which I capture and upload where the client can submit for processing on DD or elsewhere, or, they give me access to use their account to submit for processing. If a client is requiring that DD be used (other than for capture) and I cover the cost of processing then that goes into the price of the job. Otoh, if the client just wants an ortho and doesnt want to pay the extra processing cost, then I use webodm / odm which are free. Have also done some simple orthos with MSFT ICE which is also free.

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If guys wouldn’t take the DB jobs until they offered a reasonable fee, then their rates would come up. Go to your mirror and ask yourself why you would work so cheap.

I’m not hammering on you specifically. But how can DB be faulted when guys keep doing their work for pennies? The ONLY reason DB pays so little is because SOMEONE is willing to do it for that price.

Like @MichaelL and @gregatsio mentioned, Metashape and ODM (if you want to fiddle) are the way to go for smaller scale photogrammetry processing.


I learned that early on. If the payout didn’t make sense, decline it and many times it will come back a little higher. Especially in remote areas. In the construction track you’re usually “assigned” to a project… as long as you do a good job. I wish they did survey-grade mapping but most of there stuff is just general analysis and conceptual design.


You’re 100% right, I’m not arguing that at all.
This is a conundrum that played a part in the forming of organized labor unions,
as it’s difficult to affect change as an individual worker.
Sure, I can quit taking the jobs and make $0, while some other guy keeps flying for $20 profit, and DroneBase could care less.

That aside,
when I spoke to a rep for DroneBase, they did say they’re working on developing their own app capable of collecting ortho images, which would alleviate the issue of my OP.

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I’ve always been able to use their Pilot app? Unless you’re talking about DroneDeploy contracted missions. That’s how their workflow is designed. All through one app. I prefer to fly with other software and occasionally do get DD missions but that’s not the norm.

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I am a long trem customer that has been using Drone Deploy individual and pays annually. My renewal come up in December 2022. Will I be able to renew at my old rate of $1,200 annually? I love the service but afraid the price increasee may cause me to look esewhere.


Which, that’s another thing, I’m not sure if you can run DroneDeploy OR DroneBase off the new RC Controller yet,
I can download cracked versions onto the controller (same as what you could do with the old DJI controller), but it tells me that “this app requires Google Play services to run”,
and idk if we’ve found a way around that yet,
I haven’t tried since I first got the controller when it was released.

I’ve got good news for you,
According to this DroneDeploy rep I was speaking to,
He said that pre-existing accounts are grandfathered in with the old prices.
You just have to renew the plan while already signed in (Menu>Preferences>Manage Plan)
NOT through the main site/ Plan Options page.
I went ahead and purchased another month of service and can verify that he is correct.

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Thanks for looking into this for me Mcauliffe. I did go into my account through that way and see that they are still going to increase my annual plan by $600 (additional $50 per month). I was hoping I could keep my old price and plan…I wish I could find somone to tale to with Drone Deploy. I use to have a rep when I was at Enterprise level.

Problem soleved and thank you for your help… :slight_smile:

Best not to advertise illegal flight in a public forum. 1 bird at a time unless of course you have a waiver.

So, you pay for DD just so you can use the flight app? Wow. you are dedicated. It must me working for you, so I guess that’s all that matters.


You can already do ortho missions in Dronebase Pilot.