333 Exemption Americas

Drone business picking speed with a startup in Modesto


Bianca Graulau,

The commercial drone industry is taking off, and Drone for Hire founder Thomas Davis wants to use the technology to help business owners, like farmers, work more efficiently.

“It allows farmers to survey large area of land in a very small amount of time,” Davis said.

Walking the field to examine the soil could take several days. Davis can capture the images he needs within hours.

“So, it gives them a first good visual of what they’re working with, if there are operational issue such as irrigation,” Davis said. “Perhaps there’s a disease in the crop.”

Davis said drones can also help the real estate and recreational industries. For example, golf courses can use an aerial video tour for advertising. Plus, the video can let owners know whether their sprinkler system is working properly.

“A lot of people don’t realize that it’s more than just going up and taking a picture,” Davis said. “That picture has to be handled, there’s an operation to keep the aircraft in the air and well-maintained,”

Davis developed Drone for Hire with his wife Mahndisa Rigmaiden. She passed last year. Now Davis, a single father, works with his brothers-in-law in hopes to grow the business.

“I’m trying to find enough pilots to fulfill the growing need.”

Drone for Hire’s rates are $7 an acre for farmers. For real estate, Davis offers a package that starts at about $350. His clientele is still in the single digits, but Davis said Drone for Hire is a dream in the making.


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