This is a little old, but still worth a read.
Five Skills You Need to Succeed in the Commercial Drone Market - sUAS News
Anybody with 1,000 bucks can do, or at least attempt to, video work with a drone. As pointed out on this board before, the rules of videography still apply if you want good results. But this doesn't stop every Tom, Dick, and Harry from at least trying and offering their services. With Part 107 coming up, I think the number of people selling video/photography will increase the most.
The mapping is definitely a step up in skill. Not skills in flying, but skills in software. Between Tower and Mission Planner, the flying part is fairly easy. Setting ground control points is also fairly easy. I usually rent a Trimble GPS with 1-2 cm accuracy. For mapping (not surveying), I think this is good enough. The fun part is learning the software. I've used Agisoft Photoscan and Global Mapper since day one. I haven't tried the online services. There is definitely a lot to learn with these, but what you can do with them is also pretty neat. Oh, and you need a pretty beefy computer to run this software.
My opinion is that unless you are already doing video/photography work and the UAV aspect will only enhance your work/services, then you really need to be at the mapping/photogrammetry skill level, or higher.
In Amarillo, I'm guessing a majority of your potential Ag clients will have larger (>100 acre) properties they own or lease. A Solo (or any quad) is not very efficient for larger properties. With a 82d FOV camera (MAPIR), you'll get around 28-35 acres per battery flight (65% overlap). How many batteries do you have? A fixed-wing can do 300-500 acres per battery. Warning, be very wary of manufacturer claims on how many acres you can cover in one flight.
I use an Event38 E384
. The one thing I don't like about the E384 is that the camera has to be turned sideways, thus reducing the width of the photo footprint. This leads to narrower spacing between rows and thus, less coverage area per battery.
What camera are you going to use to generate NDVI maps? If you are using a converted camera (Canon, etc.) you will have to fly the same property twice. Once with the a regular RGB camera and again with the converted NIR-GB camera. Anyone who actually knows what NDVI is will not like this approach. You could eliminate the extra flight by flying with a Mapir NDVI camera, or spend bigger bucks and go with a Sequoia (released yet?) or RedEdge camera. If you are truly going to go after the Ag market, you will likely need a dedicated camera like the Sequoia or RedEdge (or ADC) at some point.
Do you have contacts in the farming circles in Amarillo? It shouldn't be hard, but you will need to find someone to let you fly their property for free so you can learn more about flying and collecting the data and then crunching the data. Farmers are usually very word of mouth. Get in good with one and the others may follow.
In my mind, you will have two types of potential Ag clients, either tech savvy (or at least think they are) or old school. You will also have to gauge their knowledge of what you are trying to sell them on (do they know what NDVI is?). Depending on where they are at in these areas will determine how easy it is to sell them on your services. But, the bottom line is money. Other than a pretty map, what EXACTLY are you giving them for their money? Can you take the information you collected and explain how they will save money with the information? The sale is a lot easier if you can tell/show them they will save $10,000 (reduced fertilizer, less watering) by paying you $3,000 for the information (made up numbers for sake of example).
For the same reason I just explained (saving money) on how you might get the Ag work is also the same reason I stated in an earlier post that I think your tech savvy farmers will eventually being doing this work themselves. Considering the amount of money they spend of farming equipment and supplies, the cost of the drone is not that much. Maybe you can make some money until they catch on/up?
These are my thoughts. Anyone else here successful in offering Ag related drone services want to support or counter my example? I would actually love to hear how someone made this offering work. Maybe I'm overlooking something.