UAV SFOC Myth: I won’t charge for the aerials only editing to avoid the regulations.
One way that many try to work around the need for an SFOC, and thus avoid the associated regulations, is to not charge for the aerial work but instead charge the client for editing or other indirect services. This loophole however is closed. An operation is still considered “commercial” even when there is no direct payment for the aerial services themselves.
The Aeronautics Act defines hire and reward as
(a) “any payment, consideration, gratuity or benefit, directly or indirectly charged, demanded, received or collected by any person for the use of an aircraft”.
This also includes use on your own property, so a farmer inspecting his fields or animals, management company using it on site of their own building, real estate agents on listings they manage all are considered commercial use. Even search & rescue and volunteer/charity work falls into this category. Again if its not purely for fun then it is seen as commercial and thus requires an SFOC or Exemption.