Deferred payment for AP jobs? - RC Groups
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May 09, 2007, 11:56 AM
Registered User

Deferred payment for AP jobs?

Hi all,

I have been a casual commercial AP service provider for a couple of years. I had an ongoing contract with a Construction Contractor to provide monthly progress photos of one of their building projects. I have continued to provide them with monthly pictures with the understanding that I am not able to charge for the service at this time. The company representative I deal with for financial matters has informally agreed to accept an invoice for all services when it becomes legal.

Since I am not currently charging for the pictures I deliver, I don't think I'm violating the FAA regulation. Since I am hoping to bill at a later date, do you think that is a violation?

What are people's thoughts about providing service for new projects with a deferred payment contract?

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May 09, 2007, 01:39 PM
Pull out early!
DiveBombDave's Avatar

I hate to sound like "them," but I'd imagine a deferred payment agreement (whether vocal or written) is the same thing as getting paid up today. The debt would be considered accounts receivable for work performed (I own my own business outside of AP).

Maybe if the verbal was to allow you to fly on the property and take photos for your own personal use, and then later the law changes and you sell your stash, that would probably be OK. But a verbal for payment later is a business deal.

May 09, 2007, 03:10 PM
Not THAT Ira
Real Ira's Avatar
Based on conversations I've had with the FAA I would have to agree with Dave.

The only way I think you may be able to keep your clients happy is to enjoy your hobby of RC/AP and if you get any images they may be interested in while doing so, provide them as a gift free of compensation of any kind. (please keep in mind I'm no lawyer)
It sucks but that's where we are right now.

I've been doing this just to make sure all my clients know what they will be missing if this turns into a long term problem.
May 09, 2007, 08:36 PM
Registered User
Griffo's Avatar
What's the problem with providing the aerial shots for free and officially charging them for a couple of additional ground shots? Your clients would never even have to use the ground shots. This way you are not "officially" making money from RC aerial photography.
May 09, 2007, 09:01 PM
All posts Copyright '07

Accounting methodology?

Is your business cash-basis or accrual? If you are cash-basis, then you technically don't have a sale until you receive the cash. The IRS is clear on this point. This seems to warrant more research - I'll have a look...
May 09, 2007, 10:06 PM
Professor of Wood
kd7ost's Avatar
It's a little deeper than just trying to differentiate between selling or not selling the photo's you talked of.

Pull up this document. It's the current, but not the end of the trail, statement by the FAA. Go to the second page and look at the center column and read right after "Policy Statement" at the top of that column.

Basically what that means is that you can only take pictures, purely for hobby, and use AC 91-57. In a civil application like most of us want to do, and your example above outlines, you would need a "Special Airworthiness Certificate". It doesn't matter that the picture is sold or just given to the contractor out right with no hopes of compensation. Simply because the task doesn't fit under Hobby operations.

This has been the source of some of my recent grumblings on another thread about the BLM not being able to take pictures of a reclamation project. Even if no one is hired to take the pictures. But because it is a professional RCAP application and the FAA calls that a UAS. If the contractor wants pictures documenting the progress of a build, that's a professional application and would require the Special Airworthiness Certificate.

May 09, 2007, 10:26 PM
↓↘→ + (punch)
theKM's Avatar
what happens if you sell them a really expensive photo frame that just happens to have a picture they want in the middle of it?... similarly... what happens if you sell them a partially blank CD with room to spare (so they could actually use the CD for something else) that just happens to have a few pics of the job site taking up some of it?... sell them a photo album that accidentally has some pics of their job site in it?...

put on the invoice "$600 photo album"
May 09, 2007, 10:59 PM
Registered User

I think you're right on with your assesment of this one. I guess that means that the Aerial Photography package that I donated to the local Red Cross silent auction would actually be against FAA policy (something seems wrong with that).

May 09, 2007, 11:04 PM
Professor of Wood
kd7ost's Avatar
I agree.

It sounds like something like you just did would be overlooked though. It's for a good cause and it wouldn't look good for the FAA to shut down charity work. That's just over the top too much.

Good for you.

May 09, 2007, 11:05 PM
Not THAT Ira
Real Ira's Avatar
Proudly showing off the photos obtained while enjoying your art and hobby of RC/AP MAY be workable if you make them available to ANYONE who would like to see them.
This is getting very gray, but then so is a lot of this fiasco.

May 09, 2007, 11:18 PM
Old Timer
California Condor's Avatar
I'm still not sure if I should enter that contest?
May 09, 2007, 11:49 PM
Professor of Wood
kd7ost's Avatar
Boy, I don't know CC,

It sounds like it's just a fun thing with a prize involved. I think that would be way under the commercial applications rating. I think you should do it and let us know how it comes out. We're not going to stop the hobby flying. Heck, we're going to be posting on the new Science, History and Exploration forum in a couple of weeks or so if we keep getting Yes votes. People could argue that we're doing commercial applications if we're not doing Hobby applications. I think we need to make a stand with our fun, volunteer, donation, contest area's etc.

May 09, 2007, 11:57 PM
1Corinthians 13:1-8
DWA's Avatar
Hi Dan
I am taking pictures of my church construction projects and providing them all the images for free. I also post the pictures on this forum so it is a hobby and volunteer work. So I guess from what you said this is illegal but the FAA would not go after me. Is this correct?

May 10, 2007, 12:25 AM
Professor of Wood
kd7ost's Avatar
Hi Dave,

I need to make it clear that I am no authority on this. I'm not going to try to be the barracks lawyer so to speak.

But if it was up to me, it sounds like what you're doing does not meet the criteria of Commercial operations. It doesn't sound like you're providing the pictures to the contactor for sales promotion but to the church and congregation as a new and interesting angle on the work being done to expand the church. It sounds to me like you're doing a Christian thing and simply introducing the congregation to your hobby and the joy it can provide. I would back what you're doing on any day as above board with no intent to profit, or help someone else profit.

Sounds like a wonderful hobby application to me. I wouldn’t stop doing what you’re doing. I don’t think anyone would see an issue with that.

May 10, 2007, 12:59 AM
RCAPA #005
MGBGTRacer's Avatar
If your hobby truly is taking pictures of construction with your RC plane, then so be it. All the scams like selling a frame that 'so happens' to have a pic in it are ridiculous- it wouldn't fool anyone and just make you look stupid as you write the check to the court.
Although it might now become a hobby to photograph construction sites, you may want to 'collect' a couple other sites too for your newfound interest.

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