Selling or buying aircraft is what we do for a living. But many aircraft owners have never sold an aircraft before and therefore we would like to share five of our best tools or practical tips, that we find essential when selling an aircraft, based on our experience from more than 1500 aircraft transactions.
1. Find the right price
Pricing your aircraft right is essential in the sales process. If your aircraft is priced too high, you risk not attracting any offers at all. Sometimes it can be hard to find an exact match to your aircraft, making it difficult to value the aircraft based on a few other listings. We find that the best way to estimate the correct price for your pre-owned aircraft is through multiple online value assessment tools such as the Aircraft Bluebook, V-ref, JetNet and Amstat. With these tools you can enter all relevant specifications and compare models currently for sale and also compare your aircraft with historic sales prices, making sure your price matches the market value.
2. Good data is a time saver!
Your aircraft is now a product that needs an inspiring product description and some eye-catching images. All maintenance due lists and specifications should also be made readily available for any interested customers. A good idea is to create a product brochure, where the most important specifications are present.
This will make the information seeking process much easier for potential customers and save you time, when answering various questions from these customers. The full maintenance status list is an item that is sent to an interested customer once he/she reaches a more serious stage in their purchase process, and can be sent separately. – Don’t forget to always keep these specifications updated, if your aircraft times are not correct, the first thing your customer will do, is try to reduce the price, even if it has only 20 hours more than listed in the specification.
3. Bringing your aircraft to the market
Once step one and two are done, you are ready to enter the market. The first thing you should do is reach out to your personal network, and explore any potential there, all leads through a relation is a very strong basis for a future business transaction. Next agenda should be placing it for sale on as many online aircraft listings as possible. We use the 5 largest online marketplaces for pre-owned aircraft, and we get different leads from each one of them, therefore our advice is: don’t leave any out.
Also Facebook should not be underestimated as a source to reach potential buyers. I.e. If you are a member of an aviation related group on Facebook, share your aircraft listing simply by linking it from any of the online aircraft listings, and you will reach a target group of likeminded aviation enthusiasts, it is free disbursement of your product, and group interactions have a very high ranking on Facebook feeds, so it will be seen by almost all members of that group.
4. Keeping customers informed
Once your aircraft is on the market the real work begins. make sure you reply to all requests and inquiries in a timely manner, don’t keep your potential customer waiting for crucial information for his/her decision making process, this could keep your aircraft out of the “running up”. This is where your previous preparations will pay off, having a ready to hand product brochure to send to any interested customer and the maintenance specifications if these are requested.
5. Transaction and closing
This is the most complex part of selling an aircraft, firstly we advice that you always use a sales agreement approved by an attorney who is familiar with aviation law, there are specifics that apply only for aviation which do not apply to general transactions. Secondly we advice that you use an Escrow agent for the transaction of funds and ownership of the aircraft. Using a third party like an Escrow agent who is familiar with all needed documents for an aircraft transaction, ensures both seller’s and buyer’s interests when funds and ownership is transferred. After the transaction, a line of administrative tasks will follow, such as the deregistration or possible export of the aircraft which has to be coordinated with the new owners, who can not register the aircraft before Seller has deregistered, therefore it is essential to coordinate these tasks, so it does not delay the final closing or impinge on the new owners flying possibilities.
These above tips are meant as helpful tools and are not to be seen as a complete guide to selling your aircraft.
An aircraft transaction can never be totally standardized because of the many variables in each transaction.
You can find more information on AOPAs website and you are also most welcome to contact us if we can be of assistance with the sale of your aircraft.