By Brian T. Chase
For the most part, the difference between an Aircraft Broker and an Aircraft Acquisition Consultant comes down to priorities. That’s not to say that an aircraft broker doesn't do the things that an aircraft acquisition consultant does, it's just about where their priorities are and their financial motivations.
To dispel any preconceived notions, it should be known that there is ZERO regulation of the aircraft sales industry. There are no Federal Aviation Regulations which apply to it, no internationally recognized set of standards to be adhered to and almost no barriers to entry into this industry. Some of the “best” (defined here as highest grossing) aircraft salesman have little aeronautical knowledge, no formal training and many have no college degree. What they are good at though is “getting deals done.”
Not unlike a real estate broker, an aircraft broker only gets paid when they “get their deal done.” This is by design and it is how it has always been. And sometimes what you need when you encounter adversity during an aircraft purchase, is somebody that can just "get the deal done.”
However, there will also be a time when what you need to do is to walk away from that airplane or that seller. After all, is the person who only makes money if the airplane sells motivated to give you that advice?
We started Chase Aviation Company eleven years ago and found ourselves constantly being put in position of choosing between our own self-interest and the well-being of our clients. We have walked away from hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue that we could have earned had we just done what most every aircraft broker would do; shut up and “get the deal done.”
I’m not sure I should be proud of this but we have literally talked people out of buying an aircraft! Imagine that… Whether they weren’t going to use it enough to justify the real costs, couldn’t make a business case for it or just had downright unrealistic expectations, an aircraft sales company gave advice not to buy an aircraft.
So about six years ago we totally walked away from the "Aircraft Broker" label and set out to do something which much more closely matched the service we provide; advice to aircraft buyers with only their interests in mind. Not the pilot who wants to fly the next best aircraft in his career, not the seller’s broker who knows how to “get a deal done,” not the “buddy” who has a Learjet; the best aircraft for the mission, needs and budget.
We work with many first time aircraft buyers that currently charter, have a jet card, or fractional share but have a business need and as they fly more, see how insanely expensive those options will get. So for a clean slate aircraft acquisition, the first thing we do is assess the mission; what are the current and future requirements, typical passenger loads, frequent airport requirements, range profiles.
We are constrained in this analysis by a budget range that the customer sets and we then present a list of options that fit the criteria. It sounds pretty simple and something that a Google search can provide but all airplanes have “dirty little secrets” that don’t advertise themselves.
As an example: You may like the Pilatus PC-12 (we do too!) but did you know that the *Legacy* version of it cannot currently be enrolled on a charter certificate? It’s information like that that you’ll most likely never get from a Broker that has one for sale. Chances are, they didn’t even know that but if they did, they’d have no obligation to tell you.
Another area to watch out for is the contract used to purchase the aircraft. There’s a hundred different ways to buy an aircraft and there is no such thing as a “standard” or generic contract.
Every one must be appropriately tailored for the category and class of the aircraft, needs of both the buyer and requirements of the seller, and most importantly the conditions of the sale.
All of these questions, and much, much more have to be answered in this contract and the time to discuss them isn’t after you’ve agreed to a purchase price, but before accepting the price. We call this “deal structuring.” Everyone thinks the purchase price is the most important part and I’d argue it’s one of the least. The first time aircraft owners we see have the worst problems are the ones who were simply motivated by that purchase price. But that’s just the cost of ownership on day one
So, what is the difference between an aircraft broker and an aircraft acquisition consultant? In my mind, it boils down to the priority of who we represent. We represent you, the buyer. That’s our number one priority. Not the broker, who wants the biggest commission; not the seller who wants to unload an airplane as quickly as possible; not the manufacturer, who wants the order; not your chief pilot, who wants the next step up on his resume; not your CPA, who wants what looks best on the balance sheet this quarter; not your publicist, who wants the plane that he’ll look the best stepping out of. And most definitely not your brother-in-law, who knows a guy.
So, if you're in the market for a business aircraft or are considering it, put time and experience on your side.
Call us today at: +1-843-628-7406 or Contact Us Here