Monday, September 26, 2016

Gathering the Proper Information When Buying or Selling a Jet or Turboprop. Step 8 of 9.

Putting Together the Right Information for a Sale or Purchase of Your Plane. 

Hello, Jake Huling here with Aircraft Sales Advisor. I’d like to welcome you to the eighth video report in this series called, 9 Steps to a Successful Sale or Purchase of Your Plane.

And why yes, my beard is fuller, thank you for noticing. You might also notice this lovely white board we have here in the back ground. I have some friends in the film industry who suggested this so it would easier to keep track of the different topics we’re covering. So together you and I will see if I can figure out the best way to use this white board the way they suggested.

In the last report we looked at the used aircraft market and I showed you three important pieces of information that you have to know in order to determine the accurate value of your current plane, and to find out what your next plane should really cost.

In today’s report were going to cover the information you’ll need to gather together and have ready for the sale of your current plane. It’s also the same the information you should be asking for when you’re looking at a potential plane to purchase. That’s a lot of p’s.

So let’s talk information. Specifically, the information you’ll need to have in order to answer all of the
questions a potential buyer may have for you about your plane. And again, it’s the same information you should also be asking for when you’re building the list of potential planes you’re thinking of buying.

And consequently, this is also part of the same information you’ll need to have in order to get a proper estimate on the value of your current plane, or the ones you’re looking at buying. But wait, there’s still more! You’ll also use this same information to create your marketing materials, including a professional spec sheet for your plane, which you really should have. So this is very important and valuable information that you’ll need to have gathered together.

The truth is, when you’re selling, you may only get one chance to impress a potential buyer when they call you about your plane. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called owners about a plane that we are seriously looking at for a client, only to have them tell me they don’t have the answers to even basic questions, and sometimes they don’t even know how to get the answers. Not only do you need to have those answers ready, you need to make sure that whoever’s number you put on the listing is actually ready to both answer the questions potential buyers have and the phone when it rings because that’s another problem.

You should also have some follow up information ready to send out about your plane, including a professional spec sheet, so it stands out from all your competition. And, if you’re still not sure exactly what a professional spec sheet should look like after watching this video report, or you just don’t want to mess around making one or have the time, don’t just pass on putting one together; let me know by phone or email so we can help you build one.

Now, if you’re buying you should be able to ask for a spec sheet like this as well as a maintenance summary report from the owner or broker who is representing the plane. And don’t let them try and get away with saying something like, “oh it just went through annual so everything is fine.” Well what does that mean? What did you do in those annuals and why won’t you send me a maintenance report with those details? 

Alright, so what information should you have on a spec sheet that you can send out to a potential buyer, and what should you get when asking for one?

Let’s start with the basic maintenance information you’ll need. If you have your plane on any computerized maintenance tracking program, make sure it’s up to date first, and then get that report. A potential buyer is going to want to see an up to date maintenance summary if they get serious about buying your plane, and most of the information needed for this section of the spec sheet should be available in that report. If you don’t have your plane on a maintenance tracking program, you’ll need to gather that specific information about your plane manually. I know, it’s a pain, but you will need it and your pilot or maintenance shop should be able to help you gather that information. Here is what you’ll need:

  •       Total Time on Airframe
  •       Number of landings
  •       Total Time on Engines and total time since overhaul, for both left and right side if it’s a multi-engine plane, and what type of engines you have, are they stock or upgraded, for example.
  •       How many cycles on each engine
  •       Prop times if you have props, again for both left and right side. Also what type of props you have, are they stock or upgraded and if so who the manufacture is.
  •       Hourly Items, what’s due, what’s coming due, and what was last completed and when.
  •       Phase inspections, same thing, what’s due, what’s coming due, and when they were last completed.
  •       And Yearly items. What’s due and when, and what you last completed and when.

It’s also helpful to list where you had the work completed. Potential buyers will often want to know what shop performed the work. And a little tip here about where you have your work done: be careful about that because it can turn a potential buyer off if they think you had work done at a questionable shop to try and save money.

And again, this is the same list of things we want to know when we’re buying a plane: what’s due, what’s coming due, what was last completed, and when and where was it completed at.

Next let’s cover equipment.

Avionics to start with. Make sure you get a complete list of all stock, optional, and upgraded avionics. And another tip about avionics when selling: I know you may have paid a lot for your upgraded avionics, but when it comes to resale you are not going to get that back. However, it’s important to remember there are two types of value in a plane, monetary and desirability, and both are valuable. If it makes your plane more desirable than the competition who doesn’t have that piece of equipment, then you get a sale and they don’t.
Any Additional Equipment, and I usually use a King Air for additional equipment examples because they have so many upgrades. So things like Wing Lockers, Dual Aft Strakes, Ram Air Recovery, Winglets, quiet cabin package, etc. It’s basically whatever’s been installed on your plane that did not come stock when it was new. Also good things to ask about when looking at planes to buy.

Ok, now let’s go over the cosmetics. And remember, you need to be accurate on this part. Many times as owners it’s very easy to rate our plane little higher cosmetically than they actually are. I often see the 1-10 scale rating higher than it really should be, on both the paint and interior. And that can be quite damaging in the sales process. Often by the time a potential buyer sees a plane in person, your already well into the negations. And if the cosmetics are not what you advertised that can unfortunately can cause two things to happen. One, it makes it seem like you’re possibly misrepresenting your plane, and it can start to raise concerns that maybe you’re also misrepresenting other areas of your plane. And two, it gives the buyer even more ammo when talking you down on price. Because believe me, if I’m buying a plane for a client I will use that to negotiate the price.

So here is how you should write up the cosmetic description of your plane and what to include:

  •             On Interior Details. You are going to want a description of your plane’s layout, including anything extra or optional. Do you have jump seats for the rear, or a couch configuration in the front. What type of materials and color are the seats and upholstery, what kind of wood you have installed, when they were all last updated, and as close as you safely can, their accurate condition.
  •             Exterior. A description of the plane’s paint style, colors, when it was last painted, if you’ve done any touch up or restoration work, and again its accurate condition. And it’s better to be a little low here than a little high. It’s always a nice, but sometimes rare, surprise when you show up and see that a plane has been accurately rated, and it helps builds confidence that the other information you are giving or getting is all accurate.
  •             Next is pictures, and of course you’ll need these for both the interior and exterior. This is an important part because it’s your chance to show off your plane and help it stand out from all the others. If you don’t get good pictures your plane can just blend in with all the rest out there, or worse it can even misrepresents the actual condition of your plane, and cause buyers to pass it by and look at other ones.

Also, this is an area that can be very difficult for most people because they’re not professional photographers. It’s hard to know what type of pictures to take, what angle, what time of day, what background, and what lens to use for what picture.

So if you’re not sure about this area and how to get a good picture, you are not alone, but don’t just guess. Find a photographer who shoots aviation, and if you’re good at taking pictures and just need some tips, send us an email. I have a very simple, and free, guide to aviation photography that we put together specifically designed for pictures to use both on your spec sheet and the ones you are going to send a potential buyer. I even have some side by side examples of good and bad shots so you can see the difference and a description of why each shot is good or bad. 

Now of course it’s not going to be on the same level as a professional aviation photographer but if you are going to take pictures yourself, it will help you take much better shots than if you’re just guessing. So again, let us know if you’d like to see that report.

And the last part is putting together the information with your pictures. This might sound easy, but I see a lot of really bad spec sheets out there, and they’re both hard to read and hard to follow. A good professional spec sheet should have a nice easy to follow flow to it, where everything is in an order and that makes sense when you are reading and looking through it.

When I’m creating a spec sheet for a client, I don’t want it to be just another boring plane on a boring spec sheet. I want it to be a professional piece of Marketing Material. What do I mean? Well, I want to get more out of a spec sheet than just a list of information for the plane, I want it to be an advertisement. I want people to remember this plane, and have it stand out from all the other competition they are surely looking at.

If you can’t tell, I think this is a pretty important part of the whole selling process and the idea is the more you put into the spec sheet, which is representing your plane, the more you get out of it. And since sometimes this is the only thing people will see representing your plane, it really pays to put some time and money into creating a professional spec sheet.

So, let me leave you with this. Information gathering and spec sheet creation can be a time consuming pain in the neck, I know, and that’s why it has a tendency to get put off. But remember, this is an important and a very necessary step in successfully selling or buying your plane. Once you have the information put together, I promise, you will be glad you took the time, or paid someone, to put it together. This will help you through the entire process, and you can feel good about the answers you give, their accuracy, and what you send potential buyers representing your plane, knowing that you have done what it takes to help your plane stand out from the crowd.

And by the way, this is again, the exact same information you’ll want to request and thoroughly review, on any planes you’re thinking of buying.

In my next report and the last one in this series, we’re going to talk about what happens when you actually get or make an offer, the pre-purchase inspection and what you must avoid at all cost during that pre-purchase inspection. And we’ll also talk about recruiting the right help if you need it.

So that’s it for this report. As always, if you need any help or have questions feel free to call or email. This is Jake Huling with Aircraft Sales Advisor, and I do look forward to seeing you on the next one.

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