Originally published as a blog for AINsight for Aviation International News on 6/4/21
Nothing replaces good representation in an aircraft transaction, including trying to go it alone. It seems that I hear from buyers and sellers in waves contemplating or recovering from just such a decision. We are going through that wave again right now. It is that wave that says, “I got involved with a transaction that I should have trusted my gut about.” This is a familiar mantra from both buyers and sellers who did not do the proper vetting of a sales professional before they signed on the dotted line to hire them to help with either an acquisition or sale.
What also seems to run in waves are the group of buyers and sellers who try and avoid a commission by relying on themselves to complete a transaction. There are so many nuances that ride just below the surface of a sale or acquisition that are unknown to the novice, including a deep historical and mechanical understanding of the aircraft being considered for purchase. A good broker will do proper due diligence before ever spending your money on a purchase agreement or a pre-purchase inspection; also making sure your specifications are accurate on the sale side to avoid renegotiations and costly mistakes regarding equipment advertised to be on the plane that may actually not be installed.
Today, after the 4th quarter of 2020, and the continued strong activity in many aircraft markets and segments, and inventory levels diminished, sellers can be lulled into thinking all they have to do is answer the phone, get a bidding war going and sell their plane, easy peezy.
I always say if it were that easy everyone would be doing it. Believe me, it is very complicated to enter into and complete a transaction on an aircraft. We have an internal check list at our company with over 100 separate and critical steps to complete either a purchase or sale. As much as I keep looking for that magic wand, it does not exist.
Why on earth would anyone think making magic is easy? Forget the actual aircraft and the complexities that follow that path, how about the complexity of the myriad of personalities involved in a transaction. Brokers, lawyers, maintenance personnel, company management of the buyer and the seller. The list goes on and on and if everyone is not working in concert, not only do you not make magic, you don’t make music.
I have always said we are not in the airplane business we are in the people business, people selling and buying aircraft to and from people. So, as we work to come out of this pandemic and get ourselves and our industry back out and about, let’s all remember we are in the buying and selling game together. If we fail at this juncture, we will fail to make the most of our industry right now. Buyers and sellers will get frustrated and begin to think the problem is the industry itself. I assure you the value proposition that is so valuable to us all by being able to fly to our clients, get out ahead of our competition, safely and efficiently will bear the brunt of the frustration. We must help those buyers and sellers who want a transparent and honest transaction to achieve it.
Just the awareness of the need for professional assistance is not enough. It is the actual putting into practice the principles laid out in this article. This is such an exciting time for us all on many fronts. See you on the playing field.