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Selling aircraft


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My boss wants to upgrade and has asked me to sell his helicopter. I have no experience with this and need some advice.


How do I find a list price when there is not a lot of comparable aircraft on the market? Is there a helicopter "BlueBook"? Where should I list it besides Controller.com. How complicated is the transfer of ownership process once it is sold? Any other suggestions or online sources to help me through the process?


I have been offered a commission for the sale and think it would be a good learning experience. I just don't want my lack of experience to hinder the process and I'm not sure if I should just find a professional aircraft broker.

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easy part is getting it out there... hard part is selling it... depending on model and asking price.

put it on: controller, trade-a-plane, barnstormers

put your low price 1st if you really want to sell it soon... alot of aircraft out there to pick from (depending on what helicopter you are trying to sell)

Does your boss actually own the helicopter? Or does the bank own it? either way the paperwork is super easy to transfer the registration... if the bank is involved then releasing the ucc filing is some extra work.


Yes there is a bluebook... not much use in my opinion as marketplace is going to dictate selling price in most instances.


also wanted to add... your work will be having nice photos and a current component sheet to give to everybody who inquires or have it listed in the ads.

Edited by apiaguy
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Yes, there are plenty of resources for figuring out what your aircraft is worth. You will pay (dearly!) for some of them. You can always check Controller.com and TAP for "comps" to see what others of the same type are generally going for. Asking prices on Controller do not mean anything when it comes to the actual selling price.


But helicopters are tricky because of all the overhaulable and life-limited components. There are spreadsheet programs that can calculate the depreciated value of the aircraft from a "brand new" one. Again, you will pay for these services.


Your boss probably has an idea of what his helicopter is worth. Know this: EVERY owner think his aircraft is worth more than it really is. So if he's offered you a 6% commission on the sale price, he might balk if that price is lower than his expectations; he'll think you didn't do a good enough job of marketing it and your commission could be in jeopardy. GET IT IN WRITING! Get it in writing or the promise of a commission is not worth anything.


So do your due diligence and find out what the helicopter is REALLY worth - in other words, what others of its type are really trading for. See if you can find some people who recently sold helicopters and ask them what it went for. Don't trust people who just *bought* a helicopter because they ALWAYS lie and tell you they got it for a lower price. I mean friggin' always.


My (former) boss has a 1942 Ford Army Jeep which he bought for $17,000 on the pretense that it was "100% original" and restored. When he decided to sell it that task fell to me with the objective of getting $17,000 for it. I did a little research and discovered that yes, "100% original" 1942 Ford Army Jeeps do sell in the $17,000 range. But buyers of said vehicles are VERY knowledgable and asked VERY specific questions about the vehicle - questions I could not answer. So I did some more research and discovered - well, whaddya know - that my boss's Jeep is *not* 100% original, nor even expertly or completely restored. In fact, it has some very glaring and obvious errors and reproduction parts. Oopsie! Best offer we got? $10,000 and even then the buyer welched on the deal. The P.O. offered to buy it back for $5,000. Needless to say, the boss was PISSED! I washed my hands of the whole thing, told him to sell it himself. (This is only partly why he is my "former" boss.)


So be very careful in selling anything for your employer. It is fraught with peril. You will not get a sufficiently high price for this helicopter. And if you help him purchase a new one you will not get a low enough price for it. I've seen this happen over and over. My advice: Let a professional broker sell it. They know what they're doing, and they can take the heat if it sells for something less than the boss expects.


By the way, when my boss bought his first helicopter he left it up to me to find and negotiate the deal. Sometime later he remarked rather snidely that he felt I had, "...left $10,000 on the table" - that we could have gotten it for $10,000 less. I told him that he should have negotiated the final price then! Eh- maybe I did, maybe I didn't. But it turned out that he always held it against me, the prick. (That is another part of why he is my "former" boss.)


So don't say I didn't warn you. Proceed at your own risk!

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