A Deer In The Headlights
Most people tend to believe that the more options they have in life, the better. Whether a person is shopping for an aircraft, buying ice cream or dating, people tend to think that if they are offered more alternatives to consider they will be more satisfied with their final decision than if their choices were limited. I would argue that this principle is only true if two conditions are met.
Condition 1. The options in question are being considered as an investment
Since neither buying ice cream nor dating would qualify as an investment opportunity (unless maybe you are named Anna Nicole Smith) in these areas I am not sure that a huge pool of choices makes for a happier customer in the end. If the pool of choices is large enough, it can become very difficult for a person to indentify the characteristics that are most important. Even after settling on a choice in this situation, a customer will often end up second guessing their choice which typically detracts from their satisfaction with the product.
I would argue that buying an aircraft should not be an investment for a vast majority of operators. Unless you are a dealer who knows the market inside out and is making a living off the profits of the next sale, an aircraft is truly a business tool. That doesn’t mean you should not pay attention to market conditions and try to buy right. But, like any business tool, that should not be the primary consideration. The primary consideration in this case is, “will a private aircraft allow me to increase my profits enough to justify the purchase price?” If so, whether the market has bottomed out or not is not that important.
Condition 2. The decision maker has the necessary information and ability to create an effective decision tree that can clearly indentify the best alternative.
Some markets have become so flooded with inventory today that it can be very difficult to determine the best value. The following list of characteristics are some of the most important to consider when acquiring a business aircraft: Year of manufacture, airframe time, engine status, pedigree, avionics & equipment, paint & interior condition, maintenance status and certifications. With so many aircraft for sale, how do you adjust the value of each aircraft in order to determine the best buy on an “apples to apples” basis? Well, that’s where your friendly neighborhood broker comes in.
In order to ensure that our customers are truly satisfied with their aircraft and can clearly see what the best opportunity is, JB&A can help you narrow the field. If a customer hires us to help them acquire an aircraft, our first job is to talk with them about what is important to them in an aircraft. The decision tree for two different customers will likely be very different, depending on their preferences. So, in addition to having the necessary knowledge and tools, a good line of communication between customer and agent is important to reach the right decision.
Bottom line - having more choices is good to a point. But once the number of choices exceeds your ability to distinguish among them, professional help becomes very important. With 70% more aircraft on the market to choose from today than last year, it’s probably time for help for most buyers. Let us know if we can help you.
Toby J. Smith
JBA Aviation, Inc.