No matter what they sell—used cars, securities, aircraft—brokers don’t always enjoy the best public reputation. In my experience, though, most aircraft brokers do try to represent the best interests of their clients. That doesn’t mean, of course, that they’re equally good at their jobs. Here are some things to consider when hiring a broker to sell your business jet.
The first step is to identify some candidates. You may find that they come to you. Brokers are always looking for listings and sometimes contact people they think might be interested in selling an aircraft. Obviously, you shouldn’t hire a brokerage just because it’s the first one to call you. One place to investigate further is the website of the International Aircraft Dealers Association (IADA, formerly NARA). As of this writing, iada.aero lists 42 IADA “accredited dealers,” including some of the best-known business aviation brokers in the U.S.
There’s always debate on this subject, especially on the various owners forums. Some people say absolutely yes, some say absolutely no, and the rest are somewhere in between. Even though aircraft brokerage is my business I’m not one of those who will tell you that is the right decision for everyone. And — just to get the white elephant out of the room — yes, there are a few dirtbags in this business. There are also a lot of very fine, hard working people who want to do the right thing and who pour their souls into helping their clients.
Buying and selling seems to trigger a lot of emotions. Throw an airplane into the mix and sometimes those emotions run high. A lot of brokers are unfairly blamed for things over which they had absolutely no control or knowledge. This is akin to the real estate agent who gets blamed for the [...]
I see ads all the time from brokers that claim they have an off-market aircraft or are looking only for an “off market” aircraft. Is this different from a “pocket listing”? Not many years ago, a seller would send a broker out with a pocket listing in advance of publicly listing an aircraft for sale. To me that was like a trial balloon—let it go and see how high it rises.
The thinking was: once we have an idea of the market acceptance, then we can set a price and get it out to the general audience. If the balloon falls flat compared to expectations, the seller might not proceed with the process of selling.
But this is different than the off-market phenomenon we have today. After all, there is no such thing as an aircraft that is off-market, yet put out to all the world to see via print and electronic marketing. In most [...]