Pricing Your Turbine Helicopter

April 3, 2015 By Fred
price lg

Selling a pre-owned helicopter in today’s market is difficult for an experienced broker and it is especially challenging if the owner and/or broker do not price the helicopter correctly. Lest there be any doubt, we are today and have been for several years in a buyer’s market. Simply put, there are far more people wanting to SELL helicopters than wanting to PURCHASE them.

To put this situation into perspective, let’s just pick a helicopter…say a Bell 407. As of this writing, there are about 50 of them for sale worldwide and from 2012 thru 2014 an average of 63 of them sold (pre-owned). Through the 1st quarter this year there have only been 10 sold. If sales remain the same through the year, then 23 of these helicopters will remain UNSOLD. So how does a seller become one of the 40 sold vs one of the 23 still on the market?

There are a lot of different variables that affect a helicopter’s market appeal, but the one universal discriminator is PRICE!! Think about it. Most owners are rightfully proud of their helicopters and many believe that they happen to have “the best” helicopter in the world. They are convinced that there is someone out there who will pay “top dollar” to own it. Combine this with an enthusiastic broker who will say anything to get a listing and you have a formula for frustration. Very few helicopters are truly unique and those that are, tend to be unique in areas that have very little impact on value as perceived by the marketplace.

Today there are many resources available to helicopter owners and brokers that discuss values, market conditions, etc. Some of these are available for free and others can be quite expensive requiring monthly or annual subscriptions. The combination of these resources, while useful as a guide, will not compare with the detailed and up to date knowledge that a professional and experienced helicopter broker has available. A good broker is intimately familiar with the market and can give you a very realistic assessment of your helicopter value. As the saying goes…forewarned is forearmed. Reliable and current information is KEY to successfully pricing and selling a helicopter in a buyer’s market. Remember, it doesn’t matter what YOU think your helicopter is worth…what matters is what the MARKET thinks it is worth. If your price is out of line, you will continue to be non-competitive with the rest of the market.

In summary, it is worth noting that pricing a helicopter TO SELL is not a perfect science. There is an almost endless supply of variables and hurdles that must be considered and navigated to achieve a successful conclusion. After 35 years and 600 helicopter transactions, it remains my concerted opinion that a competent, professional and experienced helicopter broker is your best resource for properly valuing and pricing a helicopter for sale.


To find out more about this topic or if you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 817-354-0400 or sales@hmahelicopters.com.

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