There are no shortages of aircraft management companies in Southern California. Each has its pros and cons. A larger aircraft management firm can provide you with cost-effective economies of scale to reduce your costs of ownership. Their relationships with FBO chains can drive lower fuel prices, their relationships with insurance companies can help reduce insurance costs, and their existing customer base can provide instant charter revenue on your aircraft.
It sounds like every aircraft owner should place their aircraft with a larger management firm then right? Well not so fast…
The Larger Aircraft Management Firms
There are plenty of downsides with the larger aircraft management firms. Their large size also means the revenue they must generate from your aircraft is higher than a smaller company. They might make them push less than optimal charter flights for your aircraft to reach revenue targets. That relationship with an FBO chain that saves you money in Teterboro might cost you more money in Van Nuys because their agreement forces all aircraft to only use that FBO chain. Most of all if you are just one of 100 aircraft under management you might be treated as ‘just another owner’. Finally, most larger aircraft management firms have specific procedures in place for monthly management and owner flights. Given their size they are usually less flexible when it comes to specific owner requests for special monthly reporting and operational needs.
The Smaller Aircraft Management Firms
Being a customer of a smaller management firm can also have its downsides. While most fuel pricing advantages have been eliminated through the use of contract fuel, partnering with a management firm that also owns FBOs will ensure you are getting the best rates on fuel while at company FBOs. Smaller aircraft management firms can provide a higher level of customer service than the larger firms. Smaller aircraft management firms are also usually more flexible when working with your accounting and tax professionals to develop custom reporting and proactive budgeting.
In the end, it comes down to preference and people.
Finding a trustworthy company to manage your aircraft is not an easy decision. There is an abundance of companies each with their pros and cons. Invest the time required to get to know the management and employees of the company that will be managing your aircraft, as they will be the ones safeguarding your asset.