Cold calling airplane owners

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Grum.Man, Dec 28, 2020.

  1. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    With the resources available today it’s pretty easy to get contact info of people who own airplanes. Just curious how you would feel if someone randomly called you inquiring about your airplane. I know me personally I wouldn’t mind but obviously I can’t speak for everyone. Would you be creeped out, go off in a fit of rage, or welcome the inquirer?
     
  2. X3 Skier

    X3 Skier En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Messages:
    3,453
    Location:
    I19 & SBS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Geezer
    Will they also offer me an extended warranty, help with Medicare, better electricity rates, take over my computer to debug it or any of the other Spam calls I randomly get?

    Just asking.

    Cheers
     
  3. NHWannabe

    NHWannabe Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2015
    Messages:
    660
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    NHWannabe
    I get these all the time from realtors, since I'm not ready to sell I just throw them away.
     
  4. DrewG

    DrewG Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    Messages:
    281
    Location:
    Stillwater, OK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DrewG
    I've spent half of my career cold calling mineral owners to lease their interests. That information gathering all starts with what's in the public record, naturally. I've found that as long as you make it understood within the first few seconds of the call that you're not trying to sell them something, but rather buy (or lease) something they already own, they are much more receptive to the call and don't question exactly how you got their info.

    For those that are creeped out/skeptical, explaining that the majority of the info you needed to contact them is already public record is usually met with something like, "Oh, I guess that is true."

    Edit: I would add the caveat that mineral owners are quite accustomed to these calls and inquiries. Aircraft owners might not be.
     
  5. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    27,307
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iFlyNothing
    You're talking about from a perspective of wanting to buy it or from a perspective of just wanting to talk to an owner about his or her experiences? The former has been going on for decades, well before the internet. In fact companies exist whose sole business model is to collect contact information for aircraft owners of different types, and they then sell that information.

    When Cloud Nine got the MU-2 and I started flying that, I got calls from a lot of those companies who "Just wanted to verify your contact information." I was far more annoyed with these companies than with any individual, because they wanted to take my time to verify my contact information so that they could sell it and make money. I was never very cordial with those people and didn't verify anything.

    I never minded answering questions about aircraft in general.
     
  6. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Messages:
    7,663
    Location:
    Vail, Arizona
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Timbeck2
    I find it odd that anyone with internet can look up an N number and get the owner's address. On the other hand, with pictures of people's cars, I see have the license plate blanked out, which as far as I know can't be simply looked up on the internet.
     
    Zeldman likes this.
  7. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    7,266
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    My Mooney is always for sale. What it will cost changes daily. Today it would take at least $80k, maybe more. That's based mostly on the fact that I don't really want to sell, I'm down to one plane available, so that increases it's value to me. I think it's worth $60-65 in reality, but for an extra $20k I'd probably part with it. Maybe.

    But, I'm not going to spend an hour on the phone with you figuring out how you can finance it. Call me back when you have cash.
     
  8. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    5,645
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Drake the Outlaw
    I get those calls and texts weekly about some outfit wanting to buy my house. They are always ready and willing to offer 50-75% of market value, but never more. I've told them that if they want *my* house at the moment, the price is market plus 20%, non-negotiable. And don't call back unless they are making the offer in cash.

    I don't want those calls regarding my airplane.
     
  9. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    Well my main interest would be to see the airplane or discuss its flying qualities. If they were interested in selling I may consider that as well. I’ve been interested in a small single place biplane for a while now and there aren’t many around anymore. Found a couple of the model in mmm interested in on the FAA database so I am considering calling them to see if I can see one in person or even try it on for fit.
     
  10. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    27,307
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iFlyNothing
    If it's a really unusual plane that you can't find an owner's club of or owners on the internet, I would tend to think cold calling the owner and just saying you're considering one like it would probably work fine. The most unusual plane I was ever involved in was the MU-2, and reality is it's not that hard to find MU-2s out there.
     
  11. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    I’ve talked to one guy on the internet about the flying qualities of his but I’d like another opinion. All the contacts I’ve found online or ones for sale are halfway across the country. Would like to see one in person to make sure I fit in it and that it would fit in the hangar with the Venture.
     
  12. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
    Messages:
    12,512
    Location:
    Southeast Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    This page intentionally left blank
    "Used aircraft of your Make and Model are in high demand! Come on in for an evaluation and see how we can get you into a NEW aircraft for a lower monthly payment!"

    Yay.

    Not.
     
    X3 Skier likes this.
  13. FredFenster

    FredFenster Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2013
    Messages:
    360
    Location:
    Manitowoc, WI
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fred Fenster
    I had it happen about 2 weeks ago. Previous owner of my plane from back in the late 50's/early 60's. Sent me a picture of it from back in the day. Talked to him for a little bit, told him it can be for sale if he's interested but haven't heard back. Think he just wanted to talk. Apparently he typed in the tail number on flightaware or a site like that and saw that I had just landed, so he called the FBO who gave him my work number which eventually got him in contact with me.
     
    ETres and Grum.Man like this.
  14. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,489
    Location:
    Danger Zone
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cowman
    I'm already getting postcards every few weeks(along with CASH OFFERS for my car).

    Does this stuff actually work? I'd think if someone was trying to sell their airplane it would be listed on one of the for sale sites online.
     
    ktup-flyer likes this.
  15. Howard Wilson

    Howard Wilson Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2007
    Messages:
    583
    Location:
    Maryland
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Howard Wilson
    I'd send a letter. Nice envelope, hand written address, airplane stamp;-)
     
    MikeNY likes this.
  16. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2008
    Messages:
    2,043
    Location:
    Hipsterdelphia PDX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mike Brannigan
    I got an unsolicited offer on my plane 2 months ago. Luckily the plane got wind of it and decided to lunch both starter adapters, serially, to ensure embarrassing downtime and make the plane appear like a roach. I waved off the meeting we had set to discuss particulars. I can't lie, I was mildly tempted, although I'm still not sure if I would have proceeded.

    The market is sort of naynays right now. I've never had so many people contacting me to perform prebuys and insurance checkouts and of course they all need them done ASAP. I assume CV lockdown has made large columns of both winners and losers, and the toys are changing hands as a result.

    If some rando internet stalked me, then called me up just to jabber about airplanes and extract my knowledge, he'd likely get a rich, ear-filling expletive before I terminated the line. That's creepy and rude and the domain of email and forums, not phone calls. IMO. :D
     
  17. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    I’ve purchased 2 airplanes that were never listed for sale. A lot of people don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling an airplane even if they are willing to sell. Even more so when you consider a lot of airplanes are owned by older people who may not be internet savvy.
     
  18. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    Given the few negative comments expressed on here I’ll refrain from calling and will send a letter instead. Seems a little less personal and invasive. I had a guy reach out to me through Facebook about an airplane I used to own the other day and didn’t mind a bit. Seems some are more sensitive to it than I am.
     
    MikeNY likes this.
  19. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Messages:
    4,320
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mtns2Skies
    That's how I met @Stickman. I sent a letter to the address on file, after admiring his plane on the ramp, just asking to talk about Skywagon ownership. It morphed into an offer a couple years later, and some unfortunate circumstances made it not work out, but in the end it worked out great for the both of us... But I still do lust after his plane.

    I got my first ride in a Skywagon when I was 18 by taping a note around the owner's landing gear. (Around the landing gear, not TO the landing gear). There are some very generous people in this world if you share the same passion for their plane.
     
    masloki, Stickman and Grum.Man like this.
  20. kyleb

    kyleb Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    5,645
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Drake the Outlaw
    Now that I understand the intent of your cold call, it sounds less intrusive. If you called me and clearly and succinctly explained what you're after, I'd make time to talk with you about how my little biplane (if I had one).
     
  21. DrewG

    DrewG Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    Messages:
    281
    Location:
    Stillwater, OK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DrewG
    That's probably not a bad way to go. As far as calling goes, I would think that as long as an actual purchase is a stated intent (and not just "knowledge gathering" chat), a person would feel less put upon and irked by a call.
     
  22. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    7,266
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    Just for another data point. If you sent me a letter I'd throw it out. If you were serious, you'd have called. That's just me. I think the idea is to make it easy for the other person to sell it. Making them call you doesn't do that.
     
  23. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    Well again my primary intent isn’t to ask them to sell right away. I mostly just want to see one in person. If they wanted to sell I would be in the market.
     
  24. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    7,266
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    Again, with the idea of making it easy on them to accommodate you, having them call you is more work for them. Granted it's at their option and convenience, but I think most people are going to ignore it. Maybe that's good, the person that doesn't is likely to be very receptive. Up to you.
     
    Grum.Man likes this.
  25. Stewartb

    Stewartb Final Approach

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2014
    Messages:
    6,730
    Location:
    Wasilla, AK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    stewartb
    I've bought a couple of airplanes that way and have sold a couple the same way. If somebody calls and expresses an interest in my airplane I take it as a compliment. I had such a call yesterday. It's not for sale but I can't fault a guy for asking.
     
    Grum.Man likes this.
  26. Daleandee

    Daleandee Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2020
    Messages:
    672
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dale Andee
    From my perspective a person can ask at anytime if someone is interested in selling something they own cause it's all for sale. Start peeling off the large bills and I'll tell you when to stop. ;)

    I also know about those cost changes. Today my plane is worth more than normal because all is well. When I'm overhauling the brakes and things aren't going as planned there might be a deal in the makings. :eek:

    Call if you like. If you are not in my contacts and haven't made it to the blocked list yet then your only option is to leave a voice mail. If you sound sober and civil I'll likely return your call. :cool:
     
    PeterNSteinmetz, Grum.Man and Salty like this.
  27. skier

    skier Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    762
    Location:
    CT
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Skier
    how would they find your phone number? Name and address are easy from FAA records.
     
  28. DrewG

    DrewG Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2013
    Messages:
    281
    Location:
    Stillwater, OK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DrewG
    Plenty of free reverse search options on the Google machine at our disposal. They aren't necessarily accurate all the time, though. There are also products out there (that cost $$) that you can punch in names, addresses, etc. and get returns for phone numbers, email addresses, relatives, etc.
     
  29. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    With a name and address you can usually get a phone number especially if it’s a landline. No different than printed phone books back in the day.
     
  30. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    Well hopefully I’ve found the best compromise. Found the previous owner online, turns out we have mutual friends. Sent them a message to see about contacting the new owner.
     
  31. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2013
    Messages:
    12,719
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    eman1200
    If it’s legit and from someone generally interested I have no prob with it at all. Prefer letter of phone call.
     
  32. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2008
    Messages:
    4,320
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mtns2Skies
    What kind of plane?
     
  33. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    Starduster SA100
     
  34. Lgchris

    Lgchris Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2015
    Messages:
    7
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Lgchris
    I use a service that takes the phone number then data mines it, it then tells me 100 data points on the person PLUS their social media links then it pushes whatever advertisement or promotion to their social media pages.

    You could use it to post on Facebook something like 'I pay cash for airplanes' or something like that, this way you can load the whole 80k people in the list and only spend time on the ones who reply willing to sell.

    PM me if you want the company info, not sure about posting it in public if it violated the terms here.
     
  35. jimhorner

    jimhorner Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    736
    Location:
    Santa Clara
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim Horner
    When I was considering the purchase of my Bellanca Viking, it was located in Texas, and I was in California. I kinda wanted to see one in person without having to fly to Texas first. So, I did the research and did some cold calls to see if someone would be willing to let me come take a look at their airplane. Made a few calls to people with the same name as the registered owner but who were not, in fact, airplane owners. Oh well. I did talk to one lady who said that yes, she and her ex-husband had owned a Bellanca, but that he preferred to let it rot instead of selling it as part of the settlement. Sad. She did share with me that she had wonderful memories of trips in the plane. One guy was happy to set up a visit to look at his plane. Turns out that he and I are in the same row of hangars now, with just one hangar between us.

    In all cases, I jumped right into who I was and why I was calling. Even the wrong number folks were understanding and nice. One even wanted to chat about how to get into flying. It all depends, I guess, on your opening lines when they answer the phone. I would always start out with “I’m sorry to bother you...” That seemed to work wonders.
     
  36. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    Was the one left to rot located at Shilo airport in North Carolina? Same story I got from the owner of one there. It’s truly past saving.
     
  37. jimhorner

    jimhorner Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2012
    Messages:
    736
    Location:
    Santa Clara
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim Horner
    No, it was in the SF Bay area. Shame though to let a plane rot like that. She had been in favor of selling it; he wanted to let it rot to spite her.
     
  38. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    Same story here. Guy has a Viking and Kolb in an open thangar. Said he would let the plane rot to the point it wasn’t worth a dime before splitting it with his ex. Last time I was there it was covered in bird droppings and full of nest both bird and rat. Wings completely rotted.
     
  39. Kenny Phillips

    Kenny Phillips En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2018
    Messages:
    3,938
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kenny Phillips
    In my neck of the woods the sale would have been forced. At gunpoint, if necessary.
     
    jimhorner likes this.
  40. Bell206

    Bell206 En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2017
    Messages:
    3,674
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bell206
    For comparison, I've been the person cold contacting owners on their aircraft on behalf of others. The method that got the best response was a handwritten letter that explained the correspondence along with various reply methods. This left the ball in their park whether they wanted to reply or not but usually received some sort of reply none the less. I think the handwritten part was the key vs a call or email.
    What I find interesting is that I found it easier in the pre-cellphone/internet age to find/contact unknown aircraft owners, etc. People tended to be more open/assist to that type of inquiry which usually ended up finding the owner by word of mouth and discussing his aircraft, with the potential buyer, over a cup of coffee around the FBO coffee pot.
     
    Grum.Man likes this.