Part 91 and Low Time Jump pilots, crop dusting, and other Part 91 jobs

Banner Towing

Old 05-01-2014, 03:54 AM
New Hire
Thread Starter
Joined APC: Apr 2014
Position: Navion
Posts: 4
Default Banner Towing

I'm moving this post here.

This topic may have been beat to death. After 30 years of running a IT consulting business I have decided its time to make a career change start a banner towing business and get out from behind the desk. I really don't want to get into running anything big, because quite frankly I'm not into babysitting employees. (the brilliant people who work for me are the most high maintenance)

I plan on operating in the Baltimore area; that includes all the issues with dealing with the SFRA.
I am looking at a Citabria for operations and also toying with the idea of skywriting.
This would be a one plane operation; I don't want to expand it beyond that.

Because this is my first time diving into banner towing, I have a few questions:
  1. Marketing: what is the standard commission for banner sales? I would hire a sales person part time to do the sales.
  2. Cost to customer: what is the standard billing rate for banner towing? How are contracts normally configured? Is the normal contract a year contract for so many x hours or a contract for x towing hours over a period of time?
  3. Accounts Receivable: Is the normal billing net 30 billed monthly for that months towing?
  4. Are there issues with slow pay / no pay customers? If so, how are they normally dealt with? My current business I only had that problem once and put in a stop work after 90 days past due.
  5. Equipment: other then the standard banner towing kit I see advertised a few places. Is there other spare equipment that should / must be kept on hand?

I will most likely have a bunch of other questions.

n4281k is offline  
Old 05-14-2014, 05:02 PM
ATC retired/121 hired
ToastAir's Avatar
Joined APC: Dec 2012
Position: 121 FO / glider for fun
Posts: 164

I had a single plane banner operation for awhile. I enjoyed it for the most part. First as in any business whatever you think your operating costs will be, triple that number to come up with a more realistic figure. To answer your specific questions: 1. Don't know, I did most of my own sales. I did network with others, and just negotiated on a case by case basis. I flew for them, they flew for me. 2. Again it depends. I had a basic rate per hour. Multiple hours with the same banner I could discount. The set up can be labor intensive. Don't forget time from the airport to the target site. Some clients were very easy to work with so I was willing to discount for that. A lot of variables here. 3. Get the money up front unless it is an established/trusted customer. 4. See number 3. 5. I had an inventory of about 1000 letters and characters. Mostly 5'. Some 7'. About 7 lead poles and tale flags several sets up pick up poles and tow ropes/hooks. And misc spare repair supplies. I'm sure you could get by with a lot less. This supported high volume and quick turn a rounds for baseball/football games. Obviously not an option these days with the TFRs. I could go on a lot longer. PM me if you want
ToastAir is offline  
Old 05-22-2014, 10:49 PM
New Hire
Joined APC: Jan 2014
Posts: 3

Unless you're planning on flying only very small panels and letter banners, I'd look into a more capable banner plane, Supercubs are good, Pawnees get it done too.

Customers are hard to come by. Most people wanting a banner pulled are special occasions shoppers and do a quick internet search to find out who can accommodate them, ie: the big players are who they call. Best thing to do would be to find who these big players are in your area, start a relationship, and hope for contract work from them.

The big contracts are very difficult for small, one man operators to land. Large companies don't usually put all their eggs into one basket, and for good reason: your plane breaks, who gets the ad up? Again, best thing to do would be the relationship with a larger company and get work kicked to you, at least as a start.

Best of luck with your new adventure.
Wigeon is offline  
Related Topics
Thread Starter
Last Post
Career Questions
04-29-2014 04:53 AM
Hangar Talk
09-24-2011 01:49 PM
Hiring News
10-07-2009 05:09 AM
Flight Schools and Training
09-03-2008 03:03 PM
Hiring News
08-26-2007 09:44 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Your Privacy Choices