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

Banner Towing

Old 05-01-2014, 03:54 AM
  #1  
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Joined APC: Apr 2014
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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.


Thanks,
-Rob
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Old 05-14-2014, 05:02 PM
  #2  
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Position: 121 FO / glider for fun
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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
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Old 05-22-2014, 10:49 PM
  #3  
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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.
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