Many entrepreneurs are considering the process involved to start a helicopter charter business. In cities like New York and LA, the costs and duration of Uber rides to the airport are becoming too much to bear, opening up a gap in the market for helicopter charters. These helicopter charters may be a little pricier, but the travel time saved is making them more and more desirable among business people and high earners. However, there are several steps to starting a business of this capacity. So, how do you get started in a luxury market like this? Here are some tips to help you on how to start a helicopter charter business.
Find Your Niche
The first step to starting a business is to identify your niche. There is a fair amount of helicopter charter businesses on the market, so how do you differentiate yourself from the competition? Of course you could be cheap or brand yourself in a more exciting way, but people are likely to see through that and chances are your initial overheads will be too high to run a cheaper service. Instead, think about targeting under served areas, offering a convenient mobile booking app, giving out complimentary food and drinks on your rides, offering deals and discounts for loyal customers… there are many ways you can stand out and differentiate yourself on the scene – you just need to be creative and think outside of the box.
According to Rob Wiesenthal, Founder and CEO of BLADE, “What we focus on is measuring growth, safety, making sure that we’re providing a quality experience. This brand is ever important to us and it’s growing every day.”
Figure Out Your Marketing
As you consider how to start your business, you will need to clearly plan your marketing. Chances are your clients are going to be pretty wealthy individuals who hang out in exclusive circles – start finding ways to penetrate those circles with advertising and marketing. For instance, you might try targeting venues like Golf Clubs and Spa businesses for advertising. When marketing your brand, think about the image you want to portray. Is it one of luxury or is it one of convenience? Some of your customers might just want the fastest turnaround possible, whereas others might want to fly in style or use an easy booking service with lots of availability and flexibility. Decide how to portray your brand and then go for it.
Network, Network, Network
Regardless of what space you’re in, business people need to network. Meet people in the helicopter charter space and outside of it. Make connections with people who can help you, advise you, or possibly even become long-term clients. When you are getting started in a new business, it can be incredibly lonely to begin with, so waste no time in making new connections. There might be specific networking events and mixers you can attend in your area, but keep an eye out for relevant conferences, seminars, fundraisers, and social events that are filled with people who can help your business in some way. Be prepared to offer them something in return for their help, such as a discount or special rate on helicopter rides.
Know The Local Laws And Regulations
It goes without saying, but you need to have an in-depth knowledge of all the local flying regulations for your service areas. If you happen to be crossing state lines, make sure that you check the regulations for all the states that you operate within. Before you can start your business, you need to know the local laws and regulations regarding commercial aviation. No one wants to find out that their company is doing questionable things in the eyes of the law.
If you’re passionate about your new helicopter charter business, that is great, but it’s important to remember that your head should be doing the thinking, not your heart. Before jumping into important business decisions from pure excitement, stop and consider whether it is actually the best decision for your company at this time. When you get an offer for a contract or service, it’s easy to get very excited and scream “YES!” from the rooftops, but stop and pause. Think about it from the big picture – is this proposal actually that good? Will it negatively affect you in the future? Could it come back to bite you later on? Always use your head when making hard business decisions.
Build It Gradually
Most of us don’t have the luxury of being able to quit our jobs and spend a couple of years working on a new helicopter charter business. For those entrepreneurs who have the freedom, great, but you’re in the minority! If you need to, start by doing it on weekends and evenings while working your day job. If the business starts going well, consider dropping your day job’s hours down to part-time before fully transitioning to doing your helicopter charter business full time. You’ll naturally want to put all of your entrepreneurial efforts into doing what you love, but you don’t want to end up on the streets if things go south!
Entrepreneurs looking to access under-served markets are often considering the process to open a helicopter services. Throughout your process, it is important to find your niche. Develop you marketing strategy, and implement constant plans to network. You also need to familiarize yourself with the basic laws and regulations in your area. Ensure that you stay level headed throughout the process and build your service gradually. Consider the points above if you are interested in how to start a helicopter charter business.