Freelance CFI Marketing Plan

Buffettpilot

"was that for us?"
Joined
Dec 8, 2002
Posts
46
Total Time
enough
Ok, I don't want to turn this into a flame thread. Also, this is posted in the General section of flightinfo (double tapping to increase my responses). I'm working on a Marketing Plan for one of my classes (last class before I finish my Masters) and thought I'd do it on my current situation. I do freelance instructing as a part time job (full time is in the military--currently Iraq).

I work as a freelance instructor at a mid-sized town (approx 400,000 people) which has two flight school operations at a Class C airport (first has 5 single engine aircraft, the second has 7 single engine aircraft) which rents out their aircraft and provide flight instruction. There is another Class E airport in town that has onsie/twosie type flight instructors (in which I have the chance to freelance utilizing their aircraft).

I currently freelance (CFI/CFII/AGI/IGI) at one of the Class C schools and wanted to get some insight into marketing future students or finding disgruntled students that want to give it another shot with an 'independant' instructor.

Of course I use the personal touch and treat everyone as the client and understand the difficulties of time/money for any rating. I'd like to get some responses to the following:

1) Advertisements in newpapers don't work, how would you promote yourself as a flight instructor (what type of media would you use)?

2) What organizations would you belong to (mostly for networking and building relationships via word-of-mouth for future clients)?

3) Business Cards....Are they worth handing out or just having them to hand to people when asked?

4) Writing articles for aviation journal's and/or Saftey Seminar presentations (again, the more visibility you have, the better off)....your thoughts?

Thanks a bunch, I'm going to use the answers your provide as my portion of "primary research" for this plan. PM if you want to see the end-product (in about 1.5 months) and I'll email it to you.
 

norskman2

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
Posts
571
Total Time
320
Buffetpilot,

This topic comes up periodically on the board. Over the years I have collected a lot of the suggestions for freelance CFIs to market themselves (although I'm not yet one myself)

PM me and I can email you a MS Word file with the "Greatest Hits" collection taken off this board.
 

moxiepilot

Florida Pimp
Joined
Apr 13, 2005
Posts
185
Total Time
24/7
Buffettpilot said:
1) Advertisements in newpapers don't work, how would you promote yourself as a flight instructor (what type of media would you use)?

2) What organizations would you belong to (mostly for networking and building relationships via word-of-mouth for future clients)?

3) Business Cards....Are they worth handing out or just having them to hand to people when asked?

4) Writing articles for aviation journal's and/or Saftey Seminar presentations (again, the more visibility you have, the better off)....your thoughts?

Thanks a bunch, I'm going to use the answers your provide as my portion of "primary research" for this plan. PM if you want to see the end-product (in about 1.5 months) and I'll email it to you.
1. What you're really asking is, "how do I get noticed?" I think if you ask yourself this question, the answer to self-promotion will be easier.

2. Anyone you can that you don't have to spend too much money on. Is Jetcareers the only aviation forum you belong to? Probably not. Same should hold true for gettig your name out there. I don't necessarily think this is the best way to network though.

3. You bet. For about $.10 a pop theres nothing better. Hey, I throw a card on things I sell on Ebay. I'm meeting a guy from Houston in Tampa next week for his first lesson and I live in Daytona.

4. Getting published is difficult at best. I'd focus your energy somewhere else.
 

WhiteCloud

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 20, 2002
Posts
1,012
Total Time
4,000
Business cards are a must. If you're out of sight your're out of mind so....Be visible without looking like an airport bum. Be busy and don't just hang. You're in between appointments. :) Fly a lot with friends. While flying stop in at outlying airports for a break. Ask a few questions. How's business? Talk to and listen to everyone at the airport coffee shops. Help someone push that airplane around on the flightline. Admire someones airplane and hand them a wrench. Get to know the folks that work the line. Offer friendly advice if you see a student struggling with something or pouring over a stack of books. Don't have your hand out. Word of mouth is the best advertizing.
 

Buffettpilot

"was that for us?"
Joined
Dec 8, 2002
Posts
46
Total Time
enough
Thanks for the responses, anyone else out there have some good marketing tools/info for a freelance CFI?
 

AAflyer

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
1,493
Total Time
9000+
moxiepilot said:
1. What you're really asking is, "how do I get noticed?" I think if you ask yourself this question, the answer to self-promotion will be easier.

2. Anyone you can that you don't have to spend too much money on. Is Jetcareers the only aviation forum you belong to? Probably not. Same should hold true for gettig your name out there. I don't necessarily think this is the best way to network though.

3. You bet. For about $.10 a pop theres nothing better. Hey, I throw a card on things I sell on Ebay. I'm meeting a guy from Houston in Tampa next week for his first lesson and I live in Daytona.

4. Getting published is difficult at best. I'd focus your energy somewhere else.

Actually getting published is not as hard as you would think. Are you a member of NAFI? Great organization. The subscription to flying and the discounts you get from ASA and Gleim etc are worth the $35 alone.

They also publish a monthly magazine "Mentor". As an instructor you are permitted to write an article from them, infact if you are good i am sure more would be welcome.

Businessc cards that you can make at home are less expensive, and do something that sticks out. On my Flight Instructor card it has a dark blue sky with a picture of the wing of a 757. Pick something that stands out from the same generic white card.

Good Luck,

AAflyer

We need more instructors (teachers) and less time builders.
(Disclaimer, some time builders a great, however many I have met are not into it, they are killing time to get into the cockpit of an airliner.
 
Top