Keep your partnership working
Shared aircraft ownership can be a great boon for everyone involved, sharing expenses can go a long way to take the edge off of the inevitable problems that come with aircraft ownership. Unexpected repairs can really get expensive and even the regular maintenance can start to get painful when we don't save along the way. When the airplane is working the more partners you have the harder it can be to make sure everyone can get the flying time they want.
The two biggest hazards to any partnership are money and airplane time, if either of these are out of balance you are going to have a fight on your hands. Good accounting and reasonable baseline expectations can do a lot to keep your partnership from sinking.
Pay your way
Without good accounting one partner almost invariably starts to think that the other is taking advantage of the arrangement. Often enough it may even be true if one person is using the airplane more than the other, but unequal use of time isn't the whole story.
Every airplane has two kinds of costs
- Fixed costs - Hangar/tiedown, insurance, annual inspection, and problem remediation
- Variable costs - Oil changes, tires, 100 hour inspections, engine overhaul, and other maintenance
The key to keeping a partnership functioning is balancing both kinds of expenses so no partner is paying for too much of either type. A partner who isn't flying still needs to pay their share for parking, insurance, the annual inspection, and other things that randomly break that aren't predictable using the tach meter. In contrast, a partner who is flying a lot needs to be contributing to interval based maintenance such as oil changes, engine overhauls, and other kinds of regular maintenance.
Use your share
Sharing an airplane either means sharing a calendar or rolling the dice every time you want to go flying. The more partners you have the harder it is to keep straight who is planning on using the airplane and when. That feeling of opening an empty hangar with our flight plan in hand is one that none of us ever want to feel.
Keep the partnership together
One of the easiest things you can do to keep your partnership working is keeping a balanced budget. Balanced doesn't just mean that the money you are pooling covers all of the expenses, it also means that you cover your fixed costs with a fixed amount you gather and your variable costs with contributions based on hourly use. You know that you are going to have monthly expenses and annual expenses even if your airplane does nothing but sit there looking pretty. Overhauling the engine is another inevitability of flying, if one partner does all the flying then they should also get to pay for more of the overhaul.
TrackHobbs makes it easy to track how much everyone needs to be contributing by assigning monthly fees for organization members and hourly fees for individual pilots. Even in the smallest partnership you can generate invoices that indicate how much each person needs to contribute to the partnership account for the ongoing maintenance.
With easy to use scheduling tools everyone can make plans to fly the airplane with confidence. If something does go wrong you can enter a maintenance reservation and your partners that have made plans to fly will receive email notifications telling them that there is a problem.
Get started now
It doesn't cost anything to create an organization and try using the system. You can invite members, upload documents like weight and balance certificates, and setup billing. The free tier has the fundamentals for scheduling, use tracking, and accounting. As you use more of the system you can upgrade to get access to advanced features like paperless billing and maintenance interval tracking for less than the cost of a trip or two around the traffic pattern. With the advanced features you can start to enjoy more convenience with paperless flight tickets, maintenance interval warnings, and when you use credit card processing to collect funds from your partners the extra fees charged on the free tier all go away.