Seriously, It's nothing official yet. I'm bound and determined to keep it on the line. It's the only twin at Addison thats reasonably affordable to use for multi training.
If price isn't the detracting factor, why isn't it flying more? How has your school been marketing it? How easy is it to schedule? Are your MEIs good instructors and easy to work with? There are *soooo* many factors to look at beyond price.
Monarch is the only other place on the field that has twin training. I was in there the other day and they were renting one of thier Duchesses for 350 an hour, my jaw damn near hit the floor!!
Is it flying? If it is, obviously price is not the determining factor for keeping a plane in the air. They must have found a way to attract customers to it regardless of price and hopefully they're turning a profit. If it's not flying, then who cares what it rents for because both your school and Monarch are losing money as both twins sit on the ramp.
I'm considering seriously slashing my fee down to a pittance just so I can keep the thing flying.
Do whatever you want, but I'd strongly advise against this idea. Here's one of many rules for running a flight school: If you try to compete on price alone, you'll lose every time. Competing on price only works for commodities that are all virtually identical (gas stations, for instance). You need to find a way to sell your product based on other qualities.
Sell it on the idea that your instructors are more available, more experienced, more professional, the airport is a shorter commute for your clients, the plane can carry more and go faster than any other plane in your fleet, imagine the trips they can take that they hadn't considered taking before...I don't know...tell potential customers it's just a heck of a lot more fun to shove two throttles forward. What an awesome way to have a good time and improve their skills while resetting their IPC/BFR requirements. Play on their egos, ask them how many of their pilot friends are multi-engine rated, show them they're joining an elite group of aviators. I don't know what will do the trick for your operation, but go out and start hustling based on almost anything other than price.
Have you cold called any former clients who might have the slightest interest in getting a multi-engine rating? Call them up and find out why they haven't gotten their multi rating yet, and don't take price for the answer--if they really were motivated to get it, they'd come up with the money. A few grand is nothing for somebody who's motivated. A VFR G1000 checkout at my flight school costs about $700. I routinely give checkouts to pilots who don't have a lot of cash and I'm surprised want to invest that kind of money. They do it for no other reason than the fact that it's new, fun, interesting, something different, and somewhat useful. Why would a multi rating be any different?
How about the multi-engine rated former renters? Why did they stop renting it? Call them up and find out. Again, don't take price for an answer. Ask them why they weren't the cool guy who rolled up to the last pancake breakfast in a twin rather than a lame old 152.
Also, how is your twin perceived by the instructors/staff at your school? Do they ever make comments, even jokingly, about how it's expensive/wasteful/anything else negative about flying it? If not, great. If so, put a stop to that immediately. It's all on a subconscious level, but it's telling potential customers they'd be stupid to fly the thing any more than absolutely necessary. When was the last time you heard a BMW salesperson joke about how only rich old SOBs buy his cars? Never, right? That's because it may or may not be true, but he doesn't want any of his customers to think to themselves, "Gee, I want to be known as a rich old SOB, I think I should buy one of his BMWs." The way your staff refer to their own product plays a huge role in what customers think to themselves.
First they sell the RG, now they might be gettin rid of the twin. As rewarding as teaching primary students is, I'd like to expand my horizons a bit, and this move is going to seriously limit my student base not to mention put an abrupt halt on my career.
Haha...no offense, but I have to call BS on this.
Getting rid of the twin is not going to limit your student base, as you yourself said it hardly ever flies. How can something limit you if you're not using it? I haven't taught at an operation with a twin in years and I still have more business than I can handle.
Second, halt your career? Come on...aside from the fact that pretty much everyone's careers are halted right now no matter where they're at or what they're flying, access to a twin is not the determining factor in career movement. I know numerous pilots who have had successful careers without ever working as MEIs. All this means is that your career progression is changing course, not halting.