You may find it surprising for Steel in the Air to admit other good cell site lease consultants exist. On occasion, we must refer business to other consultants because we are too busy or have a conflict of interest.
However bad consultants exist as well, including some who have been disciplined for unethical behavior. With so many self-proclaimed experts, how can the average landowner tell the difference between them? Here are the factors we believe are important.
1. A good cell tower consultant has a long history of working with landowners.
When I started this business over 17 years ago, I thought I knew a lot about lease negotiations and towers. I assumed it would be easy to switch sides and work for landowners by reversing what I did before. Boy, was I wrong. Every year and even to this day, I learn more about the unique business of consulting for landowners with cell site leases. Every year, we add more data to our industry-leading lease and tower database. And the more consultations we do, the less the industry surprises me.
2. A good cell tower consultant is trustworthy and works only with landowners.
Some of our competitors like to “double dip” – that means they do work for tower companies, lease buyout companies, and landowners. They get paid on both sides of the equation or even worse, they will get you an offer, but keep part of it for themselves.
Some neglect to tell you this. Some make offers to purchase your lease only so they can flip it at a very handsome profit. We consult only with landowners and small tower companies. When you work with us, you can rest assured we only get paid by you. We will even put it in writing.
3. The consultant listens to you.
It may seem logical for someone you are considering spending money on to listen to you, but it doesn’t always happen.
When you talk to our competitors, do they spend most of the time talking? Do they repeatedly tell you why you should hire them and that you are making a mistake if you don’t hire them immediately? Do they immediately offer to buy your lease? Do they come across like “used car salesmen”? Do you feel dirty just talking to them? Do they interrupt you frequently to tell you what they think?
When you call us, we will listen to you. We will ask intelligent questions about your situation and let you tell us what you need. If you aren’t sure, we will share some options. We won’t push you to hire us or badger you to sign up for a contingency agreement. And if you choose not to use our services, we will not sell or share your information with lease buyout companies.
If we evaluate your lease and situation and find that we can’t help you or that you will be best served by waiting, we will tell you that. Our business goal is to provide landowners and tower owners with intelligent guidance, even if it doesn’t result in near term revenue. Some people that contact us and to whom we provide free guidance don’t end up retaining us for 5-10 years. And that’s just fine by us. We have been and will be in this business for the long haul.
4. The good cell site lease consultant has assisted hundreds of other clients in similar situations.
The old saying is you can’t know what you don’t know, and 15 years in, we aren’t foolish enough to suggest we know it all. However, we unequivocally know more than our competitors by a wide margin. When you have provided services to 4,000-plus actual paying clients, we learn quickly what we didn’t know before. We aren’t suggesting every situation is the same, but they are similar in most cases. Would you rather go to a doctor who has helped 5 or 10 people in your predicament or one that has seen this issue hundreds or thousands of times?
When a situation isn’t cut and dry, we still have far more experience than our nearest competitors – and we know how to handle it.
5. The ideal consultant has hundreds of legitimate references.
Read our competitors’ testimonials – do they sound like a real person wrote them? Do they follow similar patterns or look glossy and prepared? Are there just a handful of them? Our testimonials are from real people in their own words. We didn’t solicit them or pay our clients to provide them. We didn’t write them for our clients. We didn’t send a film crew to their house to produce the testimonials.
Please ask to talk to our clients directly. We will gladly provide you with phone numbers or email addresses for real people with real situations that are most similar to yours. About 40% of our business is from repeat clients who were thrilled with our services.
6. The best cell tower lease consultant has data – lots of it.
One reason it is hard for landowners to do their own negotiations is that the cell tower lease market is “inefficient.” It is inefficient because the tower company or wireless carrier has data from all their leases, while the landowner has data from one or perhaps a handful of leases. No other lease consultant has spent more money or time on aggregating data. Fortunately for landowners who retain us, we have by far the best database in the business – beyond those the tower companies and wireless carriers have. Our database contains over 13,000 leases, over 2,000 lease buyout offers and sales, 1,500 lease extension offers or amendments, and 300 separate tower portfolio sales.
We have better data regarding tower location – with 300,000 tower data points and 100,000 cell site location data points. We use this data in every assessment or consultation; therefore, we don’t guess at what a lease is worth; we know exactly. We don’t blindly guess where other carriers are in your area. We help make the market more efficient for you.
7. The cell tower lease consultant is a recognized expert in the field.
Anyone with a website can call themselves an expert. Look around and you will see no shortage of people advertising that they are experts in the industry. When the industry gets slow, the number of “experts” somehow increases. So how can you verify who is an expert and who is not? Look at their credentials- search for their name on the internet. Here’s what you will find on us:
- • We have been quoted in reputable newspapers like the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and The New York Times on wireless infrastructure-related topics.
- • We are regularly quoted by industry trade journals like Fierce Wireless, RCR News, Light Reading, Inside Towers, and Wireless Estimator.
- • We have 15,000 wireless industry connections on LinkedIn who enjoy our regular content about the industry (follow us at https://www.linkedin.com/in/celltowerleaseexpert/).
- • We have been recognized as an expert in multiple trials on the topics of lease valuation and tower valuation.
- • We have been retained by the largest companies in the world, including Walmart, Disney, CSX, and McDonald’s. We have also done work for multiple federal agencies, departments, and services, including the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Veterans Administration, the US Navy, and the US Postal Service. We have been retained by large utilities, large cities, and multiple state agencies.
- • We are sought out by investment banks like Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo to speak to their large investor clients and to provide expert guidance on wireless infrastructure to the investment community. We also provide custom research products on tower locations and lease rates.
- • We regularly write helpful thought leadership articles on our blog that give free valuable advice with no hook, regardless of whether our readers choose to retain us or not: https://www.steelintheair.com/Blog/.
If you searched for cell tower lease consultants and found this page, you have probably already talked to our competitors. If not, call them. You have done your homework, and that’s great. Now call us and let us demonstrate that we are a better, more honest and ultimately cheaper, option.