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.
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. The more consultations we do, the less the industry surprises me.
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.
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. That’s just fine by us. We have been and will be in this business for the long haul.
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.
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.
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