Confused yet? You're not alone.
OK, you've seen countless web sites, most insisting that they sell the NUMBER ONE PARAMOTOR in America or Kentucky or where ever. Who can you trust? With so many manufacturers, models, engines, hang systems and so forth, how can someone who has never even seen a paramotor, let alone flown one, decide which one to buy? How?!?!
Don't worry. The answer is so simple!
You're going to love this. All you need is a little inside information on how the paramotor business works along with a little common sense and your eyes will be wide open. Here we go.
Why do manufacturers try to sell what they make?
Ever go into a Ford dealership and have a salesman try to sell you a brand new Chevy? How about an Apple Store offering HP laptops? The reason you don't see that is that Ford and Apple make big margins on the products that they manufacture. Now let's say you walk into a used car lot or a Best Buy. These retailers sell whatever. They're not manufacturers so they have no incentive to push a particular brand. You're starting to see it, aren't you.
Avoid the biggest mistake ever
Never buy from a manufacturer or a distributor. They are biased because they make a pile of money if they sell you what they manufacture or distribute, so of course they are going to tell you that what they sell is the best! And it may be the best but there is no amount of research or reading or YouTubing that's going to enable you to know whether what they are selling is in fact the best for your weight, your age, your height, your climate, and your budget.
Myth 1: buying from the manufacturer means better service
Manufacturers have the best web sites, and it's money well spent. Many manufacturers do more retail sales than their entire dealer network combined. What would Ford dealers do if the Ford factory started selling direct? Anyway, the warm and fuzzy feeling you get talking to the manufacturer with the fancy web site typically won't help in two very important areas: instruction and service. Most customers who buy a paramotor direct from the manufacturer far from the factory, which in some cases is a barn. If possible, you are better off purchasing from and training with a local instructor who makes half as much as the factory on a direct sale, isn't biased, and knows you, your equipment and local weather patterns. The manufacturer's favorite customers are the ones that buy direct and are far away.
Myth 2: buying from the manufacturer is cheaper
The manufacturer is counting on the fact that you aren't concerned about finding an instructor. He is hoping that you are like most shoppers in that the number one priority is getting the best gear at a great price, and sort out the training later. But the problem with that line of thinking is that instructors need that gear commission because the training fee is not enough. Most instructors charge AT LEAST $1000 MORE if you already have a wing and a motor. So if the manufacturer uncuts his dealers and offers you a $500 discount, you will actually be losing $500 by purchasing from the manufacturer.
There are many other myths... you need "lots of power", electric start, and a tandem capable unit for flying with friends and family. Yup, you'll probably find someone that will say what you want to hear, especially if they are too far away to have to train you.
So in case you haven't figured it out yet, buy gear from your local instructor. Whether that's Lite Touch Films or any of the many qualified instructors around the country. If San Diego is too far for you, call us and we'll give you a recommendation for an instructor in your area.
Remember, when you call the number on that slick paramotor web site, don't forget to ask if you are talking to manufacturer or distributor of paramotor gear.