Life is busy for Becky Bakeman. As President of RAI Jets, she oversees a business that specialises in many aspects of private jet charter and aviation. With so many strings to their bow, having a smooth payment process in place is essential. Here, Becky tells us how Paynode simplifies the way she sends and receives payments, the pain of managing payments in the past, and why she thinks more companies should get onboard.
I see that RAI Jets has a very broad remit, Becky
Yes, we do a lot of different things. There’s aircraft charter, aircraft management and maintenance, we have hanger space, and we have our own fuel farm so we can fuel our aircraft and those of our hanger tenants.
Our main base is in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but we also manage the airport for the city of Sturgis.
You’ve been an Avinode member for many years too
Oh yes, it seems like forever! We’ve also been using Schedaero for a long time – we’re probably one of the first customers.
We’ve had nothing but good experiences with Avinode and Schedaero, so it was a simple decision to also begin using Paynode. I think I first heard about Paynode through an email from the Avinode guys, or maybe at the Scheduler Dispatcher convention, but I’m glad we made the leap because it’s changed our business massively.
What was life like before Paynode?
As a business, we use a smaller bank – a credit union – and in the past, getting funds wired was not as simple as it should be. Also, we couldn’t accept credit card payments through the bank, so we had to use our own credit card machine. We even tried the credit card payment functionality of our accounting program, but that too was far from ideal.
There are many strands to your business. What challenges does that pose and how does Paynode help with these?
Obviously we see a lot of funds coming in all the time, and we also send a lot out as well, so Paynode helps us keep track of everything.
There’s also plenty of paperwork to do. With Paynode, it’s so nice to have all our documentation already filled out for the companies we work with regularly. I’d say that having all that information saved – so I don’t have to type it in every time when dealing with a repeat customer – is the feature I love best about Paynode.
The old way would see me complete a form by hand, scan it in, then fax it to my bank because they wouldn’t accept email. Then I’d have to wait for them to call me back, review the form with me and make sure I am who I say I am before approving the release of funds. Even then, things didn’t always go smoothly.
Now, I just go into Paynode, fill out the information once and hit send. Then I get my email confirmation. It’s that easy.
So no more having to deal with banks around incoming funds
Thankfully not. In the past, our credit union used an intermediary bank, so funds would go to a bigger bank first, then to our bank, then into our account.
The problem is that there’s often a step that customers would miss, so the funds would go to the big bank and sit there in limbo because they didn’t know where to put them. I would have to make countless phone calls to sort things out.
Now, with Paynode, I have no issues. The funds go in and we’re ready to go.
It must be nice having everything in one system
Yes, it really is. I like to have all my charter funds in one place so when I reconcile that account, all I’m looking at are my flights.
In my other bank I have all sorts of funds going in and out – everything from buying jet fuel and landing fees to catering and office supplies – so it’s very helpful to isolate those funds that are specifically related to our aircrafts’ movements.
Are there any other features in Paynode that you find really useful?
In the past, once every couple of years, I’d have a customer in, say Canada, trying to send me funds. It was always a fiasco. But with Paynode there’s no problem thanks to the different currency accounts we have set up. Dealing with different currencies is now effortless.
Would you recommend Paynode to other companies in the aviation space?
I would definitely recommend Paynode. It’s simple and makes life easier.
For us – because we also use Avinode and Schedaero – everything is joined up and it works so well. There are so many little details that save us time. For example, I know that all my wire information is on my quotes, which is one less thing for me to think about.
The good thing is that I’m starting to see a lot more companies coming onboard now. It used to be that I was the only one in my network that I saw with the little Paynode symbol, but that’s defiantly changing.
Would you like to save time for your charter operations team and ensure all your flight planning tools are connected? Explore the benefits of Schedaero’s many seamless integrations with the most common flight planning software.
Explore the synergy between business aviation and finance with FlexFlight's CFO, Ole Dannemand. Gain insights into optimizing financial workflows by managing charter payments for booked flights, revealing key challenges and opportunities for CFOs in the industry.