Hiring a cell tower consultant provides a remarkable advantage at every step along the way of the cell tower leasing process. In this complicated industry, no other company even comes close to CellWaves’s 70+ years of experience. Whether you’re looking at a new lease, renewal, modification, or an extension, with so much at stake, you need to employ the very best team to protect your interests. It’s our goal to help you achieve the best possible outcome when negotiating with wireless carriers and cell tower companies.
The Role of a Cell Tower Consultant
As a property owner contemplating in a cell tower lease, you’ll find that a cell tower consultant can provide invaluable services at every stage of the negotiations. Wireless carriers have their own team of professionals looking out for their interests, so it’s imperative for you to have support on your side by employing a cell tower consultant with expertise in handling talks with these carriers. Our consultants have extensive experience in this area, and it’s our passion to represent the landlord’s best interests.
A cell tower consultant assists the landlord in getting better terms on the lease, protects your assets, and is your staunch advocate throughout negotiations. Since the consultant is familiar with industry-specific guidelines for what is appropriate for your particular cell site, he or she can make sure your rights are protected when terms are written into the lease. We also understand the building structural and electrical implications, aesthetics, property value, insurance, and type and frequency of tenant access, just to name a few common issues a landlord might not think about. Our consultants recognize the value of your land to the wireless carriers, and will advocate on your behalf to make sure you receive fair market value.
You can’t trust the wireless carriers or tower companies to be on your side, but a consultant is always your trusted resource.
What a Cell Tower Consultant Can Do for You
A cell tower lease consultant can help guide you through what can be very lengthy and overwhelming negotiations to make sure you receive the best rate and terms possible. You’ll be educated on every aspect of the contract when entering into an agreement with the wireless carrier, and we’ll help guard against surprise consequences. Here are some examples of specific situations where a CellWaves consultant can be an asset to you:
- Perhaps someone has approached you regarding a lease buyout, or you are just at the initial stages of negotiating a lease. A consultant is qualified to determine the value of your property and negotiate with the wireless carriers to get you a fair price for rent and appropriate terms for your specific property.
- Cell tower lease consultants can also help with negotiations if you’re up for a lease renewal. Even if you feel you received adequate compensation for the first portion of the lease agreement, don’t assume that the property has the same value now. Demographic changes, commercial interests, and inflation are always issues to consider, and terms can always be renegotiated.
- A consultant can help you with your specific property questions because a lot of questions will need to be addressed during these lengthy and complicated negotiations. Who pays for the utility use? What if the tower equipment damages the property? If it’s a rooftop site, will the equipment be safe for tenants in the building? Who is responsible for roofing repairs? What are the building access and safety guidelines?
CellWaves has abundant experience in the cell tower industry, consulting, and negotiating for landlords in almost every state in the U.S. You can trust a CellWaves consultant to protect your assets and prioritize your needs.
What Your Consultant Will Watch Out For
Some parts of a lease will set off red flags for your consultant, because he or she knows they’re not in the best interest of the landlord. One red flag to be aware of is when a wireless carrier offers to raise their rent, for example, by offering a 15% increase every five years.
Because of our experience, your CellWaves consultant will correct this because we know it’s a much better arrangement to receive a 3% increase every year than to get a larger percentage only every several years. The carriers will bank on misleading the landlord into thinking they’re offering a really great deal, when they’re actually only looking out for their own bottom line.
Also note that carriers will frequently include a clause in the lease that forbids the landlord from selling the property during the lease agreement period of time. This can be a major problem for the landlord, and it doesn’t need to be included in the lease at all. Without a consultant, the wireless carrier will often include this limitation, and the landlord might not realize, until later, what a hassle it will be for them.
Who Can Benefit from a Consultant
One of our main goals is that a cell site will not contribute to devaluation of your property. Whether you are considering a long-term or short-term contract, our cell tower lease consultants work with landowners of all different types of property and different interests pertaining to their cell sites to maximize return and protect their assets.
Private Landowners: Whether you own a small parcel of land, a 100-acre farm, or a building with rooftop value to wireless carriers, we have the unique expertise to provide you with options, insights, and protection for your cell site lease.
Commercial Landowners: We know your priority is to maximize the net operating income (NOI) as a commercial property owner. Whether you are a property owner who is an owner/user or a multimillion-dollar commercial real estate company, CellWaves is well versed in providing presentations and reports to property managers and owner groups in order to document the return on investment (ROI) of our services.
HOAs and Condo Complexes: Homeowners Associations want to maximize income opportunities to offset their many expenses. Whether you are a small HOA or a 20-story condominium, we can help you with your specific cell tower lease needs while also helping you navigate various owner/tenant interests.
Municipalities and Government Organizations: Our lease experts have worked with municipalities and governments all over the country. We have a solid understanding of municipal processes and can often provide PowerPoint presentations and other materials to help you pitch your specific idea to the city council.
Malls and Shopping Centers: We understand you want to get the most NOI possible for your property. Whether you are a strip mall or a large urban shopping center, we can help you with the intricacies your specific cell site lease needs.
Hotels and Motels: Whether you operate a large hotel in an urban metropolis or a small motel in a rural town, we can help you take advantage of your cell site lease needs. Our experts have worked with hundreds of hotels and motels over the past few decades, and we can use that experience to your advantage.
Religious Institutions and Non-Profit Organizations: A cell tower lease can provide your institution or organization the income it needs to help offset expenses. We understand you want to help your community in the best possible way and may not always have the resources available to take advantage of the opportunity when approached with a cell site proposition.
School Districts: School districts own many properties, but health concerns about cell towers near schools and playgrounds can be sensitive. We assist school districts navigating through these issues with smart site selections, antenna containment, and other means to mitigate any questions concerning safety.
Understanding a Lease
Negotiating a cell tower lease requires a wide range of skills that the average landlord may not possess. A typical lease could easily be a 50-page document, and it addresses a multitude of important areas including engineering drawings, antenna mount instructions, changes to the building facade, access easements, power and telco easements, construction drawings, trenching locations, etc. When you’re in the beginning stages, the wireless carrier will usually present a lease agreement for you. If it’s a lease renewal, it will be shorter than the 50-page average, because it references the entire body of the original lease, plus it amends it.
Just a few of the key items addressed in a lease include the number of years the contract will last, how renewals will take place, who pays and provides for insurance, how termination will be handled, what kind of access the wireless carrier will have to the landlord’s property, who is responsible for maintenance, who pays taxes, allocation of risks and liabilities to landlords, and so much more. As you can see, it’s a complex document that focuses on a variety of essential issues.
What Affects Your Lease Rate
If a landlord doesn’t have experience in negotiating cell tower leases, he or she may be surprised by some of the information known by consultants in the area of lease rates. A few things that may have an impact are listed below:
- One main issue centers around supply and demand. If the wireless carrier desperately needs your property, obviously they’re going to pay more than they would if your property was one of many they could choose from. Usually, they employ a “search ring” when looking for construction on new property. This includes a few properties that could meet the criteria set for this particular wireless carrier. Your property may or may not be one of the ideal locations. Having hands-on RF engineering experience to assess whether a location is a primary candidate, or a secondary server, will immensely advantages the property owner because it affects how negotiations is conducted to make sure the landlord’s property become the primary candidate in the search ring.
- A second issue affecting your lease rate for new construction involves the capital improvements cost. A lot of expense goes into constructing a new tower, so the wireless carriers and tower companies are extremely careful about their location choices. Understanding and having worked directly in managing cell tower and rooftop construction and factors influencing their costs, risks, and timing will help consultants work with the wireless carriers and tower companies manage their costs, thereby help make CellWaves’ clients sites become most favored and highest valued for wireless companies. This is one of the many ways CellWaves applies its real-world wireless engineering, leasing, zoning, construction and operational experience with wireless carriers to help advance our Clients’ interests.
The following are surprising pieces of information that do not generally affect lease rates:
- The actual size of your property shouldn’t affect the lease rate, although the wireless carriers may try to offer it as a reason for a lower rate. This is not a valid reason to offer lower rent, and a CellWaves consultant would be aware of this when negotiating with the wireless carriers.
- Another poor indicator of your lease rate is what other landlords are receiving for their cell tower leases. The wireless carriers or tower companies may have given that person a bad rate, so you can’t base what is appropriate on someone else’s lease agreement. Each cell site has a specific set of criteria to meet, and each one has a different value
This is just a small sample of many issues that can affect your lease rate, but it demonstrates the importance of having a CellWaves consultant on your side who can negotiate the best deal for you. Our advice is data driven so you can trust our recommendations, and you can feel confident during the process because our consultants are highly skilled in this area.
Making Your Property Available for a Cell Tower
Perhaps you’ve not been approached by a carrier, but you are looking for rental income and have property you think would be suitable for a cell tower. There are steps you can take to begin the process, but be aware, wireless carriers are extremely particular about where they put their cell towers. Many who try to obtain one will fail to do so. However, it doesn’t hurt to at least examine what might be required, and a consultant can help navigate this process. CellWaves has mapped every cell tower in America for this purpose.
Mainly, you’ll want to examine your local area, to see if there are other cell towers already in existence. This will lead you to also take a look at zoning requirements for your property. Generally, areas zoned for residential use cannot be zoned for cell tower installations. Other factors that make a cell site more appealing include a lack of trees to block the signals, being on a hill, or having high-profile customers who would benefit from the cell tower near their area.
If you feel that you meet all these requirements, you can submit your property for consideration via the wireless carriers’ websites. We have included all those contacts here for your convenience. (show hyperlink) Once you’ve sent the required information, the final step is to be patient and wait to hear back from the wireless carriers. If you are fortunate enough to be selected, that is an ideal time to contact a consultant.
Steps to Hiring a Cell Tower Consultant
Once you’ve been contacted by a carrier, whether you marketed your property or they called you on their own, you don’t want to delay in expressing your interest. Frequently, the site acquisition agent gets paid when he or she completes certain tasks, such as the signing of a lease. So, a delay on your part could mean the rental income goes to someone else. However, too anxious of an acceptance could mean that you are leaving behind hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table over the life of the lease because you did not fully appreciate the value of your property from an RF engineering standpoint.
Contacting CellWaves during this early phase creates a distinct advantage for the landlord. Knowing when, how, and what to ask of the carriers can be key in the early discussions. Most landlords never get the proper follow-ups because they do not know how to present their in the best possible light. We know the exact purpose of those initial contacts and how to control that phase of development.
When seeking to hire a cell tower consultant, you’ll want to look for certain key elements. For one, make sure they have a proven record of good results. Make sure they have real world experience working for a wireless carrier in their past so they know what goes on on the other side of the negotiating table. Be careful with consultants who claim to be experts when in fact all they have done was to have worked in leasing call centers in their past professional lives. Another important aspect is understanding all the fees involved in the consultation. Insist on a compensation arrangement that is results-based. Too often we find landlords receiving large consultation bills for failed negotiations. You do not want to owe consultants tens of thousands of dollars for scaring away wireless companies. At CellWaves, we are so confident in our abilities that we never charge a fee unless and until the property owner receives income.
And finally, make sure you’ll enjoy working with the consultant team. If you’re going to feel uncomfortable contacting him or her with questions, it defeats the whole purpose of having a consultant. Your consultant should always demonstrate professional and courteous behavior, welcome the smallest questions, always available for your calls and communications, and be someone who you’re proud to have represent you with the wireless carriers.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
Sometimes clients feel that they should obtain an attorney for legal counsel, and we have a large network of professionals we’ve worked with in the past that we can recommend to our clients if you are interested in an attorney’s services.
Some key differences exist between a cell tower attorney and a cell tower consultant. The key difference is ability to give legal advice. While your cell tower consultant can give advice on numerous issues, he or she isn’t able to give specific legal advice like an attorney can offer. A cell tower attorney should have expertise in knowing the laws governing your cell tower lease, but may be clueless in navigating engineering drawings, property values pertaining to fair market value for your specific property, or industry practices. not have experience negotiating with the carriers and knowing which terms could potentially kill the deal. This latter part is where a cell tower consultant becomes a major asset.
On the other hand, your CellWaves consultant has vast experience working with clients and advocating for them during negotiations with wireless carriers. It’s our passion and area of specialization because it’s the only thing we do. We find it helpful to negotiate the contracts and then have a client’s attorney review the contract in the final stages. This allows us to focus on our strengths and generally saves the client thousands of dollars in attorney fees.
Something else to keep in mind is that your attorney may be licensed to practice in only one state, which could negatively impact their ability to advocate for you if you have cell tower properties in multiple states. Your CellWaves consultant has experience in multiple locations, and researches how your cell tower lease is impacted by the particular region it’s in.
What Could Happen Without a Consultant
Some landlords can be tempted to forgo using a consultant, and simply negotiate on their own. The inherent danger is not having access to the knowledge that a CellWaves consultant possesses. An unsuspecting landlord might focus primarily on rent, and overlook the rest of the terms. This allows the wireless carriers and tower companies to have the advantage because non-financial terms are crucial, especially where rooftop leases are concerned.
Many who choose to negotiate without a consultant end up regretting it because they didn’t anticipate various issues that arose later, especially in the non-financial side of the lease agreement. At CellWaves, no landlord issues ever come as a surprise. We’ve seen both sides, and our experience allows us to craft language that protects our landlords’ future rights against carriers and tower companies.
Why Choose CellWaves
We believe CellWaves is the best choice for any landlord because our staff has truly been in this business since the wireless industry first launched in 1994 and we have seen it all. Our staff has been responsible for the engineering, operation, leasing, zoning, construction, operation, and upgrading of cell towers, as well as tower financing. All of these variables directly impact each property owners’ specific interests and rights in cell tower lease transactions.
Our team also includes members with industry experience on the other side of cell tower leasing–the wireless carrier’s side–so we have firsthand knowledge of how they operate.
Another great benefit of using the team at CellWaves is that we have a long-term relationship with our clients even after the leases have been signed. We’re often contacted by our clients to address questions or concerns throughout the duration of the lease. In fact, our interaction with the property owner extends many years beyond our contracted services because we know the landlords’ situations, the lease terms, and industry contacts.
Another great benefit of hiring a CellWaves consultant is that you have little to lose, and much to gain. We don’t charge a fee until we deliver value directly to you, the landlord. CellWaves is results-oriented, and everything we do demonstrates that value. We don’t charge for providing information or highlighting options available to you. We even put our financial arrangement in writing for you, so there won’t be surprises. We are proud of the fact that we only charge a fee when we deliver results for you. We’re simply confident in our ability to bring about a good outcome and know that our clients feel the same.
You can be assured that a remarkable team will handle your unique cell tower lease situation, whether you’re in the beginning stages, negotiating a lease renewal, responding to a potential buyout, or any similar situation. Here are some of the team members at CellWaves who are looking forward to putting their expertise to work for you:
Tung Bui (CEO)
Tung Bui, CEO of CellWaves, Inc., has spent 27 years of his professional career in the telecommunications industry. He began his career in the wireless industry right when the FCC began to auction wireless spectrum licenses in 1994. This was Day 1 of the modern-day cell phone industry. Tung was the executive director responsible for the RF engineering, real estate leasing (site acquisition), zoning, construction, and network deployment of West Coast markets for a start-up company called Western Wireless, which grew to become VoiceStream Wireless and then re-branded to T-Mobile USA.
With an electrical engineering degree from Oregon State University and a law degree from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark, Tung founded an engineering company to help wireless carriers deploy their latest voice and data wireless infrastructures. Along with providing engineering resources and real estate deployment personnel to develop sites for wireless carriers, Tung saw the need to balance the fairness scale by representing wireless landlords. He assembled a team of industry veterans who were passionate about equalizing the expertise imbalance between landowners and wireless carriers.
Tung’s value to wireless landlords is derived from his vast experience in working the other side of the leases for wireless carriers. He managed the national deployment of 3G and 4G technology upgrades across the U.S. for T-Mobile USA and knows how to get landlords to authorize free equipment upgrades at tower and rooftop locations. Many wireless leases landlords signed with T-Mobile were countersigned by Tung in his capacity as its Engineering and Site Development Executive Director and Acting Vice President of Network Engineering.
Today, Tung focuses his attention on helping wireless landlords get the most out of their wireless leases by providing them with insider information about the industry. He accomplishes this by focusing CellWaves staff on things that matter most: dispel myths about the industry, leases, terms, valuation, and engineering, and then apply that knowledge to negotiate the best terms for our wireless landlord clients.
Larry Heuchert (President)
Larry has been involved with the wireless industry since 1987, and possesses in-depth insider knowledge of the industry’s workings. He’s completed over 2,500 wireless leases during his career, both in the U.S. and Canada. His additional experience includes more than 25 years in corporate finance and consulting for private property owners.
Larry has more than thirty years of wireless experience with a number of carriers and tower corporations. His focus has been contract negotiations, finding solutions to complex issues, and creating strategies for companies. His focus is to work with private property owners, concentrating on increasing rental income and lease purchases.
Trust Our Experience
At CellWaves, we’ve been in this industry for a combined 75 years, and it’s our area of expertise to negotiate with the wireless carriers and make sure that the landlords receive a fair deal. When referring to our experience, it includes a broad spectrum of industry-specific knowledge. See some examples below:
- Thorough Understanding of RF engineering. There are no substitutes to having RF engineering experience when assessing the value of a cell site. This is important because consultants must understand the coverage objective of a cell site. What is its purpose? How important is it to the carriers? What other alternate sites (competition) would serve the engineering purpose? How strategic is the landlord’s site to the overall network design? Answers to these questions have a direct effect on the amount of rent and negotiated lease terms.
- Experienced in Zoning, Land Use, and Conditions of Approvals. On its face, a novice “negotiator” would not understand the implication that zoning has to the value of the lease. To CellWaves, however, understanding zoning is the difference between getting maximum rental dollars for our clients and getting average rental amounts.
- Understand Construction Issues, Costs, and Risks. Many lease “negotiators” never discuss these points because they do not understand the implications of this level of knowledge and the value it brings to landlords. To have a deep understanding of wireless construction, which is very different from any other forms of residential and commercial construction, is being able to protect, defend, and negotiate landlord property rights; business and legal risks; and have a negotiating advantage along with top dollars for wireless landlords.
- Experienced Insiders from Wireless Carrier Operations. Having worked inside a wireless carrier operation means having an understanding of their processes, thinking, priorities, values, and contacts. This is extremely important since your consultants may need to escalate a matter beyond the wireless carriers’ agents, and the consultant must know how to go about it correctly. Anticipation of wireless carriers’ moves is also very important, which can only be done with insider experience.
- Has a Support Team of Professionals to Advance Wireless Clients’ Interests. A successful consultancy company must be more than a one-man show. The company must have a team of people with varied skills and experience and a network of supporting staff to smoothly process transactions for clients.
- Has Wide Ranging Industry Contacts. Contacts are important, and the information gathered from the industry on a case-by-case basis has proven to be invaluable for our clients.
CellWaves meets all the above conditions, and nowhere else can you find this combination of experience, skills, and passion to deliver incredible values for our clients.
Don’t disadvantage yourself by hiring inexperienced self-professed internet “negotiators” working on one of your most valuable assets. Anyone can call themselves “expert negotiators.” Be sure to look at their credentials and work experience to decide for yourself. We have negotiated thousands of cell site transactions on behalf of property owners. Call us anytime for a no-obligation consultation.