Any mechanics in the forum?

PilotsDad

New Member
I have been asked by my son and one of his friends to financially back the start up of a maintenance shop. They have a good business plan and the competition in the area seems vulnerable. His friend has all the certifications and about 10 years in the industry woking on everything from light A/C to commercial jets. My son is a CFI with a lot of experience doing work on our airplane under the direction of his friend. They have some good contacts ,but they are going to have to build a clientel. Anybody had any experience in start-ups? How long does it take to build a decent clientel? Everything looks good and I can afford to take the risk, but I don't know much about the industry. Your advice/opinions pro and con would be appreciated.
 

kostcoguy

New Member
I don't know where you are but I think that you may be underestimating the local competition saying the are, "vulnerable". If they do a good job it will be harder to start gaining clients. But good luck none-the-less!
 

C650CPT

Well-Known Member
I can't answer the questions for you, but here is something to consider. A person who is a good mechanic may not neccessarily make a good business person. When I was a plumber I serioulsy considered going into my own business, I actaully did a lot of side work. I was often complimented on my mechanical skills and craftmanship and made a good name for myself. The problem for me was I did not have a business sense and in short time would have run myself amuck with financial mismanagement. If you help out I would recommend that defined roles would be agreed upon based upon individual strengths and for accountability to the business partners. Another thing while your son likes airplanes and sees having a shop as an advantage to being around them more ... there is alot of work and liability that goes into having a maintenance shop. He may have a passion for aiplanes but the business could become his master and possibly spoil his first love.
All that said, no one can tell you to do or not to do it. I trust that if you all go in on it that it will be profitable, and benificial to your relationships. Good Luck.
 

Caccamise

New Member
I do not know to what extent your financial backing will go, but it is NOT going to be cheap. If they had all the equipment necessary to go into business on their own: Full line of hand tools, power tools, airframe tools, electronic testing equipment (extremely exspensive) and other non-destructive tesing equipment, etc. The list goes on and on and can easily add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars! That is only the cheap part of it though. Usually the lease agreement on airport property is quite costly, and the next question is do you have to build the hangar. Yes, they can save money by sending parts out to specialized repair shops if they don't have the equipment for any particular testing and repair, but are these places in your local area for a quick return after repair. If they have to depe
 

Caccamise

New Member
I do not know to what extent your financial backing will go, but it is NOT going to be cheap. If they had all the equipment necessary to go into business on their own: Full line of hand tools, power tools, airframe tools, electronic testing equipment (extremely exspensive) and other non-destructive tesing equipment, etc. The list goes on and on and can easily add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars! That is only the cheap part of it though. Usually the lease agreement on airport property is quite costly, and the next question is do you have to build the hangar. Yes, they can save money by sending parts out to specialized repair shops if they don't have the equipment for any particular testing and repair, but are these places in your local area for a quick return after repair. If they have to depend more on the repair station because they don't have the tools to do the job, what does that tell their customers - they will know. It is a great idea, but they need a significant amount of financial backing and they must have the responsibility of having employed mechanics depend on them for their paychecks. Starting a business is slow, especially getting your name out their. Nothing is impractical or impossible, but maybe they need more money than they realize. If they can buy an already established business - great. Good Luck!
 

MQAAord

Scheherazade
Staff member
Interesting, my dad just finished building his hanger to do the very same thing! He's been an A&P (with IA) for about 10 years now. He's teaching aviation maintenance at a community college, and is not planning on quitting teaching until the business is very well established, if even then. He was the Director of Maintenance for an FBO on the field, and many of the people who had him work on their planes will be bringing their planes to him at his new location. He's got a fairly good customer base, but it is all about networking. He befriended the AA pilots in the hanger next door who do aerobatic instruction, they've already promised to send some business his way. I'll talk to him tonight and see what advice he can offer!
 

Caccamise

New Member
This is exactly true. If your starting a general aviation mechanic shop, you need to know people (clientele) for a decent and perhaps promising start. Besides the limited people that you do know will only need the periodic inspections. The owner/operator can keep an aircraft clean and looking good, but it is the pilot that creates wear and tear on the aircraft. The main consideration is: how often are their aircraft flown. It takes time for your name to spread to be successful, if not advertising which cost even more money. Starting fresh not knowing aircraft owners (GA) will be challenging and perhaps slow or difficult and you are limited to the air traffic coming in and out of that particular airport. Any business is successful according to Location, Location, Location!
As far as talking to professional pilots (from corporate or commercial) most don't own their own aircraft because of their employee traveling benfits, and they are happy enough flying the big boys full-time every week. I am trying to not be negative about this because I believe in potential, but the more money that you have to invest, the more successful you'll be.
 
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