How To Start An Aircraft Maintenance Business

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  • Author Michael Sawyer
  • Published December 26, 2022
  • Word count 1,364

Introduction

In this article we’ll break down some key subjects of how to open an aircraft maintenance shop. We’ll talk about how to start an aircraft maintenance shop with the lowest amount of cash possible. If you want an accelerated step by step process of opening an aircraft maintenance shop consider purchasing our How To Start An Aircraft Maintenance Shop Course.

Aircraft maintenance businesses enjoy some of the highest profit margins in the aviation service industry. With typical profit margins ranging from 15 to 25%. With the highest expense areas typically being payroll, hangar rent, and insurance. Many aircraft mechanics gravitate toward the airlines because they think it’s the highest paying aircraft mechanic position. In reality successful aircraft maintenance business owners earn much more and in the long run work a lot less.

Business is business meaning just because you're a great aircraft mechanic doesn’t mean you’ll be a great business owner. After all, one of the main reasons why businesses fail is because the owner becomes defeated with challenges of the business. So what if you didn’t have as many challenges? What if you could dodge the problems, and fast track your way to profitability? It’s all possible and we show you in the How To Start An Aircraft Maintenance Shop Course.

Wait, Don't I Need To Be An Aircraft Mechanic?

No. You don’t have to be an aircraft mechanic to start an aviation maintenance business. In fact aircraft maintenance shops are one of the higher profit margin businesses in the aviation industry. This means there's more cash available to pay an owner who’s not an aircraft mechanic. Having an aircraft mechanics license (A&P license) is going to be a benefit, but it’s not required to own and operate an aircraft maintenance business.

For those wanting to be an aircraft mechanic. One strategy we’ve seen is when an aircraft maintenance business owner works on aircraft under the supervision of a certified aircraft mechanic (one of their employees) to become qualified to test for their A&P license. This on the job training is an acceptable way of getting your aircraft mechanics license.

Why Start An Aircraft Maintenance Business?

Do you have an interest in aviation? Do you like challenges? Do you seek freedom? If you answered yes, then this alone is enough reason to get started. As captain of the ship you’ll have the ability to decide your daily schedule. This doesn’t mean you’ll be able to sit around. Trust me there’s always something to do. The real question is how do you want to spend your time? Watching the clock or building a future for yourself.

If I could show you how to start an aircraft maintenance shop with 550.00 dollars, a laptop, and tool box with basic tools would you believe me? We’ll it doesn’t matter because we’ve done it over and over again. We did it so many times, we created a step by step process and now teach it in our course. After all, the best business is one that you enjoy, requires little upfront investment, and produces lots of cash.

Aircraft Maintenance Businesses Are In Demand

There’s an aircraft maintenance shortage, and with the recent aircraft mechanic forecast provided by the BLS this issue isn’t going to get better anytime soon. In 2022 the General Aviation aircraft fleet size was 211,743. In 2019 their were 4,262 aircraft maintenance shops (This includes large MRO’s too). This is a 50 to 1 ratio of aircraft to mx shops. Were not talking airlines here, were talking general aviation. We’ve seen airports with as many as 130 aircraft based with no aircraft maintenance businesses? Do me a favor look up your closest aircraft maintenance business, call them and ask if their busy. If they say no, then their doing something wrong lol.

How To Start An Aircraft Maintenance Shop With Little Money

In our how to start an aircraft maintenance shop course we focus on teaching individuals how to start an aircraft maintenance business with the smallest investment possible. If planned appropriately you can have very little invested. These steps include selecting a service area, setting up your business, and deploying enough marketing streams.

If you’re already a mechanic or handy man you probably possess many of the tools needed to start an aircraft maintenance company. Sure, their are specialty tools needed to perform different aircraft maintenance procedures, but you can do quite a bit with what you already have laying around. The key to keeping your upfront cost down is to buy what you need when you need it. With your first couple of jobs you can use the profits to pay for the specialty tooling that can be used for future jobs.

Why Start In General Aviation

General Aviation is where every pilot begins his or her journey. It should also be where you start your aircraft maintenance business. Why? It’s the lowest cost area of aviation. With over half the active general aviation fleet being piston aircraft this is a great place to start. In addition, getting in front of these piston aircraft owners is easier than their corporate or airline counterparts.

One of the most cost effective ways to get in front of these aircraft owners is direct mail. Yes I said direct mail. We’ve had on average a 10% response rate for all our direct mailers. This may seam low, but if you get 10 people to respond for every 100 mailers you send then you can build your customer base pretty quickly. See how we’ve mastered the direct mailer method for under .70 cents a mailer in lesson 2.8 Marketing Mailers. We even include the mailer template we use.

Mobile VS Shop Space

When most people think of starting an aircraft maintenance shop they think hangar space. The reality is getting hangar space starting out is just a bad idea unless you can get the hangar at little to no cost per month. Hangar rent is usually one of the top 5 expenses of an aircraft maintenance business. If you start out with a mobile operation (performing aircraft maintenance at customers hangar) you remove this large expense.

Once you have a business built up (revenue) you can then decide if you want hangar space or not. The best businesses are ones that generate lots of cash and have low expenses. If you wanted to keep your operation mobile I wouldn’t blame you.

You may think with a hangar you’ll have all the tooling and materials with you, with mobile aircraft maintenance you don’t. This is true to a certain extent. It depends on what type of maintenance you want to focus on. If you’re going to perform restoration work or painting then having a hangar is almost mandatory. If your doing routine maintenance and inspections then you can carry everything in a mobile aircraft trailer.

Summary

Learning how to start an aircraft maintenance shop will require consistency, dedication, and commitment. It all starts with creating a game plan and goals. Every ship needs a destination unless they just want to sail around burning fuel. Same goes for your business. Start with setting a business opening date two months from the day you commit to opening an aircraft maintenance business.

“GOAL: START AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE BUSINESS TWO MONTHS FROM COMMITTING”

Another cornerstone trait of learning how to start an aircraft maintenance shop is consistency. This means consistently working towards your goals, regardless of what roadblocks you encounter. The more passionate you are about aviation and mechanics the more you’ll be able to endure.

If you’re looking to fast track your maintenance business consider purchasing our how to start an aircraft maintenance shop. This 3 hour 30 min course shows you step by step how to open a shop with little upfront cash. It’s a gathering of knowledge, tools, expertise, failures, and successes that we’ve encountered while opening piston aircraft shops across the country. A course like this will literally short cut hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars while starting your aircraft maintenance business. Good luck, stay consistent, and stay hungry.

Michael Sawyer owns and operates serval aviation related businesses including a nationwide mobile aircraft maintenance company and flight school. https://greasepilot.com/how-to-start-an-aircraft-maintenance-shop/

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