A little research is all it takes when it comes to finding the best avionics shop to do your repair, install, or upgrade.
“There are a lot of very good avionics shops, from the small mom and pop shops to the bigger shops in a full-service operation,” says Hillsboro Avionics Manager Christopher Brand. “The right one for you is going to depend largely on your specific needs. A little research beforehand will always help.”
Know Your Needs
Before researching shops, Brand recommends taking time to detail your specific needs and budget.
For instance, do you need a repair or install of a specific brand of avionics that must be serviced and/or installed by manufacturer approved shops? You will need to look for a factory-authorized avionics shop.
Does your aircraft have complex systems linked to avionics that would require aircraft specific training? In this instance, it’s best to look for a shop with specific training on your aircraft make and model.
Do you seek an avionics upgrade, yet you would like guidance on options? A shop with training and authorizations on a number of brands could offer better service through educating you on your options as well as have more flexibility to install equipment that meets your budget.
Research Your Options
Once you have a clear idea of your needs, research the best avionics shop to meet them.
Internet searches will help you quickly find potential winners based off your search criteria. Word of mouth is also extremely valuable. Fellow pilots and operators are not shy about sharing detailed experiences.
When you contact shops, ask about their experience, knowledge, and training on the avionics equipment you’re having installed. Will they be able to meet your time and financial budgets? Is their work guaranteed? How do they stand behind the warranties?
Don’t stop once you’ve found a few contenders that meet the technical side of your requirements. How they approach you and the work is just as important.
“Overall, you want knowledgeable people and a shop with a good culture dedicated to working with you on your needs,” says Brand. “A very good way to determine the culture of a shop is to visit it. How do they treat their people? Is the shop clean? Is it organized and well kept? How they run their business and treat their people is a direct reflection of how they’ll treat you and your aircraft.”
A few key things to look for when visiting shops include:
Enthusiasm to give you a tour and show you all their shop has to offer
A clean and organized shop
Employees like their jobs and company
Clear information on how your service will take place
A commitment to communicating with you throughout the service
A genuine desire to hear your needs and provide solutions
Ask about Benefits and Discounts
In some cases, the best avionics shop for you could be one that can do more than avionics. If the shop is a part of a larger service center and/or repair facility, it may offer discounts when you authorize multiple services.
For example, timing an avionics upgrade during an annual or other maintenance can put you in a bargaining situation to negotiate discounts in overall labor or even fuel discounts, detailing, etc.
When it comes to finding the best avionics shop, it all boils down to the specific service you need and your personal preference. If the knowledge, skill, experience, manufacture authorizations, timing, and price are right for you, you have a winner.
Ready to interview shops? Check out our eBook below to equip with you all the right questions to ask during your search.