Decoding Aircraft Repair Costs: The Truth About Accuracy in Estimating

In the world of aviation maintenance, repair estimates tend to get in the way. Here’s why.

When getting your vehicle repaired or having your home painted, cost estimates make perfect sense. It’s only logical to know what you can expect to spend and to shop around for the best value. Although estimates are often a great way to start a project, that’s just not the case in aviation.

At Double M Aviation, we don’t provide aircraft repair estimates. Through extensive experience, we’ve found estimates to be inaccurate and a waste of our customers’ time. So we take a different approach—one that minimizes your downtime and allows us to provide the best possible service.

Aircraft repair estimates: the wrong approach for aviation

Aircraft repair estimates simply aren’t right for aviation. The reason? It’s all about accuracy.

Unlike in auto maintenance, there is no “industry standard” to guide technicians in estimating. There are no service writers, and there’s no standard reference guide for estimating. There are just too many variables.

In general aviation, an accurate estimate would require a certified technician to spend an extraordinary amount of time carefully analyzing each squawk and researching parts, making the estimate process a hindrance rather than a benefit. It would cost our customers time and money while their aircraft sat on the ground.

Why is providing an accurate estimate so time consuming and labor intensive?

First, there is a high level of customization in general aviation. (Think STCs, field approvals, and maintenance by a multitude of technicians over an aircraft’s long lifetime.) As a result, any parts list must be unique to the specific aircraft. No two aircraft are alike.

The Truth About Accuracy in Estimating

Second, the availability of parts is also a factor. Most private planes rolled off the production line 40 to 50 years ago. Parts that were readily available in the 1970s may be difficult to track down today, and the availability of a specific part can vary from day to day. This causes significant fluctuations in both the cost of the part and the amount of time it will take to complete the repair. To secure the necessary parts and provide the most efficient, cost-effective service for our customers, our technicians must move quickly. Spending time estimating and re-estimating to accommodate market fluctuations would make it impossible to complete the repairs efficiently, costing our customers more in the end.

In short, the only way to provide an estimate that’s based in fact rather than guesses is to involve a certified aircraft maintenance technician with extensive general aviation experience. That technician would then need to invest an extraordinary amount of time researching parts and labor for every possible squawk before starting the work. That time would be better spent actually working on inspection and repairs.

That’s why, during our many years in the aviation industry, we’ve learned that up-front estimates are inaccurate, inefficient, or both. To provide the best possible service for our customers and get everyone back in the air as quickly as possible, we take a different approach.

Efficient service and crystal-clear communication                                           

We understand why estimates are used in other industries and why our new customers might ask for an estimate before working with us. However, we consider accuracy, safety, and efficiency to be our top priorities. Rather than (1) providing a grossly inaccurate estimate or (2) charging for a detailed, personalized estimate that will certainly change, we take a “running estimate” approach. That is, our technicians address squawks as they arise during the annual inspection. As part of this process, we use our vast experience to identify the right course of action, and we draw on our industry connections to find the parts we need to ensure your aircraft is safe to fly. And we do it all as efficiently as possible while keeping you informed every step of the way.

We’ve seen that this method actually saves our customers time and money in the long run, while also allowing for a more thorough inspection of the aircraft.

A clear path forward

While the unique nature of aircraft maintenance creates endless challenges, it also provides a clear path to navigating them. Throughout our many years in business, we’ve always focused on outstanding service and keeping our customers flying.

Contact us today to schedule your annual inspection and take advantage of the many benefits that come with being an established Double M Aviation customer, including on-the-road support, faster turnaround times, and priority scheduling.

Questions for us? We’re happy to help. Call us at 863-940-3540 or fill out our reservation form to secure your spot on our calendar.


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