As an avionics shop, other than choices related to personnel & labor, and your fixed facilities and equipment costs, the third most capital-intensive choice you will likely make over the next several years is which ADS-B system pair to certify (or purchase) and market. While you likely have most of your offerings in place at this point, there is still enough time before the 2020 deadline for agile avionics shops to reap significant profits by choosing a to offer ADS-B STC, TC, or AML STC for multiple aircraft types if their workload is not already full. Here are a few of the strategic considerations you will want to keep in mind while investigating this possibility:
- Specialization – One potential angle to consider is having your shop develop a reputation for servicing a certain make, model, or general type of aircraft. If your shop chooses to focus on turboprop or rotary aircraft, for example, and successfully builds a reputation for excellence in working on these types of aircraft, they will likely want to invest in further design options in this niche (i.e. LPV, or CPDLC). They could potentially attract clients from much farther afield than a shop without this specialization.
- Demographics – Research on the demographics of both local aircraft owners as well as those in adjacent regions can also be a potential goldmine for avionics shops. Avionics shops located in coastal areas with higher population density will likely have higher incidences of jet aircraft, special mission aircraft, and helicopters necessitating a wider variety of FAA-Approved ADS-B solutions to cover their area fully.
- Networking – The average aircraft owner is going to identify and select their ADS-B provider based on information gathered from two primary sources. The first is organic research via the Internet. Any previous posts or articles you have penned about ADS-B can be found on the web. You will need a smart online marketing strategy over the next several years to contact this segment of your client base. The other primary informational source is word-of-mouth from the people who maintain, store, and service aircraft on a daily basis. These are the folks employed at local and regional FBOs all over the country. Keeping your ear close to the ground and listening to the local grapevine can potentially give you a lot of insight into what models aircraft owners are currently either having issues finding the right repair station or are actively in search of an ADS-B system for their particular aircraft. Paying attention to the ‘word on the street’ will give you the edge when it comes to choosing which solution to pursue
- Partnerships – Another concept we have explored in several previous articles is that of the strategic partnership (or affiliations) with other avionics shops in your local area or expanded region. Beyond giving you a way to earn a commission from interested customers whose solutions you do not install. It will allow you to continue to generate revenues even after your shop’s capacity is sold out. Partnerships also can provide you an extremely useful conduit for intel about which solutions are in demand for various segments of your local customer base.
For avionics shops looking to offer a few more FAA-Approved solutions before the ADS-B installation mandate, information is vital. Shops should employ a combination of research into the local and regional demographics of aircraft owners along with actively nurturing networking leads and strategic partnerships which can provide further avenues of inquiry.