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I just had my first annual inspection and decided to try out a local shop which charges a
fixed rate (17 hours for a C-182) based on aircraft type as recommended by the
manufacture. My aircraft was in good shape with minor corrective maintenance needed.
The prop, engine, and airframe were all noted to be in an airworthy condition.
One of the line items on my invoice is a 1.6 hour ($120 fee) to document my logbooks with
the annual inspection results (single sticker placed in the prop, engine, and airframe
logbooks); plus and additional fee for shop supplies set at 5% of the labor rate.
All of these extra fees add about $10/hour to the hourly rate, which still isn't a bad deal,
but it certainly wasn't something I expected. I've had tens of thousands of dollars in
maintenance and upgrades installed in the panel by a different shop and their pricing was
very straight forward.
But, I'm still wondering if a logbook documentation fee is typical during an annual
-- Joe Moreno, May 24, 2011
I talked to a friend of mine who is an expert mechanic with experience at a few shops. He says that he has charged up to 8 hours of time to sort out what is in older logbooks. On the other hand, he says that it is not conventional for a shop to charge to generate its own entry. So if the logbooks were a mess and it wasn't clear what ADs and SBs had been complied with in the past, he thinks it is reasonable to charge for the research. If the same shop did the annual the previous year, there should not be a fee.
-- Philip Greenspun, June 2, 2011
If you were quoted a fixed a price for an annual, and they then added this on, then I would object strongly, and if they didn't back down, I would pay them, and try not to use them again. The meanest thing you can do to them is to not tell them you won't be back, and tell your fellow pilots that they cheat on their promises. If they quoted you x hours, at x rate, then they added that on, then it's partly your fault for not negotiating better. You should have nailed the terms down. You might point out to them that it doesn't matter if everyone in the aviation world does business that way (they don't), and maybe it's part of the reason the airport isn't such a popular place anymore (it is). Certainly the paper work must be done, and a flat fee is likely a good idea for that, but they should have been up front about it. I have done my inspections based on a flat fee plus repairs, and did not pay extra for documentation. It's up to the expert, the shop owner, to calculate his costs up front, not me.
-- Eric Warren, May 25, 2011