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PPL equipment costs

Hi all

I recently completed my PPL course and gained my licence earlier in the summer.

One thing i found whilst training though was just how expensive the equipment, books, headsets are. And that's on top of the hourly rate for aircraft hire, tuition fees and what not.

To that end i have developed a relationship with an electronics supplier in the far east that i discovered whilst on a recent visit there with my wife. The factory manufactures headsets under licence to several reputable and well known brands.

I currently have two types of headset for sale in my online shop. A PNR and ANR version. I have used both myself and can honestly say they are very good quality and value for money. I also offer a satisfaction guarantee so you can return them to me if you are unhappy in ANY way.

If you are looking for a replacement or back-up headset then please take a look at

It is not a glossy or high-end website, just a very basic platform to share low cost equipment to other new pilots that are in the same boat as i was (as it were).

Kind Regards


[posted with admin permission]

Allow me to suggest your price info should state whether VAT is included - if so at what rate (UK VAT, I should think? With a postal code like that, you must be in Britain)

Under what conditions can you ship abroad VAT-less?

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

Hello and thanks for the feedback. The info showing UK VAT @ 20% has now been added to the website.

I am in the process of sorting the 'ship abroad vat-less' at the moment. Paypal Express Checkout isnt the easiest of platforms to work with though, especially as i am new to all this.

In the next few days i will be changing merchants anyway so that problem will then be solved. Meanwhile, i can manually reimburse VAT for international purchases.

I don't think you can ship to the EU zero-VAT unless the customer supplies a valid VAT number.

Just having a non-UK EU delivery address is not enough.

To customer addresses outside the EU, you can ship free of VAT.

If there is an exception to the above I'd like to know about it, because I've been in business 30+ years, exporting, and haven't come across one yet.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

As for the EU part, I share your opinion, Peter, and have seen it confirmed on several occasions, buying from several European countries. BTW our local VAT regulations require me to register such an acquisition WITH VAT - basically I must charge the VAT to myself, then deduct it. This country is really full of colour, even in the dullest departments like accountancy!

Outside EU I have no idea.

EBZH Kiewit, Belgium

Hey, do you know what - I am just a recreational Pilot that has found a source for these good quality headsets and wanted to share the cost savings with fellow GA Pilots. I'm not going to become a millionaire doing this.

If i have to go into all this international VAT nonsense then it maybe best if i just don't bother shipping worldwide in my online shop. I don't need hassle.

Maybe ebay isn't such a bad avenue after all.

I don't need hassle.

I don't want to discourage you but in that case it may be best to get a job at Tescos

For a simple mail order business, which buys stuff and sells it on, the VAT rules are simple. You charge VAT to everybody, except

  • EU customers who supply a VAT number
  • customers outside the EU

Exception: if your sales are below the VAT registration threshold (currently £79k) you don't need to charge VAT. That makes it even simpler. But that also means you cannot recover the VAT which you will be charged when you import the items. Normally there is a net benefit because the amount of VAT on the sale will be more than the amount of VAT on the purchase (otherwise you are not making a profit ) which is why most firms would prefer to trade below the threshold because it makes them more competitive. But only a very small spare bedroom type business can keep sales below 79k. Yours may well be OK because the headset market is not that big and there are countless suppliers already. So at this stage of your business, your website should say "VAT is included" and you have no option at all for not charging it on international sales.

Trading on Ebay does not get around these rules at all. It just makes tax evasion (illegal tax avoidance) easier. Many or most Ebay traders are evading tax, and HMRC is paying extra attention to them nowadays. That's why with so many Ebay purchases one doesn't get a proper invoice (showing the person's name and address for example).

Ebay trading greatly simplifies your customer interface, which is great if your product is one that would be a good fit for Ebay type customers (who can pay by Paypal, which is mandatory for UK Ebay sales).

The downside of Ebay is that you also get a % of buyers who, shall we say, know their rights (meaning: they can get a Paypal refund with no questions asked) so there is a need to be very clear about what people are getting. There are also a few scammers...

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

> I don't want to discourage you but in that case it may be best to get a job at Tescos

Or just keep my main day job. Working at Tescos (With no disrespect to anybody that works at Tescos), wouldn't pay for much enjoyable flying time :-)

I had a look at the site and I admire what you are doing. ANR headsets at that price seem like a good deal, but then there must reasons why the high end ANR's can be up to something like £800. But with everything there is a compromise you have to accept, and most people starting out wont want to splash out a lot of money, so hopefully your product appeals to a segment of the market. I think you would benefit from some real customer reviews when you get them, as its a fairly bold statement to say they are better than David Clarks - which may well be true, but DC have a long earned (fairly) good reputation in the community.

Like you, I am in a position where I could start a small business, and am toying with a product, and a website, and company registered with companies house, and then the hard work in setting it up, building a website, getting bogged down with VAT and other financial elements. My idea is patent pending (and may well not be granted if I am honest), but I am thinking hard do I really want to go through all this hassle for a who knows what size return. I know that if I do it, there are a number of challenges and I am going to have to give it 150%. It looks like hard work setting something up, not having done it before, so good luck.

Hello and thanks for the feedback. Yes it is hard work and a very big minefield when it comes to the web. I really had no idea! I just thought it was a case of purchasing a domain name and that was that. How naive i am.

And then there's the look of the online shop. I really cannot seem to get over the amateurish look, but then i never was very good at art. As for the bold statements, yes i agree rather risky but then i made that statement from the literature and stats the manufacturer provided to me. Rightly or wrongly they actually run a comparison between these headsets and the David Clark ones, so on paper atleast, the spec does appear to be better.

Ebay really is the simplest and easiest way to sell. An auction is guaranteed to make a sale, its just that i absolutely hate paypal. I haven't seen any of the revenue from sales so far because they wont release it for 21 days. And that's after they spontaneously placed a "Temporary Hold" on my account due to "Unusual Activity" where i had to fax my passport and credit card to the USA!! And yet they claim to be safe and secure?? Unfortunately as has been said above, ebay insist you use paypal.

And then there's the world of google and search engines... but that's a subject for another day :-)

Good luck with your product and website. I cannot see myself making ££££ from this but it keeps me busy during my day-job when its quiet.

All the best

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