How to Become a Jet Broker (Duties, Salary and Steps)

Are you a natural salesperson with an interest in the aviation industry? This career’s right up your alley.

A jet broker selling a plane to a client

There are few roles as exciting as jet brokers. Jet brokerage is all about selling and leasing private jets, one of the most exclusive and luxurious products in the world.

As you might expect, convincing people to exchange money on one of these jets, even just to rent or travel in one, is very hard work. Jet brokers need to be expert salespeople and work tirelessly to manage a network of clients to ensure their portfolio of jets is always in the air, at the right price, to the right people. Consequently, the role is not only exciting, but also offers the chance to earn good money, and there might be plenty of travel opportunities, too.

If being a jot broker sounds the role for you, then read on to learn about the profession, what they do, how much they earn, and how to get started in this glamourous line of work.

What jet brokers do

The role of jet broker, or airline broker, is a fairly unique position in the aviation industry. The role is heavily sales-based and is focused on business development, working with clients on the purchasing, leasing, or renting of private jets or private jet charters.

The role handles a portfolio of airplanes, often referred to as a “fleet” or “jet fleet”, and is focused on ensuring this portfolio is managed to generate as much profit as possible. Given the value of private jets, jet brokers need to sell hard and fast and, at the same time, ensure a light touch, allow clients time to make up their mind, and exercise discretion if the client is high-profile (such as a sports personality or a celebrity). This is a difficult balancing act to achieve!

Jet broker roles might vary depending on the market they operate in or whether their fleet will be leased or up for sale, but typically the role encompasses the following:

  • Researching and understanding the different types of private jets, and the various markets and customers who might wish to make use of them
  • Developing a market and client base ready to pitch private jets and charters to
  • Conducting fleet visits, show-arounds, and presentations regarding the jets
  • Cold-calling prospective clients regarding the jet feet portfolio
  • Negotiating rental, leasing, purchase, and charter contracts
  • Drawing up and releasing these contracts for signing
  • Handling complaints and questions regarding bookings and purchases
  • Following up with demanding clients (who might be celebrities or other VIPs) and checking they are satisfied with the process and experience
  • Attending arrivals and departures
  • Liaising with flight crews and maintenance employees to ensure a seamless experience for the client, from start to finish

What the job is like

Like many roles in aviation, jet brokerage is demanding and stressful. That said, it’s a labor of love for many people, and the trade-offs in hours and effort might well be worth it if you truly enjoy what you do.

Work environment

Jet brokers typically (but not always) work in an office; therefore, standard office-related risks will apply, such as following guidelines on manual handling and display screen equipment use. Jet brokers will need to spend plenty of time “air side”, showing clients the airplanes, liaising with air-side crews and in general traveling to and from airports. There will, therefore, be plenty of travel involved, but rarely will the jet broker use or travel in the private jets themselves. They will need to have security clearance to enter airports and observe all rules while on site.

The role of jet broker is heavily sales-orientated. Those who are in the market to lease or buy a private jet are often high-net-worth individuals and are, therefore, very demanding and exacting. This, coupled with the competitive nature of jet brokerages and the fact that the role is heavily target-driven and dependent on business results, makes for a very stressful environment. Managers are typically no-nonsense, and if you can’t pull in healthy sales figures, you might be shown the door very quickly.

Work hours

Being office-based, jet broker roles are often contracted 9 to 5, or maybe a little longer than that either side. However, the role will require extra hours being put in. There will be travel to and from airports, and accommodating site visits or tours of the jets, which could happen early, late or at weekends.

Jet brokers sometimes must conduct meet-and-greets when private jets arrive or depart — this will often be during unsociable hours. Jet brokerages operate in international markets, so the need to talk to clients in completely different time zones might also require additional out of hours work.

Job satisfaction

Being a jet broker is a labor of love, and although many in the profession report high scores in terms of culture and pay, work–life balance and career progression opportunities are generally low.

The profession is presented as easy to break into, with plenty of companies and established jet brokers looking to recruit and train new people. The drawback here is that the role is often pitched as a “get rich quick” deal but, ultimately, those who will find long-lasting success and happiness as a jet broker are those who research the job carefully and work hard.

Generally, if you’re happy to put the hours into training as a jet broker and not be fussed with limited career development (at least in the short term), then the role will pay handsomely. Jet brokers will find added satisfaction if they resonate with the culture of private jet travel and with the aviation industry itself.

Job market

The jet broker industry is highly saturated. The internet is awash with individuals offering ways into the lucrative and glamorous work of private jets, but these websites trivialize the most important thing to think about before entering this role: you need to find clients and carve out your own market niche.

The private jet market is booming, but you are only as good as your book of clients, and this can take years to build.

The jet broker job market is strong, but you will need to establish yourself to succeed. If you do, and you find some good clients and a spot in an established brokerage firm, then you will find career progression, rising from junior broker to associate, to partner and, ultimately, director.

Salary

Jet broker salaries often consist of a low or average basic wage but excellent financial benefits such as bonus and commission. This can mean that, overall, you could be earning a six-figure salary. This section takes you through how jet brokers are paid in various markets.

Mean wage

Below are the mean annual and hourly wages for jet brokers, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These are almost twice as high as the US average salary of $56,310.

Mean annual wage

Mean hourly wage

$99,680

$47.92

Average wage by experience

The average wage for jet brokers increases significantly as you gain experience, clients, and maybe higher-profile individuals willing to spend more on private jet experiences, as noted below:

Experience

Average annual wage

Entry level

$42,820

Junior level

$59,590

Mid level

$86,650

Senior level

$127,800

Top level

$171,700

Mean wage by state

Here are the five states with the highest salaries for jet brokers:

State

Mean annual wage

North Carolina

$110,490

Maryland

$111,590

New York

$112,430

California

$115,870

Wyoming

$129,290

Steps to become a jet broker

So, what’s the best way to get a foot in the door of this exciting and unique role? The good news is that there are quite a few avenues of entry, and not much need to have studied specific subjects at school, or even higher education. You will, however, need a strong suite of skills that are very much aligned to the jet broker role.

1. Determine if it’s the right job for you

To be an excellent jet broker requires a comprehensive set of skills, which can count for a lot more than education or university degrees. These skills are not too different from other skills needed for success in the aviation industry. Having these skills in place when you start out as a jet broker is important, but there will be plenty of scope to develop them as you progress in this career. The transferable nature of these skills also means that changing careers to become a jet broker is very achievable.

The core skills and attributes that a jet broker should possess are as follows:

If you have many of these skills in place, then you’re off to a great start in readying yourself for a career in jet brokerage.

If you’re still not sure if this is the right career for you, though, or if you’re unsure which career or job you should be aiming for in general, then maybe it’s time to take a career aptitude test or a career assessment.

These tests help you understand what kind of career would suit you based on the type of person you are. Our own six-part assessment, CareerHunter, analyzes your skills, traits, and values, and the results of these tests are pulled into a report which highlights the careers and training that will resonate with who you are.

2. Complete training

Once you have decided that becoming a jet broker is the career for you, getting started couldn’t be easier. Most jet brokerages advertise trainee jet broker roles that often include a 12-month training plan designed to get you off the ground. These roles will set you up with a mentor and develop the skills needed to become a fully-fledged jet broker.

It's important to stress here that as you become more experienced, you will need to build a client list and get acquainted with airports and the hardware (the planes) you will be selling. Building and starting your client list takes time, and you will need an encyclopedic knowledge of the aviation industry in order to sell or lease extremely complicated and expensive machinery to very discerning people.

The other option to get started is to go freelance and affiliate yourself with a jet brokerage, where you are essentially training yourself on sales and product skills. This can be equally effective and has the added benefit of you being your own boss.

3. Get certified

Although many jet brokerages will train you to work independently and in their own company, the best way to become certified as a jet broker is to become accredited through an industry organization such as the International Aircraft Dealers Association or the AIC JETS Corporation. This will boost your reputation and credibility within the industry, thereby making you more employable.

Final thoughts

Becoming a jet broker might not require all the qualifications in the world, but this doesn’t mean that it is an easy job. The role is demanding and technical, but if you do well, then you will enjoy a lucrative and rewarding career that literally takes you all over the world. The best way to get started with becoming a jet broker is to understand the skills needed to excel in the role.  If you’re a good salesperson, adept at taking care of the details and influencing others, as well as having more than a passing interest in aviation, then this role is certainly the one for you. Good luck!

 

 

Originally published on 11 July 2014.