I sell private jets to billionaires – this is the biggest myth about the industry (and how much it ACTUALLY costs to buy one for yourself)
- Steve Varsano is the founder of The Jet Business, a showroom for private jets
- In his career, the private jet broker has sold around 500 private jets
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Meet the man making a living as a private jet broker, selling luxury aircraft to billionaires.
Steve Varsano is the founder of The Jet Business, a London showroom for private jets, signposted by the fuselage of an Airbus in the reception area. Over the course of his career, he has sold around 500 private jets, the most expensive of which come in at around £82million ($100million).
The New Jersey native, 67, shows the behind-the-scenes of his profession on TikTok, with one video – showing a day in his life with 6am starts, 9pm finishes and back-to-back meetings and business calls – racking up more than 16million views, hinting that users of the platform are intrigued by the highly lucrative industry.
But speaking to MailOnline Travel, Steve reveals how the private jet industry is often misunderstood. The biggest myth? He says that people think everybody is flying around ‘having parties… going on golf outings, and it’s just a rich person’s playtoy, but that’s so not the case’.
The reality, he says, is that they’re predominantly ‘occupied by companies going to branches, factories, going to look at real estate or going to board meetings.’ He adds that ’75 per cent of all jets are occupied by middle management people’.
Steve Varsano is a private jet broker and the founder of The Jet Business, a London showroom for private jets (above)
On top of that, most private jets, he reveals, aren’t ‘the luxurious, gigantic Boeings’ that people expect them to be. He explains: ‘Most people are in a small little jet that you can’t stand up in and most of those little airplanes don’t even have bathrooms… if they do [have a bathroom], [it’s] not one that you really want to use unless you’re really in an emergency.’
To buy a private jet on the cheaper end of the spectrum you need a budget of about £2.5million ($3million), that’ll get you the smallest new jet, which holds four people, Steve reveals, adding: ‘A minivan would be a little bigger inside.’
On the ‘super’ top end, he says, you have the Falcon 8X (£49million/$60million), the Bombardier Global 7500 (£61million/$75million), and the Gulf Stream G700 (£65million/$80million).
The three images above show the interior of The Jet Business, which features the fuselage of an Airbus and a video wall so clients can do video walkthroughs of different private jets
Steve shows the behind-the-scenes of his profession on TikTok, with one video – showing a day in his life with 6am starts, 9pm finishes and back-to-back meetings and business calls – racking up more than 16million views
But the pinnacle are Boeing or Airbus private jets. These can go up to £163million ($200million), depending on the model, Steve reveals.
Steve, who got his pilot licence at age 17 and worked in private equity before setting up The Jet Business, won’t reveal the money he makes annually, though he confesses: ‘We make a good living.’ He adds that he earns enough to live a lifestyle similar to that of his clients. He says: ‘A lot of clients become friends and a lot of friends become clients. We’re lucky enough to be able to work and live in that kind of environment.’
In fact, the people he gets to work with are the biggest perk to the job, Steve reveals. He says: ‘They are the most successful corporate executives in the world, the smartest, the most cunning, the most worldly, in every sector in so many different countries in the world. Being able to meet the who’s who in the world… that’s what I really enjoy.’
These two images show one of the jets that Steve’s firm can present to clients – the Bombardier Global XRS
The two images above show a Gulfstream G650ER that The Jet Business can broker a deal on
Steve says that as well as corporate executives, he also has worked with celebrities and governments in the past. However, he notes that most A-listers don’t buy private jets as frequently as people might think, explaining: ‘The real top end of celebrities, a lot of them charter [jets] or are flown around by people.’
When a new client arrives on the scene, his team does a quick background check to see who they are, to figure out if they already own jet and to ‘make sure that they’re not on any bad government lists’. They come into Steve’s showroom, where they can do a walkthrough of the aircraft they’re considering purchasing via a giant video wall.
However, Steve says that he sometimes dissuades prospective clients from buying jets. He admits: ‘Owning an aircraft is costly, it takes a lot of time, and it’s just neverending invoices and bills that come from owning an airplane. So if it’s not kept in use, it’s not smart to own one.’
And it’s a demanding industry, but that’s not something that fazes him. He says: ‘I work nonstop, 24 hours a day, whenever I’m needed. Even when I’m on holiday I’m always meeting potential clients.’ He adds: ‘I love what I do, so working all the time, it doesn’t bother me. It’s a normal day for me.’
The exterior of The Jet Business. ‘I work nonstop, 24 hours a day, whenever I’m needed,’ says Steve
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