Job Question need your help guys

I’ve been lurking on this site for over a year and I hope someone can offer me some advice and help.

I’ve been working at a local N/ California FBO doing some very limited marketing and working the office on weekends to keep my self busy.

I was just offered a Dir. of Business Dev. (sales and Marketing) for a new Light Sport line they are going to rep on the west coast. I believe this will almost be 100% commissioned position with with a “very” minimum salary I mean very small (under $1,000.00 a month). I believe the marketing budget will also be very small to almost non-existent.

I have over 15 years in direct sales and marketing experience but none in the aircraft industry (all my experience has been in high-tech and financial services). I am hoping someone can give me an idea of what a fair compensation plan would look like, given that it will be likely be a 100% commission position and I have to be very creative, in this economy with almost no sales/marketing budget.

Thanks in advance;


I can’t help directly but I suggest calling a couple of aircraft brokers who are not in your area so you are not in competition with them and ask what they think.
If there is no marketing budget you are going to have to get creative with the free marketing approach! Get an allowance that lets you take a local instructor and fly one around to every fly-in and airshow in your region. If there is no event head out to a general aviation airport that gets lots of weekend traffic, let people see it.
Look up local light sport instructors and invite them to fly it. They have quite a few potential clients.
I see lots of press releases in your future.

good luck

John in Saudi

I agree with John on the marketing side. On the compensation side, I think you need to ask yourself what’s in it for you? You are talking about taking significant risk and deferred compensation for your efforts. That’s ok if the commission is such that it’s worth it when you sell a plane and get paid. On the other hand if you stick your neck out, work your tail off and still don’t sell a plane or the management decides to go another direction without you, then you’ve lost the opportunity to earn a fair living at another job. If you’re taking all this risk you should have at least some ownership in the new dealership or an above average commission program. You’ve already said you don’t have experience in this business, so it’s possible it will take you a while to get the hang of selling airplanes. How will that affect your ability to eat?

You’re definitley gonna have to think outside the box on this one. Given the slow upward movement of the economy. Have you given any thought to international sales? Chinese seem to have some cash. And Latin American countries as well. Just food for thought.

As for compensation? Wow tuff one. I agree talk to brokers in the biz…but tread lightly, I have had bad experiences with brokers in the retail industry. I always thought there was honor among thieves. Good luck.

Thank you for all your suggestions.

I have some good idea’s and know how to sell high end consumer items but in this economy wow! I agree, this is all uphill. I have already planned on calling some other (outside of the LSA marketplace) GA manufacturer’s brokers/rep this week but will look at even talking to out of state reps (thanks for that suggestion!).

I doubt seriously if I will be able to negotiate for any equity participation in the new venture although I always could ask(?) interesting suggestion.

I was just hoping someone had some “direct” experience in selling aircraft and could give me some “rough” commission percentages that are industry standards; (I have spent two days trying to do Google, US Census Bureau stat’s etc research and the information is extremely hard to find unlike other industries) i.e. %5, 10%, 15% of contract value, are their bonus’s for exceeding quarterly or yearly plans? The line I am going to represent, the pricing runs from the low end at $125K to over $650K for a NON-LSA twin so we are talking not insignificant opportunity.

If anyone has some hard numbers on commissions even for just GA sales that would be most helpful, again thank you all for your help!

Good flying!


The one number I’ve heard for commissions was for 7 figure used aircraft and that was 6%. Highly negotiable. I have no idea what it would be for your market. Also, is that $1,000 a straight monthly salary or a draw against future commissions? That might make a difference if I was talking to the boss.

John in Saudi