Grant Cardone: My Experience of Private Jets

Do private jets really add value to businesses and entrepreneurs? Grant Cardone, CEO of multi-billion dollar Cardone Enterprises and Cardone Capital speaks to Fabrizio Poli about his experiences of aircraft ownership…

Fabrizio Poli  |  11th February 2022
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Fabrizio Poli
Fabrizio Poli

Fabrizio Poli is Senior Consultant at Orville Aviation. He is also an Airline Transport Pilot. Mr. Poli...

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Grant Cardone in front of his Gulfstream G650ER

Grant Cardone was into drugs and drinking in his early twenties. The people in the rehab center were convinced they would see him again, and that he would never amount to anything. But Grant was ready to change...

He realized that if he wanted to be a successful entrepreneur, he needed to master the art of sales. He started working for a used car dealership, reading business and personal development books, attending seminars, and applying what he learnt. As his car sales increased Grant started investing in real estate, and built his wealth.

Today Grant is happily married to the woman of his dreams – Elena – and they have two daughters, Scarlett and Sabrina. He is the CEO of Cardone Enterprises and Cardone Capital, an international speaker, entrepreneur, author of New York Times bestseller ‘The 10X Rule’, and creator of 21 best-selling business programs. He also owns and operates seven privately-held companies and a $4bn portfolio of multifamily properties.

Named the #1 marketer to watch by Forbes Magazine, Grant is also the founder of the The 10X Movement and The 10X Growth Conference, the world’s largest business and entrepreneur conference. What really distinguishes Grant from many other entrepreneurs is that he is unafraid to do things differently, to try something new, or think and act outside the box.

You can clearly see how he is the real deal by watching Discovery Channel's ‘Undercover Billionaire’. Grant says that starring on that show was the most difficult thing he’s ever done. He was not allowed to use his real name, was only given a car and $100, and was delivered to Pueblo in New Mexico. Here in 90 days he took $100 and turned it into a business valued over $5.5m.

The Journey into Private Jet Ownership

Grant’s journey into the world of private jets began in 2015, when he bought an eight-year-old pre-owned Gulfstream G200 for USD$8m. In his first year of operating it, the jet flew 250 hours. He likens it to a holiday home, in that if you own one you’ll use it.

Elena has had a great influence on Grant, inspiring him to think bigger, and it was she who encouraged him to buy a private jet in the first place. Grant had flown over three million miles with commercial airlines over his career, and saw a lot at 40,000 feet. He once broke up a fight between Seattle and San Diego; experienced a bomb scare flying from Richmond to Denver; and experienced an actual bird strike that took a Delta flight down out of JFK on his way to LAX.

It became tempting for him to stop traveling and try to replace the long cross-country flights and delays with live streams and social media, but, possibly now more than ever, there is nothing more powerful than a face-to-face meeting.

When Grant first spoke to his accountant to do the math on buying his own jet, he repeatedly bragged that there was no making sense of the investment. As he tried to justify why it cost too much, however, Grant watched the most successful companies, including Apple, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Nike, and Amazon buying new jets, and then trading them out for new jets every three years. “So, who is right?” he asked himself.

The accountant isn't thinking about the expansion, they are thinking only of the expense. They will never calculate the emotional and physical cost of the anxiety, stress, uncertainty, delays, changes, abusive flight attendants, TSA, or the cost of cancellations.

The question becomes how anyone makes sense of the next level, moving from charter to buying their own $50m private jet, then paying another $3m a year to maintain and fly their new acquisition. That’s a much longer debate – one where there will never be a consensus.

One way that private jet owners justify their decision to purchase, however, is the extension of 100% bonus depreciation in the first year of ownership. This was a very big factor in Grant’s decision to upgrade from his pre-owned Gulfstream G200 to a factory-new Gulfstream G550. In the past, depreciation was spread across five years (20% depreciation per year).

Then, in 2020 Grant had a few people call him wanting to buy the G550. Eventually he sold, moving into a Gulfstream G650ER. “Buy bigger than you think you need, go one level higher,” he told AvBuyer. “You will not regret the extra cabin space at 45,000 feet.”

Action-Ready with a Private Jet

A couple of years ago Grant heard that Shark Tank star and entrepreneur Daymond John was in Miami and couldn’t find a flight to Las Vegas. Grant rang Daymond’s agent and told him he was going to Las Vegas in his G550, and that Daymond could have a free ride if he liked.

Daymond agreed, and Grant immediately phoned other contacts in Las Vegas to arrange meetings, and add more value to the trip. As a result, Grant and Daymond are still doing business together today, and Daymond is a regular speaker at Grant’s 10X Growth Conferences. Yet, had he not owned a private jet, Grant would never have had the opportunity to meet Daymond.

On another occasion, just before the end of 2021 Grant was looking to do a large Real Estate deal in Houston. Ryan Tseko, Grant’s right-hand man at Cardone Capital had been on the phone seventeen times trying to arrange a meeting, but the guy in Houston had declined.

Grant told Ryan to prepare the G650ER for a visit to Houston. Once they landed Grant called their contact, telling him they’d landed and were ready to meet. The $189m deal was concluded the next day, and more-than paid for Grant’s new $60m G650ER.

Grant only flew 65 hours last year, and some people have told him that so few hours doesn’t justify jet ownership – but he disagrees. Owning a Gulfstream G650 sends a clear message to those he wishes to do business with.

The opportunity to be able to spring into action at a moments’ notice, is priceless, he adds. “Forget the cost of the hours. Walking into a meeting with no stress, or the delays and hassle of airline travel, is key in getting deals done successfully.

“The ability to get face-to-face and close the distance between you and the goal or target: Nothing does that better than a private jet, until we get teleportation,” he says.

Grant has gone from having never stepped onto a private jet in 2015 to owning a Gulfstream G200, a G550, and now a G650ER – all in just six years. His Real Estate portfolio has increased from $250m to $4bn, more than ‘10Xing’ his business. He credits jet ownership in being the key tool in helping him scale his business.

Flexibility and Kudos…

Grant has planned both a European and World Tour with his Gulfstream G650ER this year. He explains that other times he has launched out on a world tour he has planned a few destinations, but along the way, as he continued to communicate with his social media audience, other opportunities surfaced, and he flew to see those people too.

Having your own jet gives you flexibility and kudos. Add the 7,500nm range of the G650ER, and Grant can take his business anywhere on the planet. His formula is simple: To scale your business, buy a jet (a bigger one than you are initially thinking). This will set you on the road to 10X your business, the Grant Cardone way!

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