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Key Idea: Lead With Service

Texas Jet  is a gas station for airplanes. Fortunately, owner Reed Pigman doesn't use today's gas station as a model for thinking about his business.   Here's an employee filling a customer's tanks as there is no self-service at this FBO.   More...   Go to the homepage

Key Question:


Treat them like kings and queens. 

Q:  Why do you think that Professional Pilot magazine named Texas Jet one of the top 10 independent, fixed-based operators (FBO) in the United States?

A: Because Texas Jet is a place the pilots enjoy while they waiting for their customers to return. But more importantly, the pilot's customer is given the red-carpet treatment! There is a very-demanding supply chain within these operations. The pilot is the customer of Texas Jet and the passengers are the customer of the pilot. Though a few pilots own their plane, most pilots are the full-time employee of the company who owns the plane, and often the passengers are their key executives, but passengers could also be people who have a fractional ownership in that plane, people who have chartered it, or people who are just paying for an "empty leg." Everyone is a choice customer and all expect top-quality care and attention to detail.

What does Texas Jet sell and who buys it?

A: They sell jet fuel and support services. When the pilot does a flight plan, the destination FBO is part of it. They need to buy fuel. The passengers generally spend very little time at a FBO. However, the few minutes the passenger does spend there are critical to the pilot's success.

We saw Texas Jet employees literally throwing out a red carpet for the passenger to step out on. This is going on while the pilot is checking
gages and shutting things down. Do you see how powerful this is? The pilot chose Texas Jet and gets the credit for the red carpet while taking care of matters in the cockpit. It is a special touch.

Texas Jet arranges for the ground transportation to pick passengers up right at plane side and if they need food for the plane that is handled too. While the passengers are taking care of their business in Fort Worth, the pilots have a place at Texas Jet to sleep, work out, eat, relax, visit with other pilots, watch TV, send emails, check the weather, and work on the flight plans.

Q: What's with the cookies and hot apple cider?

A: It is a warm welcome home. Did your mom ever have cookies for you when you came home from school? Did she ever make cider? When you opened the door did you smell the sweetness in the air before you saw the cookies? Reed understands that pilots have to spend a lot of time away from their family and he is going to make Texas Jet an extended family. Hot apple cider smells better than coffee. It smells like your childhood kitchen.

Also, there are always fresh apples in a bowl at Texas Jet. They look good, they smell good, they taste good and they are good for you. This brings up the old adage that my mom used to say, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

What can you do in your business to better serve your entire supply chain? Are all of us basically little kids inside? Do we all want someone to "mother" us?

A: Start by asking your customers more about how they use your products and services. Follow that up with a brainstorm session with customers about how you could better serve THEIR customers. There is a little child inside all of us; and without smothering, we should all find ways to "mother" our customers. Even if it's as simple as asking a customer how their day is going. Remember your mom asking you when you came home from school, "How was your day?"

Think about it

What can you do that would make your customers feel special?  Do your customers smile as they leave your place of business?  What percentage of your business comes from repeat customers?

Clip from: Texas Jet

Fort Worth, Texas: There are no lines. No crowds. No delays. Just red carpet treatment all the way. And, it is not just for the wealthy anymore. Here at Meacham Field and in 5000 other small airports around the USA, small business owners service, sell, own, and use private jets. This is the other airport in town.

This is the story of Texas Jet which is FBO, Fixed-Base Operation; they provide all the ground-based services required by aircraft owners and operators. The term, FBO, originated back after World War I to describe the first aviation businesses that developed a permanent base of operations to deliver services at airports. That name stuck. Here we open the door of private jets, charters, fractionals, and empty legs. With the help of the Internet bookings, you could easily be taking a little jet rather than drive your car.

Founder Reed Pigman says the pilots are his core customer base;  and, for many years now, these pilots voted Texas Jet to be one of the Top Ten Independent FBO's in the United States. So, out of 5,000 choices, pilots say Reed and his team are among the best. There's more. As a distributor for Phillips 66 Jet Fuel, Reed also takes the lead. Texas Jet has been recognized by Phillips 66 as one of a hand-full of distinguished partners among some 600 distributors. 

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Texas Jet

Reed Pigman, President

200 Texas Way
Fort Worth, TX 76106

Visit our web site:

Office: 8007764547

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1978

Lead With Service

Unidentified Woman #1: How's it going? Good to see you.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Let the team at Texas Jet throw out the red carpet and bring your ground transportation right to the door of your airplane. No lines, no crowds, no delays, red carpet treatment all the way.

NetJets Pilot: (Voiceover) When we pull up on the ramp, they come out and, you know, roll out the red carpet for us, literally.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Reed Pigman developed Texas Jet out of Piper Southwest, an aircraft sales company he purchased in 1978. Today, he operates 13 hangars totaling more than 225,000 square feet and supplies two-thirds of the fuel at Meacham.

REED: I have a filling station for airplanes. That's basically what it is. (Voiceover) The difference between our operation and a gas station you drive your car to: we have to bring a fuel truck up to each aircraft.

Unidentified Man #2: OK.

REED: Well, let me show you around. This is the front door our customers come in. During the holiday season, we have spicy apple cider and cookies, and right now we're out because we had a rush on them.

HATTIE: You sell fuel.

REED: Right.

HATTIE: But that's not what they're buying from you.

REED: No. They're buying fuel, but what they really want is not the fuel. Obviously, they need the fuel to make the airplane fly. But they want the other amenities that we offer. So right down the hall here, we have our Snooze Room. This is a place where they can come and sleep for a half an hour, an hour. And they come back to our front desk, and they say, `Oh, I feel so much better. I'm totally refreshed. I'm ready to go.'

They want to know, when they pull up on our ramp that the boss in the back of the airplane will be taken care of. We have the Courtesy Office here, set up with Internet access. Then for larger groups, down the hall we have our Conference Room. That if they called ahead and want a rent car, or if they call us 10 minutes out and say they want a rent car, they want to know that we'll pull it right up to the airplane door for them; that if they need a limousine, we'll call up for them and it'll be there.

They need to know if they need catering, we'll get it for them. It'll be good catering, it'll be there on time. One of our most recent additions is a workout room, the Recreation & Fitness Center. Here, we have a treadmill, a exercise bike. We have showers down there.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Texas Jet was voted by readers of Professional Pilot magazine as one of the top 10 independent, fix-based operators in the United States. And in 2000, Texas Jet, Inc. became the only independent FBO to receive the Phillips 66 Aviation Wings of Excellence Award. Prior winners have been big chains with multiple locations. Reed, when did you fall in love with airplanes?

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