LAH President Joe Jordan on how to make it through the economic crisis:
The problems are almost too numerous to list, the Subprime Crisis, Stock Market Crash, Lower Limits on Lines of Credit, a Colder Than Usual Winter, Major Retailers Closing For Good, Real Estate Market the Worst in 40 years, Business Travel off 30%, etc. We are surrounded with problems.
There is an old saying from the Army War College, however: "The only good thing about being surrounded is that you can attack in any direction and still engage the enemy".
Now is not the time to chart your own Limo Company's course away from the herd. Now is the time for all of us to put personal differences aside and work together for the good of the industry. Bad-mouthing the competition, stealing clients or chauffeurs or engaging in price wars is not what's called for now ( Never was, but certainly not now). In these very difficult times, Limo Operators need to work together on common problems and project an image of polished professionalism, an oasis of transportation order and efficiency in a world gone mad.
As if the economy wasn't enough of an issue, we still have problems with government regulators being over-zealous in saddling us with more rules and taxes. A bright light on the otherwise foggy horizon is the Greater California Livery Association (GCLA). Led by Gary Shanedling and Jonna Sabroff, in the last year they were able to defeat a California Law that would require all limos for Prom to be painted yellow and the drivers would have been required to have school bus endorsements on their CDL drivers license. The GCLA was also able to use federal Law (The Real Interstate Drivers Equity Act(( R.I.D.E.)) to get major price reductions for limo fees at California Airports. A strong Limo Association well-supported by its members has never been more important.
There will always be new battles to fight, subrogation of liability, no parking downtown, age limits on cars, car rental companies operating illegally as limos and a host of others. It takes time and money and a group of dedicated Limo Association Leaders to pick up the sword and flag and go forward in battle with these bureaucrats who by their nature tend to over-regulate us and provide little or nothing for the exorbitant fees they charge. Limo Operators need to stand by their Limo Associations when these battles need to be fought.
We also need to stand by our industry suppliers like Ford, GM and Chrysler who are in the worst shape of their company's existence. Our hundreds of support companies, those who provide a myriad of products and services like coachbuilders, insurance, software, leasing, publications and training all need to be nurtured and kept healthy in these difficult times.
The new President of the National Limousine Association, Ron Sorci, will have his hands full navigating us through the treacherous waters that lie ahead. I am sure that as he conducts the affairs of the Association that he will come up against some very difficult situations and individuals. He needs to know that we stand behind him. A Limo Operator who will not stand for something today will probably fall tomorrow after encountering a problem that would be small to others more attuned to working closely with other operators.
There once was another individual, a great leader. He was constantly involved in controversy, conflict, strife, criticism, government harassment and eventually was assassinated.
Once, in a quiet time of reflection, he offered this statement, "In my lifetime I have faced much danger, ridicule, threats and harassment. When I am in a situation where I must sense the level of danger or the possibility of failure, I am not concerned so much with the loud, angry voices of my many enemies, but rather with the silence of my friends"
-Martin Luther King, Jr."
The Limousine Industry will face many seemingly impossible obstacles in 2009. If we are to make it through to the other side, it will require an enormous amount of effort of all of us working together. Can we count on you for your support?
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