As-Directed Versus Two Transfers

Posted on October 20, 2009 by

WHAT'S A GOOD DEAL? With more and more people tightening their belts, operators are forced to become more creative in their pricing. We all agree that cutting prices or giving away the house is not the way to go. Offering additional perks or service for the same price may net you the advantage in closing the deal. 
 
The smoke and mirror pricing structure that our industry employs with “plus, plus, plus” only begins confusing our customers. Talk about as-directed work and pricing structures, and you get a whole new quagmire. 
 
Most operators employ a three-hour minimum on as-directed work. Most employ a garage to garage charge. So three hours typically is two hours. Most have a charge for additional hours. The new trend is offering two transfers for concerts and events.
 
I can’t understand why operators do this. I have listed below what I consider the cons of it:
  • You lose use of the vehicle — there is a huge opportunity cost with this if you get a call and are able to sell a vehicle for the entire night. You take a risk and incur a loss.
  • More than likely you will not be able to use the vehicle in between. It will sit and the chauffeur will have a broken ride (thus getting paid less and making less gratuity).
  • Most venues do not allow you to pull up in front of them and drop off. You must pay to park when you enter the lot.
  • Traffic patterns are often changed around venues only allowing traffic to flow in. Getting out of venues when events are going on is difficult to say the least. 
  • Getting back into the venue to pick up your clients is also extremely difficult not to mention the fact that you won’t know exactly when it will be over. Will you charge for wait time if it runs longer?
  • If your passengers decide they want to leave early, you won’t be sitting there waiting.
  • Passengers don’t always understand the difference in this type of ride vs. a regular night on the town. They will not be able to leave their things in the vehicle.
  • Many bring alcohol to party on the way and after — this will need to be consumed or discarded when they get out of the vehicle
  • Most women do not like to take purses into the event — they won’t have a choice with this type of ride.
  • The billing will be broken into two segments. This just adds to the client’s confusion.
 
I know operators who actually charge more for two transfers than they do for a three hour AD to avoid this from happening. I believe this is a bad practice and if the client is too cheap to pay for the AD, maybe they are the clients you want to go to the competitor. I have heard the something is better than nothing arguments, but I feel that those who make them truly don‘t understand the real cost of operating their vehicles. 
 
If you are employing this practice please jump on and enlighten me why you have chosen this route. I am always open to new thoughts but this is one I truly cannot get my arms around. 
 
As seen on Craig’s list:
 
CHAUFFEUR DRIVEN SUV'S START AT $35 PER HOUR

STRETCH LIMOUSINES START AT $75 PER HOUR

WE'LL PICK YOU UP, TAKE YOU AND YOUR GUEST TO THE CONCERT, WAIT, AND BRING YOU HOME

**PICK UP AND DROP OFF AVAILABLE IN SUV** NO WAIT TIME
 
Also seen on Craig’s list:
 
For a limited time we are offering a $199 concert/game special for our 2002 10- passenger Lincoln Town Car. Offer is only valid Sunday through Thursday
 

— Linda Jagiela, LCT East Coast Editor

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