Player No. 1
Brad Gregory Franklin Limousine Service, Franklin, Ky.
Gregory has reported landing a lucrative contract with a local Holiday Inn and a brand new wedding and reception venue. The Holiday Inn uses the venue for its guests and now Franklin Limousine will provide service to both facilities. Under the arrangement, Holiday Inn sells all-inclusive packages that consist of hotel rooms, use of the reception venue, and limousine service. The contract also will allow Franklin to provide service to general hotel guests and other parties that rent the reception hall, providing Gregory with two new sources of revenue. Gregory estimates 40 to 50 events per year at the venue. Gregory also reported a healthy prom season that he summed up in one word — “Huge.”
Player No. 2
Georgia Berg, Limousine Excursions, Perth, Western Australia
Berg experienced a whopping 20% increase in sales over last year during the first quarter of 2010. Limousine Excursions added a major media group as a new client. The China-based media group owns a radio station and weekly newspaper aimed at Chinese nationals living in Perth. The deal includes a weekly quarter-page advertisement written in Chinese for one year. The advertisement created immediate sales. Winter in Perth is June through August and sales are expected to be slim. In a setback, the Australian government slapped a $16,000 import tax on an Excursion limousine that arrived in September 2007. They were told the tax would be collected only when the vehicle was sold since the sales tax was paid in California when the vehicle was purchased. Apparently the deferred tax program was abolished and the import tax was paid in March.
Player No. 3
Ricardo Garza R & R Limousine Service, Houston
Garza began the year with a bang. Sales at R & R were climbing at the rate of 50% per month in the first quarter of 2010. After landing three new major accounts, a new 10-passenger limousine was added to the fleet, providing more opportunity for sales. The strong sales also allowed Garza to move out of his home-based office and into a 3,600 square foot facility. Garza also landed a transportation contract with MTV’s Jersey Shore television program that included his logo next to the MTV logo on promotional material. The popular show filmed in Houston. Garza also receives referrals from the Houston Rodeo Association, adding to his growth, and credits participation in a bridal show and a banquet hall opening for additional prospects.
Player No. 4
Deborah Talbot American Elegance Limousine, New London, Ohio
Talbot has found herself in the proverbial mind battle of whether to plunge into the limo-bus industry, or is it too much, too soon? American Elegance co-sponsored a bridal show and found the current demand was for large vehicles to carry large wedding parties. Not being ready to invest in more vehicles right now, Talbot used a brilliant method of growth. Partnering with the owner of several funeral homes, American Elegance provides funeral transportation to supplement the funeral home stretch while being able to use the funeral stretch when it is available. This is a temporary solution to handle large wedding parties without buying another vehicle yet. Business has been brisk and Talbot reported more than 25 weddings booked in the first three months of 2010.
Player No. 5
Becky Laramee, All Points Limousine, North Oxford, Mass.
Laramee reports a steady increase in sales with more than a 20% increase in sales over last year. Laramee attributes her increase to wedding business and a prom season that was more than double the amount of proms served last year. Laramee also has joined a wedding association and was appointed a member of the board of directors. Membership in the association and many hours spent marketing to retail clients appears to be paying off, Laramee says.
About LCT’s The Great Limo Race
LCT will be comparing how five operators with less than two years in the industry build their success, including the challenges, failures, and achievements. All of the “players” were randomly selected from a list of NLA Scholarship recipients during the International LCT Show in Las Vegas Jan. 25-27, 2010, except for one player who operates her business in Australia. The Great Limo Race will provide a view through the window of these start-up operations of what worked and what didn’t. There are lessons for newbies and pros alike. A winner will be selected after 18 months.
We’ll be updating how the five players adapt to the industry in future issues of LCT Magazine and on LCTmag.com. — Jim@LCTmag.com