If the number of survey respondents could speak to the health of an industry, then this year’s results should signal strength.
The annual LCT Fact Book operator survey drew more than 460 respondents — the most since before the Great Recession — yielding a margin of error of +/- 4.3% and a 99% confidence level.
Of course, in the age of digital media — crammed e-mail boxes, relentless e-promos and blasts, and distracted attention spans — getting a survey done becomes all the more challenging. Once again, we took what we learned from previous surveys and further recalibrated, rephrased and revamped the questions and answer options to cut the time needed to fill it out.
Numbers and statistics can be sliced and diced many ways. These pages sum up straightforward results based on survey participation.
Overall, the number of limousine operators held steady, year over year, due to two reasons we have observed anecdotally and heard from informed sources:
1) The number of new limousine companies entering the industry has been growing, but
2) The number of mergers and acquisitions among established companies has risen as well [See p. 112].
Meanwhile, the number of motorcoach operators stands about even as well, according to the American Bus Association, whose figures we cited.
When compiling the limo company total, LCT counts single owner/operators only, not the number of limousine companies, or DBAs (Doing Business As). One operator, for example, could own three separately branded and named transportation services. We count that operator as ONE, not THREE, which is more accurate from many standpoints, including vendor/suppliers. That single operator likely makes purchasing decisions for all three companies.
Most respondents, 55%, were small fleet operators (1-10 vehicles); followed by medium-size fleets, 32%, (11-50 vehicles); and large fleets, 13%, (51-plus vehicles).
One last caveat to remember: This annual survey, more than any other, was taken in the age of TNCs, apps, and explosion in part-time independent drivers for TNCs. The fact that the chauffeured transportation industry has held its own so far while adapting to major competitive shifts should be encouraging.
An industry focused on superior service quality, sound business integrity, industry involvement, technology adoption, and regulatory respect will propel operators forward.
Annual Big 5 Industry Stats & Annual Operator Survey
2015-2016 LCT Fact Book & Industry Guide