It never fails. Every year when we gather information for this particular issue, we are confronted with the same questions from operators:
- Why is the largest fleet most important?
- Does having a large fleet make them better?
- Why don’t you guys put XYZ Limousine on your list? They’re a good company.
The whole purpose of the ‘Largest Operators in North America’ article is to list the largest operations in North America. We’re not making a judgment on who’s ‘good’ and who’s ‘bad,’ but rather listing which operations have the largest fleets based on facts that we gather from the various insurance companies and regulatory agencies. This does not necessarily reflect on ‘what kind of people they are,’ although, many of them who I know personally are pretty good people.
Conversely, I know many great operators who run a really good business, but are what we’d consider small- to medium-sized operations, and therefore, don’t have enough vehicles to be on this list. Does this mean that we’re saying they have ‘bad companies?
Of course not! Some operators get this issue confused with the criteria of our Operator of the Year award. That award is based on particular operations, those that were nominated, and is selected by a panel of judges who review each entry. The listing in this issue is based strictly on the number of vehicles operated by a chauffeured transportation provider.
Fleet size does reflect a certain level of success. It takes a lot for operators to run large operations and manage huge fleets. After what has happened in this industry over the past year, the fact that these large companies are still going strong is a testament to their success. But there are many operators who are successful, run good operations and are perfectly content to maintain their current fleet size. Two operators that I immediately think of are Renee Aymar of Rene’s Royal Valet in Plymouth, Minn., and Bill Goerl of Clique Limousine Service in Bay Shore, N.Y.
Renee has been in this business for a number of years and has no real desire to increase her fleet. She’s run a successful operation and will continue to do so. Bill is a two-time finalist for Operator of the Year in the small fleet category (Renee won in 1998). He runs a great operation and is also perfectly happy not running 400 cars.
This listing reflects operators who successfully manage large fleets on a daily basis. They have built, and continue to build, large operations. David Seelinger from Empire opened two California offices last year, and Scott Solombrino acquired an office in South Florida. The Carey offices continue to roll along, and Mears Transportation remains the largest in the Sunshine State.
So, as you look through this issue, remember that the listing ranks operators according to fleet size. Maybe someday down the road we will attempt to rank all of the operations in North America, but for now I think we’ll just stay with the top 50.