affiliate manager Houssem Omri (L) and owner Abdel Basett Cheriet (R) with the company’s latest vehicle addition, a 2014 Chevy Suburban.
Customer service approaches: For affiliate manager Houssem Omri, the mission for Bassett Limousine is always to be courteous, helpful, and knowledgeable with clients. “We take the extra step to help our clients, whether it be advising ETAs from point-to-point, or giving our opinions on the best sightseeing routes for a night out. We also have onsight dispatch/coordinators for affiliate group travel.”
Biggest success: “Offering what everyone else can offer, but in a way that nobody else can duplicate,” Omri says. The staff stays up-to-date on industry trends and technology, and runs a clean and organized operation with attention to detail. “Having professionally trained chauffeurs, new vehicles with all the amenities of today’s world like iPad, WiFi, GPS navigation, and water and napkins, keeps customers happy and turns them into long-term loyal clients.”
Mistakes/setbacks: “Our biggest mistake was the late introduction of services not only domestically but internationally. Only in the past few years have we started gaining relationships with affiliates across the United States and also international affiliates.”
Fleet growth: Omri says he has learned a fleet will grow on its own. “It is not a good idea to just throw another car into your garage. The experience of adding vehicles to our fleet has taught us that you need a steady amount of live calls and reservations to support a new vehicle, and you also have to have a chauffeur who is willing to take care of that vehicle better than he would his own.”
Business origins: Omri first started in the service industry working in hospitality, fashion and marketing. He then got a job managing a full service transportation and equipment leasing company that specialized in for-hire vehicles for the luxury transportation industry. It was during this time he combined his knowledge of time management, scheduling and customer service.
Start-up costs and methods: As the company shifted from leasing to providing executive chauffeured service, Bassett Limousine started out with vehicles already in stock. “We then went about properly training the chauffeurs that had been renting those cars from us,” Omri says.
Marketing strategies: Word of mouth and referrals are the main avenues for new business. “The referrals are not only from clients but also vendors, co-workers, friends and families. This has worked for us in a perfect way. We follow to the old fashioned idea of loyalty.”
Business likes: “This business brings me lots of joy,” Omri says. “While the time is flying by and we’re trying to make things happen faster than a human can process, we keep that smile in mind of all our family and friends who are being helped. It’s pleasing to me when an affiliate or client calls me with a headache of theirs and I am able to clear it. The thought that they’ll be there for us when we need them keeps us going.”
Advice for operators: “With the challenges we are all facing, new operators should keep up with technology, and use one online platform for all farm-in and farm-out work. And most importantly, make sure drivers are punctual and vehicles are well-maintained.”
Bassett International Corp.
Location: New York City
Owner: Abdel Basett Cheriet
Main service region: New York tri-state area
Vehicle types: SUVs, sedans, and vans
Fleet size: 9
Annual revenues: $1.1 million
Contact: (800) 660-6141