Biggest Success: Operator Alexander Adamo credits his company success to honesty and being upfront with clients and partners. “In this industry friendship and trust plays a major role in your success.”
Fleet vehicles: “Our best success was the addition of the 2014 Chrysler 300 sedans. The fuel savings and low cost of acquisition allowed us to expand our fleet in a short time while saving on operating costs.”
Marketing strategies: “I have found the best success with online marketing,” Adamo says. “Having tried local newspapers and several magazine ads, I was never impressed with the results. Sticking with Google, Yahoo, and Yelp paid advertising has proven to be most effective in our target market. We recently have stepped into affiliate marketing by attending industry related events. To this day, it has shown to be our highest return on investment.”
Company origins: Before founding Chauffeur Adamo LLC in 2010, Alex Adamo worked in retail store management for the PVH Corp.
Industry appeal: Adamo first became interested when a friend acquired his family’s limo company, which had been in business for many years. Adamo saw an opportunity to start his own company and employ new technology to compete in the market.
Start-up costs and methods: With just under $20,000 to start-up, Adamo was careful with investing. He formed Chauffeur Adamo as a California LLC, and then applied for permits and bought a used sedan to start the business. “Once everything was legal, I created a website and started marketing the services online,” he says.
Mistakes and setbacks: “Mistakes — we are all bound to have a few as business owners,” Adamo says. “It’s how we learn from them and adapt.” Adamo say his biggest setback came from investing too heavily in SEO services that garnered only temporary results. “One day we were gone from the Internet. When our website dropped in rankings, our phones stopped ringing, and thousands of critical start-up dollars were wasted. We have since diversified our online presence and have had steady growth ever since. As they say, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
Customer service practices: It is important for clients to be able to speak to an agent 24 hours a day. He has hired call centers and employed in-house dispatchers to make sure every phone call is answered in a timely manner, and that clients never get an answering machine.
Business loves: “I enjoy being out on the roads and traveling to new areas,” says Adamo, who also works as a chauffeur. “I have discovered a lot about the San Francisco Bay area in only a few years. The best part is I get paid to explore and expand my knowledge of Northern California.”
Future plans: Adamo plans to get into more retail business, and will probably add a Chrysler 300 stretch by the end of 2015. “There is good potential in the Napa Valley market and I would like to eventually expand our service to cover the demand for winery tours in the region.”
Advice: “Try not to worry about competition. You are wasting energy that could be used to grow your business. For small operators, I suggest finding that balance between work and fun. This industry will reward you if you manage your time properly.”
Location: Santa Clara, Calif.
Owner: Alexander Adamo
Service Region: San Francisco Bay Area
Vehicle types: Sedans
Fleet size: 4
Annual revenues: $280,000
Information: (888) 580-8101