The livery industry’s current of economic expansion may be as challenging for many operators as the recent recession. Now that livery companies are growing again, those who fail to plan creatively for the future are in danger of falling behind those who make the key moves necessary to compete in an expanding market. Some of the operators who will be most successful in coming years are those who shifted into a growth mode a year or more ago. In 1994, any company that does no expand its volume is probably losing market share. This applies to operators of all sizes although the relative size and nature of growth varies between small, medium, and large companies.
Small companies, those with ten vehicles or less, may have the most critical decisions to make. Somehow, these operators must get our from under the day-to-day routine in order to sell their services. This means sales calls, community networking, and industry involvement.
The only way to do this is to have an efficient management structure where competent people are clearly responsible for key functions such as reservations, dispatching, billing, sales, and customer service. No matter now good business may be in 1994, few companies will sustain growth with an organization where responsibilities are effectively delegated and every employee has written job description.
Small companies have to learn to compete successfully with larger ones for corporate business in order to thrive in 1994. One key for small companies, in particular, is to operate the newest and best equipment you can afford. Customers know the difference between old and new vehicles…as do chauffeurs. Although we haven’t yet figured out how to do a survey on this, I’m convinced that the quality of service a chauffeur provides is greatly affected by the quality of vehicle the chauffeur is driving.
Another wise investment is to out-do the competition in employee compensation, incentives, and working conditions. One characteristic of every successful company we’ve ever interviewed is a loyal and productive staff with minimal turnover in the office or behind the wheel.
As livery companies expand this year, experienced and reliable chauffeurs are going to command good compensation, a solid work schedule, and competitive benefits-including health insurance.
One final thought for greater success as you move into this year of opportunity, minimize the time you spend doing those tasks you least enjoy. Make a point of getting them over with as soon as possible or, better yet, delegate them to someone else. These may include important areas such as sales or collections but, if you lack enthusiasm, it shouldn’t be hard to find someone who can do a better job so that you can move on to other things.
Good luck in 1994! With this much opportunity for growth, we expect to see a number of new industry leaders emerge this year.