Customer service: Although Chad Peterson incorporates technology into certain aspects of his company, he prefers to add a more personal touch when interacting with his clients. “I would say we make a lot of direct connections. The reason I say that might be somewhat unique is because, with all the electronic communication out there, it might not always be done that way. We have a very personal touch."
Marketing strategies: Renee’s has a strong legacy in the area within the wedding industry, which means much of its business comes from direct referrals. However, online marketing also generates much of their traffic. “We focus heavily on our website and our Internet presence; that’s where our primary focus is as far as marketing is concerned.”
Shifting industries: Peterson had his first taste of owning a business after he graduated from high school and started a contracting company. He later became the director of sales at an industrial coatings manufacturer but yearned for owning his company again. He saw the limousine industry as an industry he would enjoy working in, so he took a risk, left his job, and bought Renee’s Royal Valet.
Shared values: While the industries differ, Chad has brought the same values he’s held in his previous positions over to Renee’s. “I bought Renee’s because, the way they’ve set up the company, the focus is entirely on quality and service. And in my sales background, those were the two principles that I always stuck to: I focused on quality and service and left the low price wars to the other guys.”
Successful transition: Fortunately for Chad, his acquisition has gone smoothly thanks to familiar faces at the company. “I have the backing of the founder of the company, as well as the former owner of the company who are both working part-time for me, so really this whole transition is set up to succeed. We had a succession plan that we created that basically guaranteed success.”
Start-up costs and methods: “There are a lot of costs to buying a company. I don’t even know where to start with costs. There’s the small business loan, a lot of legal fees. There are also consulting fees.”
Chad Peterson, owner of Renee's Royal Valet in Minneapolis, Minn.
Business likes: “Being able to play a part in someone’s special day and do our part to make that day even more special. We really want to give our clients an experience they remember forever.”
Growth plans: Chad expects to grow his fleet in coming years. While he hasn’t added any vehicles yet, he hopes to have at least one more by Spring. However, he doesn’t know how he’s going to find a replacement for the Lincoln Town Car Executive L. “I think that is one factor that I hadn’t really considered, and now I realize that it will be a difficult choice because there’s no obvious successor.”