Bella Luxury Limousine owner Collins Ogada applies old-school hard work and a new-school web presence to serve the region of Allentown, “The Queen City” and Pennsylvania’s third largest city.
What he did before: Before founding Bella Luxury Limousine in 2009, Collins Ogada worked at a major insurance company in Lehigh Valley, Penn.
Bella Luxury owner Collins Ogada with his Cadillac DTS in front of the Sands Casino & Resort in Bethlehem, Pa.
Why he got into the business: “I was looking for a new challenge and there wasn’t much room for growth in the insurance agency,” Ogada says. “I had some experience in the limo industry from working for a local company while I was in between jobs, and I was confident that some of the sales skills I developed in the insurance industry could translate well to it.”
Start-up costs and methods: “I financed a sedan, set up a website, printed some promotional materials and acquired booking software,” Ogada says. With limited resources, he did most of the work himself and kept his expenses to a minimum. “I just made a lot of cold calls, walked into hotels distributing my business cards and brochures, and turned to some contacts I’d developed over the years.”
Best marketing strategy: Ogada invested a lot of money in building his website and says it has worked out well. “I also do some mailers because it’s relatively cheap and you can keep using the same leads,” he says. He also has spent a lot of time building his affiliate network and says it has brought him “positive results.”
Biggest mistake: Overreliance on corporate clients, because when you’re operating in a small town, you can’t afford to have all your eggs in one basket, Ogada says. “You have to do retail and try to generate revenue from multiple sources. I’ve learned to diversify my fleet and work with affiliates to offer my clients broader choices.”
Biggest success: Strong client retention because it helps generate referrals and provide a dependable revenue base every month.
Unique approaches to customer service: “We pride ourselves on timely pickups, and as a result, we’ve developed a discount structure for late pickups,” Ogada says. “If we are more than 15 minutes late, we waive the entire cost of the trip, regardless of the reason for being late. We charge our customers when they’re late and it’s only fair to penalize ourselves when we are late.”
Advice to operators: “The key to success in any business is relationships,” Ogada says. “That’s the only thing you can turn to when things go wrong, as they inevitably do over time. Good relationships are priceless and not worth ruining for short-term gain.”
Future plans: “I would like to acquire a small limousine company in the area and merge resources to create a stronger and more profitable company,” Ogada says. He’s developing a smartphone app for Bella Luxury Limousine and is installing Wi-Fi in all of his vehicles.
Fast Facts about Bella Luxury Limousine
Location: Allentown, Penn.
Main Service Region: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Types of Vehicles: sedans, stretch limousine, van
Fleet size: 5
Annual revenues: N/A
Owner: Collins Ogada
Information: (484) 860-9390