Los Angeles operator Miguel Gonzalez, CEO of All Roads Transportation, honed his service skills by working in the hotel industry and for several limousine companies. He started his company in 2008 and provides personalized service to corporate and celebrity clients around the world.
All Roads Transportation Inc.
Location: Los Angeles
Year founded: 2008
Main service region: Los Angeles metro
Types of vehicles: Mercedes-Benz R-Class, GMC Yukon XL, Lincoln Navigator L, Van
Fleet size: 4
Employees: 3 (1 full-time/2 part-time)
Annual revenues: $460,000
Owner: Miguel Gonzalez
Information: (866) 991-0006
What he did before: Before founding All Roads Transportation in Los Angeles, Miguel Gonzalez worked for several other limousine companies in the area between 1999 and 2008. Before the limousine industry, he worked as a doorman for a hotel near Los Angeles International Airport.
Why he chose the limousine business: “I would always see a lot of limousines pull up and drop off their passengers [at the hotel],” Gonzalez said. “I made friends with the drivers and decided it was something I would like to do instead of staying in one place for eight hours. I applied at a company and that was the beginning.”
Start-up costs and methods: Gonzalez began saving money four years before starting his company. In 2008, he resigned from his job and bought a pre-owned Town Car sedan to found All Roads Transportation. He focuses on serving corporate and celebrity clients.
Best marketing strategy: “I have engaged in several marketing strategies since I started, including pay-per-click Internet advertising, the Yellow Pages, advertising in several magazines, but none of them really turned in a good profit. So I stopped spending on that. I’m not saying it doesn’t work for everybody, but they didn’t work for me. What has worked ever since and still works is word-of-mouth referrals from existing clients, going to trade shows, getting involved in local chambers of commerce, and donating services to nonprofits who recommend us in return.”
Lessons learned: One thing Gonzalez learned was to grow only when the business can support new vehicles. Early in his new venture, he added vehicles too quickly, but has scaled back to make sure his operations are lean and profitable. “Anybody with money can buy 20 cars, but if there’s no business [for them], it doesn’t do any good.”
Bragging rights: Despite not having “global” or “worldwide” in his company name, Gonzalez does a lot of international work, which he provides through his affiliate network. “We conduct business on a weekly basis all over the world. Clients request our services in London, Rome, Paris, Tokyo, Venice, Italy, New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston, and even some in Canada. These clients recommend our services to other companies and other people and our reputation spreads.”
Keys to success: When clients travel to other cities, they receive the name and phone number of their chauffeur before they land. “Wherever my clients go, their chauffeurs open the door, have water and a paper or magazine, help with their bags, and just cater to the client,” Gonzalez says.
Popular vehicle: The Mercedes-Benz R-Class BlueTEC diesel is the sedan of choice at All Roads, especially for eco-conscious clients.
Advice to operators: Don’t rip off clients and affiliates, but don’t drop rates too low. “In the long run it hurts [the operators] because vehicles get run down,” Gonzalez says. “It also hurts the industry. Stay competitive and the work’s going to be there.”
Plans for the future: “I am looking into growing my company by acquiring other small operations, if there is an opportunity available,” Gonzalez said.