Operations

Operator Finds New Ways To Grow Limo Bus Service

Posted on September 19, 2013 by - Also by this author

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Limo4me.com owner Art Rivas plans to take his party bus chauffeured service and revamp it into a national franchise with fleet mixes of high-end buses for corporate and retail clients tailored to the demands of each franchisee’s territory.
Limo4me.com owner Art Rivas plans to take his party bus chauffeured service and revamp it into a national franchise with fleet mixes of high-end buses for corporate and retail clients tailored to the demands of each franchisee’s territory.

Upgrades & Updates
Rivas is writing a software program structured for a Limo4me.com franchise business while developing an advertising and marketing plan. His first phase over the next six months is to downsize his fleet and split it into three Southern California locations: Los Angeles, Hollywood and Orange County. Longer range plans include opening locations in Dallas and other major cities, eventually launching 100 franchise locations by 2015. The fleet mix of each franchisee would be “localized” and custom-tailored to the demands of each service region, Rivas explains.
As part of that plan, Limo4me.com is gradually upgrading its fleet to newer, more modern buses. About half of the fleet as of August consisted of newer buses up to five years old, and the rest are used and converted buses, many of them outfitted locally with new seating, lights, fog machines and stereo systems.

“I don’t want to be the company of old buses,” Rivas says. “I just want to have every franchisee to have eight to 12 brand new limos and buses, depending on demographics. We’re doing a lot to create the brand in defined, local markets.” For example, Rivas cited the planned Hollywood outlet, which would lean heavily toward high-end party buses for corporate and entertainment clients out on the town, while the Orange County franchise would have a fleet with more vehicles suited to the suburban weddings and special events markets.

The reservation center at Limo4me.com is walk-in friendly, with opportunities for prospective clients to see buses on the lot.
The reservation center at Limo4me.com is walk-in friendly, with opportunities for prospective clients to see buses on the lot.

Safety First
Another area where Rivas became more aggressive is party bus safety, a topic that has roiled the limousine industry given the many high-profile party bus accidents in recent years nationwide. The safety issue hit home for Rivas in early August when one of his minibuses carrying a group of bachelor party day trippers was gutted in a blaze along U.S. Highway 101 northwest of Los Angeles. Fortunately, the group had plenty of time to get out with their belongings and the chauffeur followed all of the company’s safety procedures and deployed a fire extinguisher, Rivas says. The fire likely was caused by an engine oil leak on a hot day of strenuous extended travel involving multiple hills and elevations, he said.

The company requires safety training for chauffeurs and drivers, maintenance checklists, fire extinguishers, and detailed vehicle records. Most notable, however, is the constructive approach Rivas takes with state regulators. He actually calls his contact in the Los Angeles office of the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates chauffeured transportation companies in the state.
 
“I have a regular relationship with the PUC. He keeps me straight,” he says of his inspector. Rivas figures it’s a good use of time and effort to know and follow every rule and keep the right records and forms. The risks are higher than for a corporate-only fleet, so obeying the rules doesn’t just promote maximum safety, it reduces liability too. “I’ve never been found negligent, never been in the courthouse and had no litigations. I invest a lot of time and money in getting it right.”

The Limo4me.com name and logo reflect the sign-savvy expertise of its owner, who runs a Long Beach, Calif.-based design and imaging company with national clients.
The Limo4me.com name and logo reflect the sign-savvy expertise of its owner, who runs a Long Beach, Calif.-based design and imaging company with national clients.

FASTFACTS: Limo4me.com

  • Location: Carson, Calif.
  • Founded: 2001 (as Platinum Limousine)
  • Owner: Art Rivas, CEO
  • Service region: Southern California
  • Fleet size: 50 vehicles
  • Vehicle types: Minibus and motorcoach party buses; SUV and sedan stretch limousines; standard sedans and SUVs.
  • Employees: 75, including 45 chauffeurs/drivers
  • Annual revenues: N/A
  • Key client markets: Weddings, birthdays, bachelor and bachelorette parties, company events, concerts, cruise line transfers, formals, funerals, graduations, homecomings, proms, Quinceañeras, tours.
  • Website: www.limo4me.com
  • Information: (888) 546-6469
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