Operations

West Virginia Operation Creates A Touch Of Class

Posted on January 6, 2014 by

Mike Podesta, owner of A Touch of Class Limousines, with two guests attending the PGA Tour Event at the landmark Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V.
Mike Podesta, owner of A Touch of Class Limousines, with two guests attending the PGA Tour Event at the landmark Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V.

Start-up costs and methods: Podesta’s initial startup costs were about $20,000 in legal fees to first get approved by the West Virginia Public Service Commission. Then, he bought his first stretch limousine for $37,000 in February 2002. “This is right after 9/11 though, and a lot of companies had gone bankrupt,” he says. “That same car would’ve cost me $55,000 before. So I made a big down payment to keep my monthly operating cost as low as possible.”

Best marketing strategies: Podesta works with his local newspapers and TV stations and forges his network based on relationships. “I am an old-fashioned guy when it comes to all this new technology,” he says. “The best and most economical tool for me has been the National Limousine Association and personal networking through trade shows.”

What he did before: The child of a Catholic-Italian family, Podesta first got business experience in his family’s restaurant business. He learned to work hard for everything he earned. After graduation from college, he worked in restaurant and hospitality management and attended culinary school, which led to him working as a chef at the prestigious Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V. From there, Podesta went on to open his own restaurant and catering business in 1989 in Clarksburg to much success.

How he got into the limo industry: “After being in the restaurant and catering business as long as I had, I had begun to cater a lot of weddings and handle bookings for limos for bridal parties. It was a natural tie-in to my restaurant and catering operation,” he says.

Mistakes and lessons: Looking back, Podesta says he’s learned to always have a backup plan in place in case of an emergency and advises operators to “remember one thing: Just because you have a driver that your very special client likes or prefers, that is not always the safest driver to send. Do not let clients’ likes or wants jeopardize the safety of your operation.”

Biggest success: The proudest moments at Limousines By A Touch of Class come from its special events work in the local hospitality and transportation industry, such as providing catering and travel means for President Clinton and his press when they visited Clarksburg, and working with the French delegation at President Obama’s G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Types of clients: Limousines By A Touch of Class caters mostly to high-end corporate accounts with mixed-in airport service and wedding clients.

Customer service approaches: “Pay attention to detail and do your homework,” says Podesta, when separating yourself from the competition. “Listen to the customer and exceed their expectations.”

Client referrals: Podesta still nets most of his referrals and leads through local and industry word-of-mouth and through networking with affiliate members in the NLA.

Future plans: Podesta says he would like to build a new garage facility and grow his fleet from four to seven vehicles. And, “I would like to increase my affiliate network and continue to maintain the quality of service that my clients expect.”

FASTFACTS
Limousines By A Touch Of Class
Owner: Philip Podesta
Location: Clarksburg, W.V.
Year founded: 2002
Main service region: West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania
Vehicle types: sedan, vans, stretches
Fleet size: 4
Employees: 5
Annual revenues: $300,000
Website: www.limousinesbyatouchofclass.com
Contact: (304) 624-3101

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

LiQMeng Pampers The Seating Plan

WebXclusive: The Taiwanese company provides upfit kits that will turn a regular ride into a luxurious experience.

All In A Day's Driving For Uber

TNC Travesties of the Week: Exploiting law loopholes, treating drivers like work machines, and more sexual assaults.

Tragic Accident Illustrates Need For Party Bus Rules

Analysis: Don’t let your client's night around the city turn into a horrific event. 

Tradition Trumps Hip For Luxury Brand Love

Many companies turn to storytelling to differentiate their products, however authenticity is crucial.

In A Troubled World, Remember Why People Travel

In pursuit of the foreign, we’re often shown by comparison how much of it we have here at home.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment

Submit

Blogs

See More

See More

See More

See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - December 2016 $12.95 GLOBAL/INTERNATIONAL ISSUE COVER STORY: * The Coolest Operators on the Planet * *



Connect

Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close