Since starting Concorde Limousine 20 years ago, Bob Bellagamba has moved his business from a small bedroom in his mother’s condo into a state-of-the-art facility in Freehold, N.J., that now houses nearly 60 vehicles. Winner of this year’s “Operator of the Year” award in the large fleet category, the company provides transportation to corporations and individual travelers throughout the New Jersey tri-state area.
While Concorde’s success is built on customer service excellence and on-time performance, Bellagamba says he was able to grow the company, even during troubled economic times, by running a tight, efficient ship.
“We have always focused on keeping our costs down, and it has paid off, particularly over the past few years,” he says. “We were able to move to a larger, new facility during the worst recession our industry has ever seen, and we never skipped a beat because of the programs we have in place.”
When Bellagamba was having his new facility constructed, he found out that he could get rebates from the electric company for installing high efficiency lighting. The rebates totaled over $6,000, which more than compensated for the cost of the fixtures.
Concorde continues to use only high-efficiency fluorescent bulbs, which are more expensive than standard bulbs, but burn less energy and last longer.
To further conserve energy, the company has installed light sensors in common areas – such as the employee kitchen and bathrooms – which turn the lights off after 15 minutes if they don’t detect movement.
Another major energy saver for Concorde is the company’s 500 gallon waste oil furnace, which burns used motor oil and transmission fluid to heat the 12-bay, 5,400 square foot garage where the company’s vehicles are maintained. The furnace cost $7,800, but Bellagamba estimates that it saves him over $400 a month in utilities and waste disposal. “Instead of worrying about disposing of all that oil, we just pour it into the furnace and heat the garage,” Bellagamba says. “We not only save on fuel, we help the environment.”
Concorde’s mechanics also use a compressed-air-powered oil filter crusher that reclaims virtually every drop of oil and turns the filters into scrap metal. It would otherwise cost Bellagamba about $1000 a year to dispose of the filters, which would be considered hazardous waste. The crusher costs about $1500.
Between the energy efficient lighting and waste oil furnace, Bellagamba was able to heat his 12,000 square foot facility last year for less than $150 per month. “We take the money we save and invest it in things that help us serve our clients better, like our online reservations software,” Bellagamba says. “Northern New Jersey is a competitive market, so every edge we can get is important.”