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Alex Darbahani’s avant-garde marketing concepts and involvement in his local community appeal to clients from all ends of the spectrum.
Alex Darbahani would rather lose money than risk ruining his reputation for providing stellar service. “I do whatever I can to make clients happy,” the owner and founder of Los Angeles-based KLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services says. He understands that reputation is a significant factor to finding success and knows how to build and maintain one, whether by providing complimentary premium amenities or compensating a ride if a client experiences subpar service.
Darbahani’s philosophy has earned him the loyalty of high-profile clients such as Jennifer Lopez, Lamar Odom, Shaquille O’Neal, and Christina Aguilera. His roster also included the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
Darbahani saw potential for the limousine industry while working for a music producer. He entered the industry in 1992 as a chauffeur for Carmel Limousine in Woodland Hills, Calif. He established his business in 1998 with two Lincoln Navigator SUVs. His first major event was Jennifer Lopez’s 2001 wedding in Calabasas, Calif. He farmed out work for 164 vehicles, including 10 Bentley Arnage luxury sedans.
On top of technology
KLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services operates 29 vehicles, employs 21 full-time staff members, and serves high-end corporate accounts, music studios and production companies. Every vehicle comes equipped with water, magazines, and Wi-Fi. Chauffeurs have their own iPads, the cost of which is split between the company and chauffeurs, who use them as airport greetings and to log on to Limo Anywhere.
KLS uses a Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol [VoIP] phone system so employees can work from home if they are sick or live far from the office, such as the graveyard shift dispatcher. Darbahani converted to VoIP because he wanted KLS to answer calls 24/7 but had a bad experience with a call center. “VoIP lets me use my own dispatchers and maintain the quality of service we provide,” he says.
It is crucial for operators to keep vehicles clean and properly maintained, Darbahani says. He has an in-house mechanical and detail staff who not only save him money but also provide quick turnaround on vehicle preparation.
People are paramount
The most important pieces of the limo business puzzle are your people, Darbahani says. The office staff and chauffeurs need to be treated well so they know their talents are valuable to the company. KLS has monthly breakfast meetings to keep chauffeurs and office staff on the same page. At the end of each year, Darbahani gives his employees a form to write their own reviews and give specific examples of what they did that might earn them a raise.
Interestingly, he also gives yearly evaluations to each of his clients. “I take a look at my accounts and decide if I need to raise the price on some of them, or if I keep it the same, or if I change the kind of vehicle they get,” he says. “If I gave a client a corporate rate but they haven’t used me that often, then I’ll tell them they can keep that price but they’ll be getting a Prius instead of a Mercedes.