Rashad Dababo of NLS Transportation.
WHAT HE DID BEFORE: Rashad Dababo worked for Apple Inc. doing sales for business and personal consumers, where he focused his attention on customer service and creating new Apple product owners.
WHY HE GOT INTO THE BUSINESS: Dababo’s father had been in the transportation business since the 1980s, working as a driver and eventually starting NLS Transportation in 2001. Dababo took over in 2008 to put his “young years into play” and allow his father to focus on his health.
START-UP COSTS AND METHODS: After taking over the company, Dababo spent about $200 for web hosting and software and used the skills he learned in school to build the company’s website. “I am very passionate about what I do,” he says. “I know technology and customer service, and I am able to use those qualities to keep up with the changes in our industry and provide quality service to my clients.”
BEST MARKETING STRATEGY: Dababo focuses his efforts on social media campaigns and search engine marketing to build brand awareness and exposure for NLS Transportation. He believes that providing exemplary service will generate word-of-mouth recommendations, and these can be referrals in person or online. “We use the Internet to its maximum potential to make sure we’re always on the same page as our clients,” he says. “A solid source [for getting online referrals and building positive buzz about the company] is Yelp.”
BIGGEST MISTAKE: “I’ve learned that if you don’t know what you’re doing, delegate it. Sometimes our heads get to us and we make mistakes. If you’re not a pro at something, have a pro do the job.”
BIGGEST SUCCESS: “My biggest success has to be that 96% of my business is in-house,” Dababo says. “I quit taking farm-in jobs last year so [my company] can focus on getting paid from previous jobs and focusing on our clients. We brought in almost 250% more business through our website in 2011 than in 2010.”
UNIQUE APPROACHES TO CUSTOMER SERVICE: NLS Transportation caters to client demands, Dababo says. Communication with clients creates a more “engaged experience” and ensures that NLS can understand clients’ expectations and accommodate their needs. “Customer service is the key to success and we strive for five-star ratings. This is a service industry, and I love customers.”
ADVICE TO OPERATORS: “Make sure you are fair with your clients. Also make sure you put extra effort in showing your appreciation of their business, as they will remember this when booking with you next time. Focus on your company’s web presence, since that’s where the industry is headed next.”
FUTURE PLANS: Dababo wants to expand NLS Transportation to a worldwide level, add more vehicles, and offer jet charter services. He also has plans for VIP concierge service and travel planning for large organizations.
Loyal to the core
Dababo displays loyalty to his former employer by using only Apple products in his office, including Macintosh computers, iPhones and iPads.
Fast Facts about NLS Transportation LLC
Location: Redwood City, Calif.
Owner: Rashad Dababo
Main service region: San Francisco Bay Area
Vehicle types: sedans, SUVs, stretch limousines
Fleet size: 5
Annual revenues: $250,000, +
Information: (866) 668-1857