LCT: Tell our readers about your company.
Tim Rose: Flyte Tyme has offices in Mahwah, Princeton, and Philadelphia. We have a black car base in New York City and with our recent strategic partnership with The Executive Transportation Group we now have offices in Stanford, Connecticut and Westchester New York. We also have a worldwide network in the United States, and in Europe and Asia through the Go Extra Platform. The majority of our business is corporate in nature: airport transfers, shuttles, meetings and events. The combined entities handle over 6000 trips per day.
LCT: Let's talk about your recent partnership. What does it mean?
Tim Rose: My partner and father-in-law, Allen Serafin was ready to retire. We were already working with the Acierno family in our black car operation, Flyte Line, since 2003. We wanted to do more and the timing seemed to work out for all of us. Executive Transportation Group is a $150 million company. They are the largest black car bases in New York City with over 1800 drivers. This is a great company to team up with. Like our business it is family owned with John, Chip and Jeff Acierno. There are great synergies here and we will be able to do a lot together.
John bought out my partner and we now have both a financial and strategic partner.
LCT: What will your focus be in the new company?
Tim Rose: My first order of business will be the integration of the branch offices in Stanford and Westchester. Both of these markets are very high end. I am excited to now have offices there. I will also oversee the worldwide network. GoExtra was formerly the Burgundy Global network. I essentially will now handle the network and all of the prearranged luxury service.
LCT: Will you see any attrition as a result of the merger?
Tim Rose: I don't think so. We were both pretty lean and mean as a result of current economic conditions so I don't expect to see any cuts. We will be concentrating on streamlining the operations.
LCT: The Acierno family will oversee the Black Car operations?
Tim Rose: That is where there expertise lies. We will now be able to offer different levels of service. Before they may have had requests for vehicles that they didn't have and they would farm them. Now we will be able to handle all of the different requests in house. The black car and the luxury service will be handled separately.
LCT: Crystal Ball time. What is going on in the industry?
Tim Rose: (laugh) Good question. I think that in the next six months we will continue to see a good deal of price pressure from our customers. Clients are looking to consolidate vendors-before they may have had five now they want only two. If your fleet is big enough this is good. This is a good sign for our companies. I believe that October will be the true tale. If we have a strong October it will mean good things in general for the 4th quarter.
LCT: Are you seeing a big call for sustainability in your markets?
Tim Rose: Survival is now more important. We see it very limited in bids. We thought we would see more. Sustainability remains to be seen.
I don't think people are willing to pay extra for it right now. Flyte Tyme has hybrid vehicles to their fleet and ETG has the largest Hybrid fleet in the country with Ozo Car. We offer them to clients based on request but the requests really are limited.
LCT: Are you seeing any other market trends?
Tim Rose: Clients are using on line auction tools. This has been a challenge. Our clients are under a great deal of price pressure. They want more and more technology and reporting and are looking to pay less for it.
LCT: Will clients sacrifice service for price?
Tim Rose: Those that do usually regret it. It is a limited solution and they usually go back to service. Cheap is not always the answer. We have to compete with companies who may not do things to the letter the way that we do. We are fully permitted and insured in the markets that we service. Often we have more insurance then is necessary. It's challenging when a client only sees the bottom line price.
LCT: You been active with the Limousine Associations of New Jersey for some time now. Why do you continue to serve as president?
Tim Rose: I've been president for 10 years. One of the reasons I stay active is that I am trying to protect my company but also the industry so that it remains a viable industry. If we don't we could get regulated out of business. People who are not active in their associations are often penny wise pound foolish. They may be saving on membership but the value that comes from the association is far greater.
The people in associations tend to always be the same people doing the work or making the contributions to better the industry. I believe that if you are serious about the industry you should get involved with your time and money.
LCT: Bring out the crystal ball again. If we were having this interview five years from now, what would you be telling me about your company?
Tim Rose: We are looking at our operations saying that we now cover from Stamford to Philadelphia with company branches. I honestly think that we could franchise the top 25 cities in the nation. With our nationwide span, it may make sense to go down that road. Right now, I am really excited about the partnership. It is the perfect marriage of two companies for the good of both. I have known and been friends with the Acierno family for years. We now have the world as our coverage area and we are looking forward to taking advantage of it.
Source: Linda M. Moore, LCT Magazine