LCT: Tell us about ETS.
John Green: ETS International is a global provider of chauffeur-driven transportation services based in the Boston area. My brother, Peter, and I run the business. He handles operations and I take care of marketing and sales. Together, we have more than 40 years experience in owning and managing transportation companies. We have enjoyed triple-digit revenue growth over the past 12 months — adding 22 employees and 10 new vehicles, which is just the opposite story for many in our industry.
LCT: That is an amazing stat you just quoted. What do you attribute it to?
John Greene: Our business philosophy and experience have fortunately enabled us to actually expand in this down market. We provide our clients with a value proposition, and they have not only continued using us, they tell their business associates, friends and families about us. Most of all, our people are passionate about what they do every day. They know that it’s the details that count because people remember negative experiences. Total satisfaction is our goal. We like to think through what possibly can go wrong and then make sure we know what to do dodge the bullet.
LCT: So you get a good deal of business through word of mouth? How else do you promote?
John Greene: We’re not afraid to be visible. We want to be seen, whether it’s launching a new service or participating in a charitable event. We’re the official limousine service for the Boston Bruins Foundation.
LCT: What areas have you seen the biggest growth in?
John Greene: One of ETS’s biggest growth areas has been its global network, which provides service to clients in cities around the world through affiliated companies. Our inbound affiliate work comprise comprises 50% of our overall business. When we take care of another company’s arrivals in Boston, we have two customers – –the person getting our car and the limo company that sent them to us. We’ve also made some acquisitions.
LCT: Tell us more about your acquisitions.
John Greene: Our first acquisition was in 2007 when we purchased Home Safe Coach in Quincy, Mass. We had worked together in the past and a friend told us they might be interested in selling. The second came in August of 2008. We bought All Star Limousine in Kingston, Mass. It doubled the size of our company overnight. All Star had been in business for 14 years.
LCT: Will you be expanding further?
John Greene: We’re looking at other acquisition candidates in the Boston market, and we have a proven sales and marketing program that has been very successful over the many years. We’re growing at 100% growth monthly. Month over month, we’re doubling our business.
LCT: Why do you think you have been so successful growing your business especially in a recession?
John Greene: Making sure every customer has a good experience and that means being super conscious of having zero flaws in our execution. It’s easy to lose business, but it’s much tougher getting it and then hanging on to it. The limousine business is like dry cleaning. What the customer remembers is the missing or broken shirt button. To do it right all the time takes tremendous focus on the part of everyone in the company.
LCT: What advice would you give other operators who are struggling right now just to survive?
John Greene: I just did.
LCT: What makes your company different?
John Greene: When you really think about it, it isn’t being different. We all have vehicles that look just about the same. It’s keeping focused on asking ourselves one question all the time: What kind of an experience is this customer having with ETS International? Our tagline expresses it: “Your expectations drive us.”
Source: Linda M. Jagiela, LCT Magazine