LCT: Tell us a little about your self.
Sanchez: I am a third generation cab driver. My mom was a dispatcher for Citywide Yellow Cab. My dad was a driver. He fell in love with the voice on the radio. I was essentially raised in this business. When I graduated high school, I worked for Communacar as a chauffeur. I was in college for two years and went on my first job to be a sales person only to get a job as a dispatcher. I was general manager at City Ride. My job there was to bring in accounts and develop a system for chauffeurs and CSRs. Essentially, I managed the entire gamut. I am the executive vice president of Partners. When I started, we had 20 I.O cars. Five years later, we are at 72.
LCT: What do you attribute the growth to?
Sanchez: Consistency in our product. We have been branding within the industry and working hard to get our name out there.
LCT: You are the official transportation company for the New York Yankees.
Sanchez: We are. We have been affiliated with the Yankees for a while now —six years. It has been a great relationship and has led to a lot of other referral business. We have a great product to offer and we really do believe in it. I say that we offer filet mignon at hamburger price with exceptional service. We are all about consistency.
LCT: I understand that you have a green initiative started. What can you tell us about that?
Sanchez: We were the first Green Ride Global account in New York. Over a year and half ago, we started our program with 460 Lexus. We currently accept Fusions from our IOs. We also have a green initiative in our office. We have accounts that need this to be done and we are ready to step up to it.
LCT: Tells us about running a complete independent operator model.
Sanchez: We set high standards. We only take people who have five years experience. We only accept certain vehicles and they must be less then three years old.
LCT: LBOA seems to have sprung up overnight. Tell us how LBOA came to be.
Sanchez: We thought that our segment of the business was not being adequately represented. We spoke to the folks at the Limousine Association of New York but didn’t feel that it was the right direction for us. We started LBOA. I don’t think we had any idea what it would become when we were setting it up. It has had incredible momentum. We have been extremely aggressive and we have ruffled a few feathers in the process. It is great though to be acknowledged by the commissioners of the TLC and have them come to our meeting and speak to our members. Our board members all work hard to make LBOA a success. We want everyone in the organization to have a say in what is happening to our industry.
LCT: Where do you see LBOA going in the future?
Sanchez: My wish list would have us at 70 members. New York City has 177 luxury bases. There is a lot of room for us to grow.
LCT: What are you seeing in the industry these days?
Sanchez: I know that I filled out more RFPs this year then I have in the past 22 years. Selling right now is not as much about relationships as it once was. We may not be the cheapest but we are certainly service driven. That is how we are differentiating ourselves. But the problem is that corporate America is still cutting. We have combated this by getting out there and just selling. We have opened 180 new accounts. The only way we can offset the business drop is by bringing in new business. We were only down 25% in the last quarter. We are actually tracking ahead now.
LBOA information: LBOA Web site
Partners Executive Transportation information: CLICK HERE
Source: Linda Jagiela, LCT Magazine