CHICAGO — George Jacobs ranks among those operators who could justifiably ask, “What recession?”
The three-decade operator and former NLA President who owns a major Chicago area chauffeured transportation and motorcoach charter and tour company marks two major milestones this month as his company revenues soar to 43% so far November-over November. Year-to-date, the company is slightly ahead in revenues compared to 2008.
Windy City Limousine recently became the exclusive transportation provider to the Chicago Fire soccer team, which is the fifth major sports franchise that has a contract with Windy City. The front-to-end contract will provide bus and van transportation for Chicago Fire players well as luxury sedan and SUV service for owners, managers, coaches, and VIPs. Jacobs estimates the two-year contract, signed on Nov. 15, will bring in about $1 million in annual revenues. Other sports clients of Windy City include: the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago White Sox, the Chicago Cubs, and the Chicago Motor Speedway.
In addition, Windy City Limousine will be handling transportation for visiting teams, the Chicago Fire’s away games, and stadium transportation for about 5,000 fans at home games. The agreement also extends to 12 minor league teams, with the top two owned by the Chicago Fire, Jacobs said.
So far, Windy City Limousine owns 15 motorcoaches and has arrangements to use many more as demand fluctuates, Jacobs said.
Money For More
With increasing demand for motorcoaches in a tight credit environment, Windy City Limousine and other operators face challenges in getting enough financing and credit to buy motorcoaches. A new, fully equipped motorcoach often costs about $450,000 or more.
To that end, Jacobs and a consortium of investors are forming the Windy City Bus Leasing Co. to set up the financial backing for future bus purchases. The investor-based company will operate as a separate entity and draw upon an estimated $9 million financing pool with a bank contributing about 75% of that amount and individual investors about 25%, Jacobs said.
The leasing company, to officially start business on Jan. 1, 2010, will be modeled after GMAC and Ford Motor Credit Co., said Jacobs, who will serve as a director and investor in the enterprise.
“I would love to buy buses and have the financing done in a week,” Jacobs said.
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Source: Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine