Technology

Creating Technology Solutions With Broad Industry Appeal

Posted on November 20, 2013 by

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Michael Lindsey of Lindsey Limousine combines his practical on-the-road experience with innovative technology solutions tailored to the limousine industry.
Michael Lindsey of Lindsey Limousine combines his practical on-the-road experience with innovative technology solutions tailored to the limousine industry.

Over the years, Michael Lindsey, owner of Lindsey Limousine in Hartford, Conn., has seen areas in his business where technology solutions would reduce the time and costs needed to perform tasks. So far, he has developed three key technology solutions for his company that he now shares with limousine operators nationwide so that they can become more efficient.  

“I am a bit of a ‘techie’,” says Lindsey, who is not formally trained in computers or software. “As a kid, I was the one who took stuff apart and put it back together.” This curious nature led Lindsey to develop three tools for his business which are transferable to any company in the limousine industry.

Rate Butler

Lindsey, who has been in the limousine industry for 25 years, built his business by working with other companies. 

 “I wanted to be every limousine company’s Hartford affiliate. I was working with all the big companies and a lot of the little ones,” Lindsey recalls. “Every company was calling asking us to fill out their affiliate application which could be four to 40 pages. I wanted to make it easier to do business together so I worked with a web company and developed Rate Butler in 2009.”

Rate Butler acts as a centralized location for companies to go to in order to get affiliate information and pricing. Companies visit the Ratebutler.com site and fill in the affiliate information, fleet make-ups, and pricing.  

“It is designed for you to share your information with companies you have a relationship with while they can do the same with you,” he says. “You upload your data on the site. Next, you choose who you will allow to see your information. The site is totally secure so that only those you allow access to your information will receive it. It’s essentially the Facebook for affiliates, except that nobody can see your friends,” Lindsey jokes. “You pick who sees your information, and just because someone shares their rates with you, doesn’t mean they can see your rates.”

There are 742 companies using the Rate Butler Program. It’s up to each company to update Rate Butler with price changes but they only need to do it once on the Rate Butler site. It saves the time of sending out pricing notifications to all of a company’s affiliates.  

Knowing when chauffeurs are available and when they worked empowers operators.
Knowing when chauffeurs are available and when they worked empowers operators.

Lindsey offers Rate Butler to other limousine companies at no charge. “We’ve grown the site strictly through word of mouth,” he says. “The more companies that are on the site, the better it works, and the more beneficial it is for everyone. If I don’t have an affiliate in a city, I can go on Rate Butler and it will tell me which companies on Rate Butler serve that city. I can then contact them and ask them to ‘share’ their information with me on Rate Butler.”

Rate Butler integrates directly with Livery Coach software. For companies not on that dispatch platform, the site is built with the ability to work with other software. Lindsey recommends contacting your software vendor and asking them to develop a link with Rate Butler. Even without Livery Coach, Rate Butler has a desktop downloadable search tool called Rate Butler Lite which allows operators to put the tool on every reservationist’s desktop. They can quote prices without having to put a client on hold or get back to them while they call an affiliate for pricing. The system allows you to build your markup into the price so that your reservationist is quoting what you want to charge for the job — no fumbling around with a calculator.  

One of the best features of the program is its ability to track insurance certificates. “I have not found any company, even the big ones, that track affiliates’ insurance certificates as well as this does. You enter the expiration date into the system, and 10 days before it is scheduled to expire, a notice is sent out requesting the update,” Lindsey says. “We’ve improved the site over the years through the input of the people who use it. “Users give us suggestions and we incorporate them to make it better for everyone.”

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