While most seniors in high school are thinking about what they will wear to prom, who they will go with, and a glamorous evening in a limousine, 17-year-old Billy Jinks, owner of Avalon Limousines, is running his own transportation company. He’s been calling the shots at his Phoenix operation for nearly two years.
"It can be stressful,” he says, “but it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I have always loved the limousine business.” Not only is Jinks successfully running day-to-day business, Avalon is expanding at a rapid pace. With the help of his stepfather Bill Robitaille and his mother Mary Ann, the company’s fleet has grown from one limousine to a 10-vehicle fleet that includes sedans, SUVs, and minibuses. In addition to the company’s increase in size, it is now serving the metropolitan area of Phoenix and some parts of Tuscon, Ariz.
Although Jinks has only been an operator for a short time, according to him, he’s been involved with the industry for years. “I remember when I was eight years old, going to all of the LCT shows and being around the industry,” he says, “Everyone has known me since I was little.” He started in the business washing limousines for another local company when he was just a child. His parents decided to build him a car and the rest is history. Just a few years later, he’s rubbing elbows with some of the top companies in the area and says his affiliate work has made all of the difference in his company.
“We get so much business from affiliates and networking,” says Jinks. “My mom and I are constantly networking and looking for new business on the Internet.” He says Avalon’s customer service reputation and fleet of immaculate late-model vehicles accounts for the amount of affiliate work the company receives. “We’re always introducing ourselves to other companies,” he says “just to let them know we’re out there.” According to Avalon, the company goes above and beyond customer service when it comes to handling affiliate clients. They even go as far as branding the affiliate company’s logo inside the car.
Perfection Has Arrived
Avalon’s acute attention to detail placed the company within the top five ranking of Arizona’s transportation companies by AzBusiness Magazine, the state’s leading business publication, this past year. According to Jinks, Avalon beat out a few of the biggest names in the area. He says he plans on placing higher next year. The company’s advertising has been done largely by word of mouth and on the Internet.
“We don’t even have a Yellow Pages ad!” says Jinks. According to the company, its commitment to detail is its advertising. Its clientele is split in half, with 50% concentrated in corporate and 50% in retail. Avalon recently jumped on the party car market and is seeing more results everyday. Jinks also says the bus side of Avalon’s business has really taken off. The company prides itself on having unique vehicles that speak for themselves. Avalon’s biggest goal is perfection and having the latest and most unique vehicles the industry has to offer. All of the company’s cars are equipped with extras, such as TVs, upgraded wheels and tires, and XM radio. Jinks says his cars never leave the site without a thorough visual inspection.
“People should be able to see a car going down the road and know that it’s Avalon’s,” says Jinks. He sees a promising future for his company and says that one day he would like to see it expand internationally, although he plans on getting an education first.
“After college,” he says, “I would really like Avalon to grow, not just in vehicles, but in clients and the areas it serves.”