JAN/FEB LCT Cover Story: The Los Angeles operation creates a bold luxury service model that pursues a progressive edge while promoting a cleaner environment.
The top 75 questionnaires are in and the results are tallied; if the number of vehicles in your fleet has declined since last year, you’re not alone. So have the fleets of 56% of the operators that made this year’s Top 75 ranking. A third reported a gain in fleet size, and 8% remained the same size as in 2002.
The largest fleet size registered by a single operation this year was 397 vehicles, down from 2002’s 524 vehicles. The cutoff to make the Top 75 list was 47 vehicles, up two cars from 2002.
The Top 75 fleets lost a total of 638 vehicles, or 8% of their combined vehicles. That average out to each operation losing about 10 cars, which comes as no surprise to Tom Mazza, executive director of the National Limousine Association.
Twenty percent of the business travel market has disappeared since 9/11 and is still gone. That means 20% less airplanes and 20% fewer cars needed to do airport work,” Mazza said. “It all stems from that.”
One type of vehicle that did make a greater presence in fleets from last year -- despite high gas prices -- is SUVs.
Two thirds of the largest 75 fleets reported notable increases in the number of SUVs was not featured in last year’s survey; some operations might not have reported SUVs under the “others” category.
“This generation of special-occasion buyers those in the 18 to 24 year old category are looking more for an SUV than they are for a traditional vehicle,” Mazza said. “So operators that are looking to buy a new vehicle are looking at SUVs.”
Questionnaires were sent to several hundred chauffeured transportation operators in April. Nearly 200 completed forms were returned and LCT editors contacted a number of operators who failed to respond to the initial questionnaire.
The rankings are based on total fleet size for each operation and include limousines, sedans, SUVs, vans/shuttles, motorcoaches and other luxury transportation vehicles.
The ranking represent fleets in a single metropolitan area. This means the large national firms- Carry, Dav El, BostonCoach, CLS Worldwide and Music Express – have several entries in the Top 75.
Operators were required to authorize LCT editors to contact their insurance companies to verify fleet sizes; the information supplied by many operators was verified with their agents.
Four companies that reportedly had fleets large enough to include them in this year’s Top 75 either declined to participate after repeated efforts asking them to do so: Mears Transportation Group, Orlando; Carey Kansas City (formerly Coach USA); Ambassador Limousine, Las Vegas, and Executive Limousines of Long Island, Coram, N.Y., were not included in this year’s ranking.
Yet, despite declining fleet sizes, there were apparently very few mergers or buyouts among the Top 75 city operations. One exception is California Wine Tours, which acquired Evans Airport Service earlier this year and made the Top 75 for the first time at #21.
Not surprisingly, the metropolitan area with the greatest number of large fleets was Greater New York City. Twenty-four of the fleets on the Top 75 list are based here.
The metropolitan areas with the next greatest number of Top 75 fleets were South Florida, with six. Los Angles and Chicago with five each, Boston with four and Washington, D.C., with three.
Las Vegas was home to three of the largest fleets: #1 Bell Trans; #6 CLS’s Las Vegas facility; and #40 On Demand Sedan & Limousine. Ambassador Limousine, another Las Vegas operation. Would probably have made the list but officials there failed to return the survey despite numbers reminders.
There is no direct evidence that any company that made the 2002 Top 75 list went out of business in the past year.
|Number of Vehicles|
|2003 ranking||Company||Location||Total Fleet Size|| limousines || sedans || SUVs || Vans || Shuttle Buses || Motor coaches ||Other||Website||principals|
|1||Bell Trans||Las Vegas, NV||397||240||33||2||11||108||0||3 limo bus||www.bell-trans.com||Brest Bell, pres.; Breck Opeka, GM|
|2||Carey New York||Long Island City, NY||365||11||338||3||11||2||0||3||www.careyint.com||Ed Martinez, regional VP|
|3||Empire International||Norwood NJ||348||14||309||4||13||3||0||4 Benz, 1BMW||www.empireint.com||David Seelinger, pres/CEO|
|4||Carey Chicago||Chicago, IL||248||143||89||3||3||10||0||0||www.careyint.com||Sal Milazzo, regional VP|
|5||A-1 Limousine||Princeton, NJ||226||40||156||0||16||2||9||3 mini bus||www.a1limo.com||Jeffrey and Michael Starr|
|6||CLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services, Las Vegas||Las Vegas, NV||215||113||51||5||10||34||2||3||www.clsimo.com||Charlie Horky, owner; Randy King, GM|
|7||Boston Coach, New Jersey||Elisabeth, NJ||194||2||192||0||0||0||0||0||www.bostoncoach.com||Russ Cooke, pres,; Lou Carlucci, mgr.|
|8||Dav El New York||Long Island City, NY||190||74||97||9||8||2||0||0||www.davel.com||Scott Solombrino, pres./CEO|
|9||Metro Cars||Taylor, MI||189||4||116||2||13||49||4||1 limo coach||www.metrocars.com/net|
|10||A-1 Airport Limousine Service||Bloomingdale, IL||179||53||126||0||0||0||0||0||www.a1limousine.com||Rita Meredith, pres.; Jim Miller, GM|
|11||Bostoncoach||Everett, MA||176||0||136||0||14||21||5||0||www.bostoncoach.com||Russ Cooke, pres.; Rick Cavalier, mgr.|
|12||Air Brook Limousine||Rochelle Park, NJ||172||4||122||0||25||0||10||11||www.airbrook.com||Donald Petroski, pres.; James Dziekonski, exec. VP|
|13||King Limousine & Transportation Service||King of Prussia, PA||158||23||91||4||15||25||0||0||www.kinglimousine.com||Robert G. Euler, pres.; Mike Kulaga, GM|
|14||CLS Worldwide Chauffeured Service, Los Angeles||Sherman Oaks, CA||151||35||57||8||18||11||2||20 Mercedes||www.clslimo.com||Charlie Horky, owner; Joey Henriques, GM|
|15||Flyte Tyme Limousine||Mahwah, NJ||150||7||120||5||14||4||0||0||www.flytetymelimo.com||Timothy Rose, pres.; Allen Seratin, CEO|
|16||CLS Worldwide Chauffeured Services, New York||Brooklyn, NY||147||32||60||10||14||7||2||22 Mercedes||www.clslimo.com||Charlie Horkey, owner, Leon Reitzenstein, VP/GM|
|17||Diva Limousine||Hollywood, CA||135||41||68||12||12||2||0||0||www.clivalimo.com||Bijan Zoughi, pres/CEO; Israel Juarez, GM|
|18||Carey Boston||Braintree, MA||125||7||104||0||8||4||2||0||www.careyint.com||Phil Gilpin, regional VP; Joe Winstanley, GM|
|19||Execucar||Phoenix, AZ||125||0||120||0||5||0||0||0||www.execucar.com||Mike O’Conner, VP; Jeff Conly, managing director.|
|20||Tri County Transportation||FT. Lauderdale, FL||125||0||95||0||30||0||0||0||www.floridalimo.com||Lorraine Celestino Wilde|
|21||California Wine Tours||NAPA, CA||124||23||27||3||10||36||25||0||www.californiawinetours.com||Michael Marino, pres,; Richard Marino, VP|
|22||Leros Point To Point||Thornwood, NY||122||3||108||0||11||0||0||0||www.leroslimo.com||Lonnie Lehrer, pres.; John Nyikos, COO|
|23||Dav El Boston||Chelsea, MA||120||44||51||8||14||3||0||0||www.davel.com||Scott Solombrino, pres/CEO|
|24||Black Tie Transporation||Pleasanton, CA||119||28||53||1||14||22||0||1 School bus||www.blacktietrans.com||William Wheeler, pres/CEO|
|25||Transtyle||Scottsdale, AZ||114||7||100||5||2||0||0||0||www.transtyle.com||Fred Sadeghi, pres.|
|26||Atlantic Limousine||Atlantic City, NJ||110||91||6||1||11||1||0||0||www.atlanticlimo.com||Carl Geiger|
|27||Royal Coachman Limited||Orange, NJ||109||7||84||0||16||2||0||0||www.royalcoachman.com||Robert Epstein, pres/owner; Jon Epstein, VP/owned|
|28||West Suburban Traveler’s Limousine||Winfield, IL||107||29||78||0||0||0||0||0||www.westsublimo.com||Barbara Simkus, bus. mgr.|
|29||Music Express||Burbank, CA||102||22||62||5||5||4||4||0||www.music limo.com||Rita Berkman, pres.; Cheryl Berkman, CEO|
|30||Farrell’s Limousine Service||New York, NY||102||15||79||4||4||0||0||0||Mike Farrell|
|31||London Towncars||Long Island City, NY||101||9||82||2||5||3||0||0||www.londontowncars.com||Stephen W. Spencer, pres,; Stephen L. Spencer, VR|
|32||Carey South Florida, Miami/Palm Beach||N. Miami, FL||99||8||52||2||10||27||0||0||www.careyint.com||Mike Sobol, regional VP|
|33||Hy’s Livery Service||West Haven, CT||99||45||31||0||3||0||0||20 hearses||www.hyslivery.com||Robert Levine, pres/owner|
|34||Arrow Limousine Service||Red Bank, NJ||96||12||72||4||8||0||0||0||www.arrowlimo.com||Roger Somers, pres,; Edward Somers, VP|
|35||Dav El Los Angeles||Hawthorne, CA||93||32||46||6||6||3||0||0||www.davel.com||Scott Solombrino, pres./CEO|
|36||Reston Limousine Service||Sterling, VA||93||7||9||2||25||49||0||1 truck||www.restonlimo.com||Kristina Bouweiri, VP/CEO|
|37||The Driver Provider||Phoenix, AZ||91||6||51||3||16||14||0||1 turtle van||www.driverprovider.com||Jason R. Kaplan, pres.|
|38||Rody’s Limousine Service||Cos Cob, CT||88||8||73||4||3||0||0||0||www.rudyslimousine.com||Dany Spezzano, pres,; Roy Spezzano, CEO|
|39||A Harrington Limousine Service/Wilner’s Livery||Edison, NJ||87||25||18||2||0||2||0||40 hearses||www.harringtonlimo.com||David Wilner, owner; Jonathan Wilner, VP|
|40||Connecticut Limo||Milford, CT||85||3||3||0||36||0||33||10||www.ct. limo.com||Andy Anastasio, owner/mgr.|
|41||Music Express East||Elmwood Park, NJ||85||12||57||7||9||0||0||0||www.musiclimo.com||Rita Berkman, pres,; Cheryl Berkman, CEO|
|42||On Demand Sedan & Limousine||Las Vegas, NV||85||27||40||2||4||12||0||0||www.odslimo.com||Brad (B.J.) Balaban, pres.|
|43||Tran-Star Executive Transportation Services||North Babylon, NY||85||10||68||2||5||0||0||0||www.tranexec.com||Michael Rice, pres,; Linda Paul, exec. VP|
|44||International Limousine Service||Washington, DC||84||7||24||1||12||39||0||1 service vehicle||www.internationallimo.com||Eugene Kane, pres/CEO; Richard Kane, exec. VP/CO|
|45||MTC Limousine & Corporate Coach||Bedford Hills, NY||81||3||54||6||6||4||8||0||www.MTClimousine.com||Trevor Franklin, CEO|
|46||O’Hare-Midway Limousine Services||Deerfield, IL||80||65||15||0||0||0||0||0||www.ohare-midway.com||George Parker, pres.; Greg Eggen, VP/GM|
|47||Classic Transportation||Bohemia, NY||78||10||8||0||36||2||21||1trolley||www.classictrans.com||William Schoolman, pres.|
|48||Dav El New Jersey||Linde, NJ||78||14||43||3||16||2||0||0||www.davel.com||Scott Solombrino, pres/CEO|
|49||Aventura Limousine & Transportation Service||N. Miami, FL||77||12||32||5||13||10||5||0||www.aventuralimo.com||Neil Goodman, pres,; Ron Sorci, CEO|
|50||Excel Worldwide Transportation||New Rochelle, NY||75||10||55||4||4||0||0||2 stretch SUVs||www.excel-transportation.com||Richard J. Guberti, pres.|
|51||Tropiano Transportation Service||Dresher, PA||75||4||25||0||32||14||0||0||Nick Tropiano, pres,; Wayne Herbott, GM|
We asked some of the Top 75 chauffeured transportation operators what was the most important advice they could offer smaller operators.
Kristin Bouweiri, Reston Limousine Service, Sterling, Va.
Be careful about increasing the size of your fleet because you don’t want to get into a situation where you have so many vehicles that you can’t keep them busy. It’s better to farm work out than to buy more vehicles if you get really busy.
Brent Bell, Bell Trans, Las Vegas
Be flexible, I don’t think you can make it in this business just trying to serve one particular market or one particular need or niche. You’ve got to be flexible with not only the customer you’re going after but the type of vehicle that you’re offering and time frame or parameters that you offer you service
Cheryl Berkman, Music Express, Los Angeles
Be a hands-on owner. Be there for the client and for the employees. That’s most important
Neil Goodman, Aventura Limousine & Transportation Service, North Miami, Fla.
Exposure. Get out there and attend chamber of commerce meetings, affiliate meetings and associate meetings. Radio advertising is a good way to start, just like mass mailings. Get you picture taken with as many different associations as you can. Make friends with the photographer.
Robert G. Euler, King Limousine & Transportation Service King of Prussia, Pa
Take care of your customers and take care of your employees.
Timothy Rose, Flyte Tyme Limousine, Mahawah, N.J.
Unfortunately, in the eyes of your clients, you’re only as good as your last performance. Strive for consistency in your service levels.
Trevor Franklin, MTC Limousine, Bredford Hills, N.Y
I’d like to eliminate the low-ball operator who has no grasp of what his expenses are, or what his profit is and just comes in and grabs market share through low prices. How can somebody do it for 40% less than everybody else? You know that’s impossible. They’re a negative force in the industry
Ed Martinez, Carey New York, New York
The dishonest operators, the hustlers who make the playing field not level. Business people play by the rules. So, I’d do something about people who don’t play by the rules.
Michael Marino, California Wine Tours, Napa, Calif
I would impose tighter regulations and guidelines for chauffeurs’ licensing. Right now, at least in California, you only need a commercial license to drive people for hire. Doesn’t it make sense, since people are paying for a chauffeur, that the regulation for the medical requirement and the commercial license should extend to even a [sedan]?
Michael Fogarty, Boston Coach, Everett, Mass
Economic conditions have created tremendous price pressure and many customers are shopping strictly on price. This phenomenon is bad for both operators and customers. Customers are finding out the hard way that [making a commodity of] ground transportation is resulting in lower service and less choices for the consumer.
Barbara Pastelak, Gem Limousine Service, Woodbridge, NJ.
I would change the way people think about our industry. I would want people to think we were legitimate and more professional; perhaps a stronger overall image and reputation for the industry.
Gary Bauer, Bauer’s Limousine Service, San Francisco
Gas guzzler is a major problem, something that we’re all dealing with right now. It’s very expensive for the large and small operators. Some only make $200,000 a year in revenue and they are paying anywhere from $1,300 to $2,000 per vehicle, so they can’t turn their fleet over as often as they should.
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