Operations

New England Operator Is All Things To All Clients

Michael Campos
Posted on September 30, 2011

Tom Arrighi swore he would never get into his parents’ taxi business, but in 1987 he left his job as director of sales for a New England chemical company to do just that.

“My father was going to sell his company to someone who had a bad reputation, so my brother Michael and I took over the business to see if we could change its direction,” Arrighi says. He created A&A Metro Transportation as the executive transportation division and has since grown to 108 vehicles.

Diversity is key
Arrighi’s fleet consists of minibuses, motorcoaches, sedans and vans. “Your clients need more than to just go back and forth from airports, and you need the ability to do all those other things,” he says. “Our company’s motto is ‘World class, worldwide’ and our goal is to handle clients’ needs wherever they go. We nurtured our original clients who used to use taxis and now use black cars and vans.”

About 55% of Arrighi’s clients are corporate, and the rest include colleges, professional sports teams and associations, and stadiums that host special events. Arrighi regularly attends the LCT Shows and the Taxi, Limousine and Paratransit Association Expo to network and find more opportunities.

What’s the secret?
“The secret to the whole business is expanding your entire customer base and expanding your own market,” Arrighi says. “We looked at our existing market — a college town — and I started talking to colleges about answering all of their transportation needs.”

Arrighi farmed out sedan work until the demand justified the purchase of his own cars and applied the same method with bigger vehicles to handle groups.

In addition to executive chauffeured transportation, Arrighi runs the original taxi company — Bill’s Taxi — and has a division for school and medical transportation. He maximizes the longevity of his vehicles by filtering them through A&A Metro when they’re new and moving them to the medical or taxi fleet when they’re replaced by newer vehicles.

A&A Metro's gasoline station.
A&A Metro's gasoline station.
 

Keeping it in-house
Not only has Arrighi made his business a one-stop shop for clients, he created a one-stop infrastructure for his fleet. 

The company houses its vehicles in a 75,000 square-foot garage, performs its own maintenance, and fuels the vehicles through its own gasoline station, which also sells to the public. This self-sufficiency has led to greater efficiency and cost savings.
 
Service, not price
A&A Metro’s growth didn’t come without its share of growing pains. One of the early mistakes was the “race to the bottom, thinking the low price will get you more business.” Many operators have been caught in these “bidding wars,” but at some point they realize they’re doing work for nothing, Arrighi says.

Vice versa, some operators put their prices so high that they can’t get their vehicles off the lot. “Keeping that middle ground is important,” Arrighi says. “But you have to remember you’re not selling price, you’re selling service.”
 
Smart hard work
Success doesn’t just come from hard work, but “smart hard work, those 14-hour days you have to put in,” Arrighi says.

“It’s very important to stick to the theory that the customer is always right, even if they could be wrong. Clients should know that their satisfaction is your number one concern.”

 


 

Brothers Michael (L) and Tom (R) Arrighi with their father Bill.
Brothers Michael (L) and Tom (R) Arrighi with their father Bill.
Fast Facts about A&A Metro Transportation

Location: Bridgewater, Mass.
Founded: 1987
Owner: Thomas Arrighi
Main service region: Boston, Providence, R.I., and New England
Types of vehicles: sedans, mini-buses, motorcoaches, vans
Fleet size: 108 vehicles
Employees: 150
Annual revenues: $8 million to $10 million
Website: www.aametro.com
Information: (800) 437-3844; (508) 697-0017

Related Topics: Boston operators, business management, charter and tour operators, tips for success

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