Here are some sights and scenes from one wicked cool tradeshow.
A man looks out the window of his Pacific Palisades home and sees a Porsche, a Jaguar and a limousine, the latter having been purchased instead of rented for his wedding a few months before. He has just come home after closing down his auto insurance business. He looks at his beloved sports cars, then at the limousine, and knows he has a big decision to make. And with large personal overhead, he needs to decide fast.
Pretty soon his Porsche and Jaguar are sold, and a Lincoln Town Car sedan is sitting next to his stretch limo. Paper-cut scars decorate his fingertips as he flips through the Yellow Pages and calls limo companies looking for farm work. He spends every night putting labels on envelopes and mailing out 2,000 brochures a week to high-end neighborhoods. . .
Hard work pays off
Fast forward 17 years and David Navon’s Crown Limousine L.A. stands strong with revenues set to break $3 million in 2011 and a reputation that’s priceless: Yelp.com’s #1 rated limousine service in Los Angeles and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Navon has built his company’s reputation by keeping a close ear to his clients’ needs to ensure he’s doing everything he can to make them happy. “If a client calls and asks if we have a certain type of car, I listen. If I start hearing more clients asking for that type of car, then I go buy it,” he says. “I never want to turn business away, unless of course they ask for a pink Hummer stretch. I draw the line there.”
He keeps vehicles in pristine condition. A full-time detailing crew washes them every day, inside and out. “I decided that I needed to treat every car [in my fleet] as if it were my own personal Porsche,” Navon says.
Crown Limousine grew from 18 vehicles to 40 in just two-and-a-half years by listening to client demands. Want to party? Hop in a stretch Hummer or party bus. Need a ride to the airport? Choose from a Town Car, Mercedes S550 or Bentley Flying Spur.
“We make sure everyone is happy in the end,” Navon says. “If a client is happy, they’ll tell one or two people. If they’re unhappy, they’ll tell everyone. If you put all you have into the business and truly care that the clients are happy, you can’t help but succeed.”
Crown’s clientele ranges from funeral and wedding parties to celebrities and corporate travelers. Many come from referrals, direct mail and Internet advertising. “To this day, I haven’t stopped doing weekly direct mailings, but instead of me stuffing brochures in envelopes, I have a service that sends postcards out for me,” Navon says. He also has a service that manages Crown’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and his company’s website shows up at the top of Google searches thanks to investments in SEO.
Navon goes to the International LCT Show in Las Vegas every year, missing it only twice since 1994. He attended his first LCT Leadership Summit in September 2011 in Miami Beach, and says he enjoyed how exclusive and personal it was.
“In the insurance business, I was selling to people who couldn’t afford to buy insurance because it was the law,” he says. “They’d give me postdated checks that would bounce, and it was no fun. Now we sell a service to the affluent or people looking to splurge. No one’s forced to rent a limo.”
Turbulent Times Without Town Car
Navon calls the retirement of the Lincoln Town Car a “disaster” and stocked up on 2011 models to buy some time to make a replacement decision. He once sent a top corporate client an S550 to take him from Beverly Hills to San Diego as a nice gesture, which was well received...for about the first 20 minutes. “He said to please send a Town Car next time because it’s more comfortable,” Navon recalls. “Same with the Bentley Flying Spur. It’s an amazing car but the ride is a lot stiffer than a Town Car’s.”
Company: Crown Limousine L.A. I Location: Los Angeles I Founded: 1994 I Main service region: Los Angeles, Ventura County, north Orange County I Vehicle types: Lincoln Town Car, Lincoln stretch limousines, Chrysler 300 limos, Sprinter Van, Bentley Flying Spur, Mercedes S550, Escalade ESV, Suburban, Tahoe Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Escalade limos, H-2 limos, party buses. I Fleet size: 40 I Employees: 50 I Annual Revenues: $3 million I Website: www.crownlimos.com I Information: (310) 737-0888
Here are some sights and scenes from one wicked cool tradeshow.
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