The DOT says it was only doing its job.
Low corporate taxes and a heavy American company presence in Dublin keep the troubled economy afloat in Ireland, creating demand for luxury chauffeured transportation. Since 2006, Limos for Less has doubled its fleet size and managed to grow with an 80% corporate clientele, despite the unfolding Euro-drama. CEO Myles Flood corresponded with LCT Magazine recently.
What is unique about chauffeured services in your nation compared to the USA?
In Ireland, the business is divided strictly between companies that do retail work in stretched limousines and companies that run sedans/SUVs for corporate and airport work. As far as I’m aware, we are the only company in Ireland that services both markets with a diverse fleet.
What are the key challenges of your service area region?
The chauffeur/limousine industry faces very stiff competition from taxis. Unlike the USA, taxis in Ireland can be pre-booked and they also have access to bus lanes within Dublin, which is a major advantage in terms of beating traffic. The National Chauffeur Association has a pending court case to see if limousines can gain access to bus lanes. We are governed by the same regulatory body as taxis and we see the current law as being bad for the city’s business competitiveness. A similar situation occurs in London, where black cabs have the right to use bus lanes but not chauffeured vehicles.
What qualities do you look for in a U.S. affiliate?
For me it’s all about the friendliness of the chauffeur. Everybody has shiny cars, limo software, etc., but the chauffeur is the face of the business and point of contact with the customer. If he is not delivering outstanding service, the rest does not matter one bit.
What rules do U.S operators need to be aware of when affiliating with Irish operators?
There are no rules as such to watch out for, but when farming out orders, check the year of the vehicle doing the job as some operators are running older cars due to the downturn in the economy.
What are your top business challenges?
Driving growth both in terms of corporate accounts and revenue is our No. 1 goal this year.
What are your top rented vehicles?
Sedans would easily be our top vehicles. We’ve been using Chrysler 300c sedans for the past three years and they are very popular with both corporate and retail customers.
What type of clients do you serve?
Our business is about 80% corporate and 20% retail. And our corporate client base is made up of various Irish and international companies that are based in Dublin. We’re very lucky in that Dublin, despite the economic downturn, remains a center for overseas investment. Google, Apple, Twitter and Dell, to name a few, all have their European headquarters in Ireland. We have two advantages: One is that our corporation tax is only 12.5%, and second is that our time zone is the only one in the world that is 12 hours or less from every other one.
How have revenues and your fleet grown since 2006?
We’ve seen a 20% year-over-year growth in revenue in the past five years and our fleet has doubled in that time.
What does your chauffeur training program involve?
We hire based on personality and typically we hire from the hospitality industry. We are prepared to wait for the right person to obtain their chauffeur’s license, which takes about five to six months and involves a police background check. The police in Ireland are responsible for issuing PSV Public Service Vehicle licenses. Once we have hired the chauffeur, we’ll teach them about the vehicles and the various locations where they will work daily. Our Chamber of Commerce voted us Business of the Year in 2011, so we want to maintain our high standards.
What are your future plans?
We will be attending the 2013 International LCT Show next year to meet fellow operators from the U.S. and around the world to try and build relationships and grow our affiliate business.
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