Complacency Creates Obstacles For Industry Groups

Linda Jagiela
Posted on September 7, 2013

Membership rosters in regional limousine associations are dwindling. Unless there is a legislative battle at hand, association meetings just are not a priority for operators. It’s hard to get people to come out to meetings. When association meetings are poorly attended, vendor members lose interest. Why should they attend monthly meetings to speak to the same six people who are being chased by two of their competitors also at the same meeting? Vendor support is critical to associations, and without the high attendance, it is difficult to get the support needed to be able to fund legislative battles and run associations.

Reasons attendance wanes

  • Doing more with less: Business owners must squeeze more work out with fewer people, often taking the         roles of others in their organizations as a way to cut costs. They just don’t have time. Down time is precious and who wants to spend it in an association meeting?
  • Expenses: When operators are cutting costs, association memberships often go down with less crucial expenses.
  • Infighting: The limousine industry has a hard time leaving personal agendas at the door and working together for the common good. One of the most common reasons board members leave is because they don’t get along with another board member and they don’t want to be on the same board with them. And one of the most common reasons for not participating in associations is because members don’t get along with other members.

Associations that are working to get more industry members involved:

Philadelphia Regional Limousine Association (PRLA)
At the July PRLA meeting, board member Michael Barretto of Flyte Tyme Worldwide explained that only 16 members had paid their annual dues, which had been sent out two months earlier. He stressed the importance of being in good standing as only members in good standing can vote at the upcoming election. The PRLA has had up to 75 members at one time.  

PRLA President Jim Salinger, a member since 2003, says membership has been a constant challenge. “Attending association meetings is very important. Often the guy sitting next to you at the meeting can become your biggest customer. You never would have known him if you didn’t attend. We are working toward the common goal of protecting the industry from unfair advantages given to competing industries and we are protecting our members from onerous rules and regulations being forced upon us by government bodies. It is more important now than ever that our industry members participate and stay active.”

Limousine Associations of New Jersey (LANJ)
Earlier this year, LANJ modified its dues structure and added the ability to pay dues monthly through an auto-pay system to ease the burden on operators.LANJ executive director Barry Lefkowitz explained that despite the challenge of declining membership, they get great turnout at their meetings. “We hype our events well. We make sure that we bring in the caliber of people who will be of interest to our membership. The last speaker we had was head of the Motor Vehicles who regulate us in New Jersey. In September, it is going to be someone from the Port Authority and we will discuss the Super Bowl. Super Bowl is front and center for LANJ; we will draw a large crowd.”

Long Island Limousine Association (LILA)
LILA President Robert Cunningham said that his association also lowered the fees for smaller operators. “Operators with one to five vehicles pay half of what operators over five cars pay,” Cunningham says. “Our association works hard to give each other business. About four years ago, we instituted a program called job trade. When you need a job covered, you put it on the job trade portion of the website. It automatically sends it out to all of our members. Instead of making a ton of calls to get the job covered, you wait for the calls. Once it’s covered, you put up on the site that you got it covered to stop the calls. You also can use it when you have inventory sitting. You can let other members know when you have a limousine available. It is a valuable asset of our associations which helps all of our members.” 

Linda Jagiela is a contributing writer for LCT Magazine who covers industry associations on the East Coast. She can be reached at [email protected]

Related Topics: LANJ, limo associations, Limousine Association of New Jersey, long island limousine association, New Jersey operators, Philadelphia Regional Limousine Association

Comments ( 1 )
  • Barry

     | about 7 years ago

    Linda, Great article and spot on. When there is an issue or concern everyone wants to know what the association is going to do to rectify the issue, oh wait, the loudest ones complaining are the ones who are not members of the association. Good job!! Barry

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