Operations

Florida Operator Proves Teamwork Leads To Better Chauffeur Retention

Lexi Tucker
Posted on April 4, 2017

Lenin Fraga and his team are ready to serve the limo market.
Lenin Fraga and his team are ready to serve the limo market.
Biggest success: Lenin Fraga, owner of American Transportation & Limo Service in Miami Springs, Fla., says employee retention helps his company succeed. “We don’t have a high chauffer turnover rate — they stay with us and we keep getting more!” he says. Employees treat each other with kindness and respect, and that makes them want to stay. “It’s a stressful business, but we spend time together and go out to breakfast, lunch, or do other activities to get to know each other on a deeper level.” He believes building a strong team produces better daily results.

Customer service: The company strives to make sure a friendly, attentive representative answers client calls. Fraga says he wants to ease the reservation process for customers, and keep them informed at every step with chauffeur details and trip confirmations. After each ride, the company sends clients a small form to review service received. They also get a discount coupon for future rides based on how often they use the service. “We also keep the cars stocked with things clients expect and even some they don’t. Our goal is to keep our vehicles so fresh and clean that clients think no one else has ever been in the car.” 

Fast Facts

Location: Miami Springs, Fla.

Owner: Lenin Fraga

Founded: 2010

Vehicle Type: Sedan, SUV, Sprinter van, stretch limo

Fleet Size: 9

Employees: 13

Annual Revenue: N/A

Website: www.americanlimofl.com

Phone: (305) 885-5002

Start-up costs and methods: Fraga started American Transportation & Limo Service with $10,000 — $8,000 for the down payment of his first vehicle, and $2,000 for insurance and other operating costs. He acquired a reservation system so he could be more organized and professional a few months after he went into business for himself. Luckily, he was also driving for a company that allowed independent operators, so his car was put to good use from day one. He spent the first three years doing only affiliate work for the other company and a few others he had approached, and now his clientele splits evenly between affiliates and locals.

Marketing strategies: For the past two years, Fraga has marketed through social media, improved website SEO, and Google AdWords. “I want to learn about every avenue out there. I look into different methods, and if it has potential, I invest a little money. If it works, then we put more into it, and if it doesn’t, we stop doing it,” he says. So far, sales have increased every year.

Advice: Always diversify your clientele base; don’t just focus on one company or avenue of revenue. “That way, any big changes won’t affect you too much,” Fraga says.

Origins: Fraga worked in the printing business until 2008 when it went south due to the mortgage crisis. He was looking for a job to put food on the table, so he asked a friend of his working for a limo company to refer him. He worked there for three years and then took money out of his retirement to fund his first car. During the first year, he worked nonstop, but wanted a better lifestyle. Therefore, he bought more cars with the money he had saved to try and bring in more revenue. It was tough at first because he didn’t know how to market and establish a name for the company. But he worked hard, hired an assistant, and together they grew the company and profits.

Clientele: Focused on high-end, American Transportation serves corporate customers, several hotel accounts, and jet companies. “Affiliate work is the bread and butter that keeps us running, and the rest is icing on the cake,” Fraga says.

Future plans: Fraga plans to buy minibuses and minicoaches. He knows these vehicles are profitable because clients request them and he has to farm out the runs, so he is ready to jump in.

Lessons learned: Fraga cites the lesson of how to properly deal with colleagues. “I want to make sure they stay happy, focused, and motivated,” he says. “Having a team of people who work with me is what I really enjoy about this business.” He says building the business along with other people has been rewarding.

Related Topics: customer service, Florida operators, operator profiles, small business, small-fleet operators

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
An ROI (return-on-investment) on a moving vehicle is easy to understand, but difficult to keep consistent. (LCT image)
Article

A Walk Through Coach Profits

NOV. LCT: These simple return-on-investment formulas will help you truly see if your buses of all sizes are making enough money.