Operations

How Staying Active On Social Media Can Boost Business

Lexi Tucker
Posted on May 2, 2017

Anthony Claffey and his sons Keegan and Anderson, after whom the company is named.
Anthony Claffey and his sons Keegan and Anderson, after whom the company is named.
Customer service: Anthony Claffey, owner of K & A Transportation in Newington, Conn., suggests to keep clients happy, always smile, listen, and be professional. And that’s before you even pick up the customer. “I have a lot of clients who get the newspaper delivered, so if I see it sitting in the driveway, I pick it up and put it in the car because I know they are going to want to read it,” he says. Anthony makes sure to text customers a photo of the vehicle coming to pick them up so they know what to expect. He also believes everyone is equal once they get in the car, regardless of whether it’s a minimal fare or a “one-and-done.” “Sometimes I remember clients who I thought were just going to be one-time customers, and now they take four trips a month with me.”

Marketing and technology strategies: Limo-centric groups on social media and a Facebook page focused on local businesses (called “Friends and Neighbors of West Hartford”) is how Anthony receives 75% of his business. On this page, he’s allowed to promote his business four times a year to more than 10,000 members for free. “It’s almost like when operators are searching for an affiliate on the LIMO group, except it’s ‘who’ve you got that can take me to the airport’ instead of ‘who do we have in so-and-so area,’” he explains.

Biggest success: Anthony is happy to live in an area that’s open to using social media to promote local small businesses. “Being able to effectively land work from it is amazing. I wasn’t as social media savvy six months ago, and I’ve been learning how to properly sell my services, successfully win business, and keep clients.”

Fast Facts

Location: Newington, Conn.

Owner: Anthony Claffey

Founded: 2016

Vehicle types: SUV, sedan, van

Fleet Size: 3

Employees: 2 independent contractors

Annual Revenue: N/A

Website: www.aclaffeylimo.com/

Phone: (860) 550-1318

Start-up costs and methods: When starting K & A Transportation, Anthony spent about $6,000 on insuring his first car. He searched a long time for a company that would offer it to a new operator because many insurance companies want someone with at least two years of experience. Eventually, he found one through the New England Limousine Association’s (NELA) website. His first car was his personal vehicle, and he then bought a Chevrolet van for about $57,000. After adding a third vehicle, he estimates his total start-up costs to be just shy of $150,000.

Advice: Be ready to explain yourself multiple times to state offices and regulators, and people who stamp the endorsement on your driver’s license. While Anthony mainly works in central Connecticut, he also does runs down the East Coast to Newark, N.J. “Within that area, there’s great need for airport transportation, but when you try to get the materials you need to get up and running in another state, their guidelines don’t jive locally. It’s easy to get discouraged, but you can’t let yourself feel that way. Read the documents, fill out the paperwork, and give them what they want. It’s a pain in the butt, but you’ll succeed.”

Origins: Oddly enough, Anthony saw a need in his community after his father asked him if he wanted to make $50. It turned out his dad needed him to help get a friend’s car so he could then pick up his friend from the airport. “I figured if people are willing to pay for someone to pick them up at an airport, why not be the person they call?”

Future plans: Anthony soon plans to buy a 15-passenger Transit or Sprinter and hire two full-time chauffeurs. His long term goal this year is to find a building to house his vehicles.

Lessons learned: During the past year, Anthony has learned if he pleases his clients, they’ll likely give him free advertising via word of mouth. He’s also discovered if something goes wrong, you can’t be cheap about trying to make it right. “If one of my chauffeurs is running late due to an unforeseen event on the road, I’m going to let the client know and offer them 40% off their fare. Considering the time and money they spend with me, I can’t just give them 10%; that’s peanuts to what they are worth per hour.”

Related Topics: airports, Connecticut operators, customer service, Facebook, Facebook marketing, operator profiles, Sales & Marketing, small-fleet operators

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
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