People

What Are Biggest Changes Facing Operators? (Part 1)

Lexi Tucker
Posted on June 15, 2017

Brent Abruzese

“I think one of my biggest concerns for the livelihood of the industry is a lack of youthful interest in the luxury ground transportation business. I’ve recently joined a group called the Young Entrepreneurs Council comprised of business owners across the country under age 40. I wasn’t surprised to see I was the only car service company owner. In fact, it appears to me there is also a lack of young business owners in all traditional business, as most members of this council are involved in some form of start-up technology company.

I think the members of my generation tend to lean towards these avenues because they see opportunities for huge payouts (see Mark Zuckerburg and Evan Spiegel), and also for the simple fact tech just resonates with them. It’s something many of us grew up with and have watched explode into every aspect of our lives, for better or worse. My fear here is a lack of overall interest in starting a traditional business like ours will cause problems for our industry as a whole. While I believe many of the industry veterans have plenty of miles left in the tank to carry forward, and many have children involved in the business, I think it’s important more young faces come aboard. This is why I think there is great importance in groups like the Fast 40. There needs to be encouragement in getting young people into this traditional business.”

— Brent Abruzese, owner, Black Rock Limousine Company and Red Bank Limo, Red Bank and Jamesburg, N.J.

Kristie Carter

“I think one of the main topics for businesses is cash flow. True cash flow is the heart of keeping the doors open for any company. As an operator in a very asset heavy business, coupled with ever-changing technology investments, it is vital to have a grasp on the money coming in and out of the organization. Cash flow is top of mind as more affiliates are requesting big discounts, and then to also be direct billed 30, 60, 90 days out. For many this is a struggle, and can even be seen as unfair for the smaller operators. It is also a very dangerous line to walk as we see an increase of mergers, fraud, and failing companies. Be careful out there!”

— Kristie Carter, President, Aadvanced Limousines, Indianapolis, Ind.

Jevonne Pollard

“I see many companies having trouble with affiliates while trusting them to take care of their clients. It seems one way to cut down on being disappointed by an affiliate is to take the time to actually vet them. Cold call the business as if you were a regular retail client. Look them up online, through the BBB, and their local Chamber of Commerce. Actually investigate your potential affiliate. Those affiliates that actually do good work and run great operations will be the ones left standing in the end. The “deadbeat” affiliate, as it were, will become extinct.

— Jevonne Pollard, president, Carte Blanche Concierge, LLC, Beaumont, Texas

Julie Hatter

“With only two years of business under my belt, my biggest issue is staying hopeful in spite of all the negative comments from larger operators. I trust this industry and believe in the importance of professional chauffeurs and safe equipment. Our industry provides unlimited benefits and services to both corporate and retail clients. I hope we can be more flexible embracing technology to easily connect with our clients and to each other. I also hope we will continue to be flexible with the services we provide, because variety can be profitable. We have to trust the future, because we can’t change the past.

— Julie Hatter, owner, La Bella Chauffeurs, Inglewood, Calif.

Briana Candeub

“The biggest issue we are facing is finding quality chauffeurs. I like to call my mentors in the industry to see if they are facing the same problem. If they aren’t encountering what we are, I like to see how they are doing things differently. On this particular topic, it seems many are in the same position. At this point, getting the interviewees to even show up and walk through the door is the first problem. As frustrating as it can get, continue to use different online outlets, word of mouth, join local groups, ask your current chauffeurs for recommendations, post at local high schools or community areas, and just continue knocking on doors. Don’t give up!”

— Briana Candeub, sales, Park Avenue Limousine, Trevose, Pa.

Sam Emam

In this day and age, operators are struggling to find technology to bring us together, help us create bigger networks locally and globally, and exchange jobs faster than manually entering information. As an industry, small and large operators should come to an agreement and choose a platform we can all work on so we can cover any ride in any vehicle. This would help us rival the TNCs on-demand service, and also strengthen our industry as a whole.

I believe with the TNCs having such low prices, operators are slashing their rates to compete which could result in hurting their business and competitors; so much so that some limo operators are unable to cover their expenses and are going out of business. If all operators communicate and find a range on how much to charge for different types of services, it will help consumers understand the value of luxury ground transportation service.

— Sam Emam, vice president, Chauffeurs Limo, Kenilworth, N.J.

Ivan Colon

“One of the biggest challenges our industry faces is the choice to go contractor, keep it in house, or mix it up when it comes to chauffeurs. So many of my peers are facing this decision, and are frankly ashamed to share or ask questions about how to best proceed because of the stigma associated with using contractors versus in-house drivers among the industry establishment.

The truth is, the gig economy has given those chauffeurs who have left us for TNCs the entrepreneurial bug. Now those same drivers who have been burned by the lies sold to them by those same companies (the TNCs) are returning to operators with a new mindset. However, they simply don’t want to punch in and out but want the freedom being a contractor/self-employed has given them, while still working for a reputable company with corporate clientele ridership.

With a rise in overhead and demand for more availability from customers, those same operators who would have snubbed their noses at the thought of contractors are slowly coming around. Frankly, I don’t blame them. Sometimes affiliates aren’t an option for one reason or another, and to turn a client away is the best way to lose them to your competitor who has more than likely shifted to a hybrid business model using contractors who play by their rules. Like everything that was once taboo, I see this issue as one the industry must wrestle with and inevitably come to embrace.

— Ivan Colon, business development director, Legends Limousine, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Related Topics: affiliate networks, customer service, employee vs independent contractor, hiring chauffeurs, LCT Fact Book, LCTFast40, Lyft, Millennials, technology, TNCs, Uber

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Carlos calderon

     | about 11 months ago

    Good comments and I agree with all if them!

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