Commentary: Jeff Rose, president of Limousine Association of New York, explains how the permit cap ignores vital for-hire differences.
Who: Gregory Armstrong, owner of Quality Transport, Southampton, Bermuda
Customer service: The company has many repeat clients who request the same chauffeurs. Armstrong tries his best to always make it happen. “We also take some of our clients’ children to school, so they clearly trust us with their most prized possessions,” he says.
Start-up costs and methods: In Bermuda, vehicle permits are expensive. To start his company, Armstrong first spent about $340,000. Traditional U.S. chauffeured vehicles aren’t used on the island because the roads are very narrow; the company runs Japanese and European vehicles instead. “The biggest we are allowed to use in the SUV category is the Audi Q7, which is similar to the BMW X5 or a Range Rover,” he says. Bermuda is a big hub for international business, mostly for tax exemption reasons. “We pitched our service to various companies here, and slowly but surely, one contract led to another and we continued to grow.”
Marketing strategies: Armstrong has used a little bit of every tactic to help market his business. This includes SEO, Facebook ads, advertising in the local paper, and mass emails, but the most successful method has been word of mouth.
Location: Southampton, Bermuda
Owner: Gregory Armstrong
Vehicle Type: Ford Transit, Audi Q7, Toyota Alphard, Hyundai H1
Fleet Size: 9
Phone: (441) 337-2578 or toll free (877) 406-3189
Advice: When selling yourself as a professional chauffeured transportation company, your first shot is your only shot. Make sure all of your branding is consistent, and hire flexible chauffeurs who are hospitable, willing to work with you, and put in the same time and interest as if it were their company. “It’s so important to create a great support team,” he says.
Origins: Quality Transport was created as a spinoff of the event management company Armstrong owns. People needed transportation to and from the events, so starting a company that got clients where they needed to be was a no-brainer.
Future plans: Armstrong attended the 2017 International LCT Show to start networking more off the island, and hopes to grow his affiliate base and expand the company’s reach to new clientele.
Lessons learned: Running a company in this industry involves putting in a lot of long hours. “In the world of transportation, there are no holidays, weekends, or 9-to-5 mentalities,” he says. “There’s a lot of rescheduling due to unforeseen circumstances, so you have to try to be prepared for anything. You must have good coordinating, organization, and time management skills.”
Biggest success: Winning a contract with the second biggest hotel in Bermuda, the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club.
Free time: When he does get some down time, Armstrong loves to travel. “I live on an island, so I can’t do road trips,” he jokes. He tries to go somewhere new every year.
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