The DOT says it was only doing its job.
Who: Michael Spreadbury, owner, The Helena Town Car Company, Helena, Mont.
Lessons learned: Finding the right kind of commercial insurance at a reasonable price was difficult. Because Montana is so rural, it’s notorious for many accidents. He met his agent through the NLA, which has since saved him a lot of money and headaches. “It’s important to find someone who is willing to grow with you and help you grow. My previous insurance agent was almost holding me back,” he says. “It’s so important to work with vendors who want to help your business; surround yourself with these kinds of professionals.”
Biggest success: Finding contracts where he operates because there wasn’t a history of a traditional limousine company use there. He serves freight crews and hotels.
Customer service strategies: Since he didn’t have a newer fleet and lived in a rural area, impeccable customer service was vital to help his company stand out. Small businesses thrive on word of mouth and recommendations since everyone knows everyone in a small town. “I always thank them for being a customer, and explain what we can do with the different vehicles we have.”
Location: Helena, MT
Owner: Michael Spreadbury
Vehicle Type: sedan, SUV, van, stretch limousine
Fleet Size: 5
Phone: (406) 437-8585
Advice: Everybody’s market is different; his nearest competitor is one mountain range and 100 miles away. Instead of worrying about competition, he has focused on properly budgeting. “You have to have your own study that will help you determine if this is something you can make work and be profitable.”
Origins: Spreadbury started the company when he noticed the city lacked a professional transportation provider. “The taxi service is so bad, I started acquiring contracts because the cars and drivers they provided were literally scaring executives,” he explains. He saw a few older Town Cars for sale and everything just fell into place. “I thought it could be a viable business; I wasn’t aware of LCT or the NLA at the time, and didn’t realize there was such tight-knit group of supporters waiting for me.”
Start-up costs and methods: In an attempt to reduce startup costs, he produced a tight business plan so he would stick to priorities without breaking the bank. He acquired his first Town Car, and then bought a second in case of a break down or conflict.
Marketing strategies: He has put up an ad near baggage claim in his local airport, and did a lot of Facebook ads to gain brand recognition for his company. He’s also reached out to the local radio station manager to trade his services for on-air advertisements, which has succeeded.
Future plans: He next hopes to build satellite offices in other Montana cities. “We’ve grown so fast we just want to maintain things for now,” he says. He enjoyed and learned a lot from the sessions at LCT-NLA Show East in November 2017. He hopes to find quality people to help him relinquish some control so he can get out from behind the wheel to drum up new business. He is also partnering with a local charter company, and may share garage space so they can go after more transportation requests to the national parks and seek more limo/charter work together.
Free time: His hobbies include fly fishing, swimming, hiking with his dogs, and enjoying the natural beauty of the state he calls home.
The DOT says it was only doing its job.
A recent public hearing underscored the political will to add rules on the use of stretch limousines in the state.
The Chicago-based limo and bus company took home the honor for the first quarter of 2019.
eNews Exclusive: Adrian Davis sticks with the makes and models that stand out against Uber and Lyft.
The spring membership meeting will address proposed new state rules and questions on TCP-vehicle access during airport construction.
MAY LCT: Many apps on the market can help you send personalized mass emails and target specific groups. Learn how to use email marketing platforms.
Among vehicle fleets, distraction is the second leading cause of fatal truck crashes.
MAY LCT: Abdou Brahim tracks his numbers closely to stay out of debt.
Operators say the industry is already over-regulated and blame lies with state regulators who don't enforce laws on the books.
An Omni sales executive details how he goes about finding and keeping a reliable service provider.
The New Hampshire Tourism Council recognizes Michael Campbell's company for excellence in the industry.
Senators want to solicit more views on passed and proposed safety measures for limousine operations.
A proposed bill would require an immediate review of all stretch limousine companies and their vehicles.
eNews Exclusive: Alex Darbahani equips employees with the tools and training they need to deliver excellent service.
This comes after rules kicked in Feb. 1 ruling drivers must make a minimum of $17.22 an hour.
The world's No. 1 online marketplace and trader for professional chauffeured and chartered vehicles, including all types of motorcoaches, buses, vans, stretch limousines, sedans, SUVs, exotics, and classics. New and used vehicles are available from sellers across the nation.
The best online networker to find quality affiliates worldwide and market your company.
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.