Operations

Texas Operator Started On A Whim And Succeeded

Lexi Tucker
Posted on April 4, 2018

Bryan Newton went from being the one chauffeured to the one who provides chauffeurs.
Bryan Newton went from being the one chauffeured to the one who provides chauffeurs.
Who: Bryan Newton, owner of Big Hat Limousines in Valley View, Texas

Getting Started: Before he opened Big Hat Limousines, Newton had wanted for six years to buy a stretch limousine for himself. One day he woke up next to his sleeping, pregnant wife at 2 a.m. and told her he would make the purchase. Her reaction? “Shut up and go back to sleep,” he says. The next day, he called up someone who was selling one, and he and his daughter went to the local mall to pick it up.

Fast Facts

Location: Valley View, Texas
Owner: Bryan Newton
Founded: 2013
Vehicle types: Stretches, SUVs, party buses, minibuses, motorcoaches
Fleet size: 9
Employees: 14
Website: www.newtonsbighatlimousines.com
Phone: (940) 665-3253

Wise Words: If you’re reading this thinking it might be a good idea to do something similar, Newton says don’t just dive right in; take some time to learn about what the industry entails. “It’s a good idea to drive for someone beforehand so you’ll have an idea of how things generally operate. It’ll save you a lot of money by educating you on the small things like where to buy cars, who to buy them from, and finding out what banks offer the loan you’re looking for instead of just going somewhere and asking for $50,000.”

Building The Business: His startup costs included the price of his first vehicle and insurance coverage. In the beginning, he had no idea he would start a business; he just wanted to find someone who would drive him around in a limo. The first week he had it, a friend called him and asked to rent it. Newton then called another luxury ground transportation company and asked if they wanted to make some money by providing him with a chauffeur. He gave the company his address to pick the car up and use it, and the business built itself from then on. “I pulled in $800, saw where I could take the business, and went from there,” he says. Word of mouth via clients and Facebook brought flocks of new customers.

Mistakes Made: Newton learned hiring the wrong people can cost you. “If you don’t have the right staff in place, things don’t go well. I’ve had chauffeurs who didn’t dress properly and reservations specialists who lost me money because they were not booking correctly. They just didn’t have qualifications I thought they had or needed.”

Success Story: Hurricane Harvey hit Houston during his first year operating motorcoaches, and he was asked to provide transportation for FEMA volunteers who were being trained and needed to get from DFW airport to their hotel. “We made a difference and about $170,000 in 60 days.”

Customer Service: Newton believes in the power of face-to-face communication, and enjoys going out and meeting new prospective clients. “I always run my business by thinking ‘If I were to rent a limo, what would I want?’ We want to provide people with nice, clean vehicles, cold AC, a good sound system, drinks, and a well-dressed chauffeur. It’s our job to make them feel like royalty — a bit more important than the average day.”

Two Steps Ahead: In the future, Newton is looking more toward the motorcoach side of the luxury transportation business, and would like to move closer to Dallas to open up a small yard to help him with his work in that area.

Downtime: He enjoys participating in cookout competitions and specializes in ribs, chicken, and brisket.

Related Topics: customer service, motorcoach operators, motorcoaches, operator profiles, small business, small-fleet operators, Texas operators

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
What's your favorite airport? (Photo: Pexels)
News

What Are America's Best Airports?

U.S. passenger numbers are at record levels, but packed terminals aren’t stopping them from enjoying wait time for a flight.