Operations

Couple Teams Up To Dominate Retail Market

Lexi Tucker
Posted on April 12, 2018

ATLANTA, Ga. — Travelers and consumers are looking to spend more of their disposable income on experiences instead of material objects, according to reported business and leisure travel sources. Clarence Carr and Tammy Carlisle, co-owners of Action Worldwide Chauffeured Services, realize the best way to keep up with the demand for such unique and interesting excursions is by simply listening to your customers.

Trolleys, Tours, & TV

Two revenue segments the couple is looking to grow in are weddings and tours. They plan to do this with the help of their new trolley built by Hometown Trolley, which they will take delivery of in early April. “We don’t have any direct competition for this type of vehicle in the Atlanta market, and now that people are seeing it on the website, we already have $15,000 in pre-booked sales,” Carlisle says.

She believes brides like trolleys because they are unique and an all-purpose vehicle they can actually travel with their guests in as a group. “It’s a memory maker. Getting pictures of you throwing the bouquet off the back…you won’t make those kinds of memories with any other kind of car.”

Before buying a vehicle, the couple says they consider how it will make revenue on both ends of the business — corporate and retail. “I don’t just want it sitting on my lot Monday through Friday; it’s got to be making money.”

Trolleys not only attract brides, but tours and corporate outings as well. The couple purchased it knowing any vehicle that is unique and seats enough passengers will stand out and get rental inquires. “I quote people $250 an hour with a six-hour minimum and they don’t even blink,” she says. They are also considering buying a black one for outings that are predominantly male.

Carr and Carlisle in the early days, circa 2010.
Carr and Carlisle in the early days, circa 2010.
The Action team has booked brewery and wine tours, team building events for corporate groups, and even real estate tours where people will book a limo just for closing on a house and celebrate with in-vehicle champagne. They are also planning on creating a chocolate trail tour where clients will visit famous chocolatiers in the city; a “celebrity dining tour,” where foodies can visit restaurants featured in shows on channels like The Food Network; and movie and TV tours to visit popular filming locations for big hits such as The Walking Dead, The Hunger Games, and Stranger Things.

When asked where they get the ideas for such tours, Carlisle says clients will clue you in if you listen hard enough. “They’ll call and talk about what they want to do, and you realize the things you love are what other people love as well.”

Setting Yourself Up For Success

Over the years, the couple has learned many lessons. Realizing you can’t always take someone at their word will save you many headaches…and your bank account. Always be diligent when authorizing a credit card. When something seems too good to be true or is last minute, it likely is.

Carr takes delivery of one of the company’s Sprinters.
Carr takes delivery of one of the company’s Sprinters.
“When you are getting started it’s so hard to turn business away. Today, it’s easier than ever to get taken advantage of, so you have to be on your toes,” Carlisle says.

She also warns operators not to overextend themselves. “We started with one vehicle and grew to 35 in 25 years; success doesn’t happen overnight. Make sure you have your own book of business and don’t rely too heavily on affiliate work.”

In the future, they will pursue flawless service, always strive to avoid mistakes, constantly look for new avenues of business, and be the highest quality service possible, Carr says.

They recently learned many operators were unaware they have an extensive corporate fleet. “Eighty percent of our business is generated from our corporate accounts and business travelers. This business continues to grow alongside our retail side with high margins based on exceptional service and a late model fleet,” Carr explains.

This fleet includes nine sedans, three SUVs, four Sprinters, and a 27-passenger Grech Motors minibus. “Based on new corporate accounts in development and the needs of the affiliates we serve, this side of our business sustains daily operations while continually exceeding our own goals.” They are in the final stages of negotiation to acquire several new large corporate accounts.

“We don’t want to be the biggest, we just want to be the ones who do it the best,” Carlisle says.

Limo Lovers

In 1993, Carr traded in his sports car for a Lincoln Town Car after graduating college. He thought it would be easier than his job loading trucks at a local trucking company, but it wasn’t until he met Carlisle he found what his business was lacking: A partner to help push him and his company to its true potential.

Part of the Action team at a holiday dinner that exemplifies how diverse the company has become in the past few years.
Part of the Action team at a holiday dinner that exemplifies how diverse the company has become in the past few years.
After going through a bad divorce, Carlisle became friends with Carr and they started dating in 2010. It was in June of that year the couple discovered one of Carr’s previous employees was robbing him blind. At the time, Carlisle was still working full-time in the real estate industry, but stepped in and helped Action and Carr recover from the blow. In an odd twist of fate, she was laid off from her original job and the pieces fell into place for both her and Carr to devote themselves to building a business they could both be proud of.

Growth Through Appreciation And Adaptation

Although Carlisle had not originally planned on running a luxury ground transportation company, she feels her background in sales and marketing has worked exceptionally for building the business and coming up with out-of-the-box ideas.

Fast Facts

Location: Atlanta, GA and also in Chattanooga, TN
Year founded: 1993
Founder: Clarence Carr
Owners: Clarence Carr and Tammy Carlisle
Vehicle Types: Lincoln Sedans and SUVs, Mercedes Sprinters, Grech minibus, and a stretch MV-1 Accessible Limousine
Vehicles: 35
Employees: 2
Website:www.atl.limo

Carr always saw an opportunity to create a niche in the Atlanta market. “I wanted to start as a small business that offered high quality service, and over the last eight years we have doubled our fleet together and come up with creative concepts to help get our vehicles constantly on the move,” he says.

The company’s success lies heavily in the fact her and Carr are always there for each other, Carlisle says. “There’s nothing more encouraging than working with your best friend. We are a team 24/7, and this has helped us grow not only the business, but our relationship as well.”

During the past eight years, Action has seen its highest revenue increases in the history of the company. The couple attributes this to their ability to attract high quality chauffeurs. The secret is creating a family atmosphere, they say.

“Even though we’ve grown, we still have a great team and a lot of camaraderie,” Carlisle says. “Everyone feels like they are family. You have to make sure they feel appreciated every day and understand how vital they are to the business.”

They also don’t spend any time feeling threatened by or worrying about TNCs. “We just kept adapting new ideas to grow and prosper despite their existence,” Carr says.   

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Related Topics: Atlanta operators, business growth, business management, corporate business, customer service, family businesses, Georgia operators, retail markets, specialized tours, tourism, Trolleys, weddings, wine tours

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Anthony

     | about 8 months ago

    Congratulations to Trolleys!!!! This company is not afrais to charge for the product they deliver.... most of the operators out there are afraid to charge or simply dont deliver what they promise

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