Operations

Operator Retains Chauffeurs Through Trust

Lexi Tucker
Posted on September 25, 2018

Raj Dhillon, president of City Trans, is always excited to meet new people at tradeshows and forge strong bonds with other operators.

Raj Dhillon, president of City Trans, is always excited to meet new people at tradeshows and forge strong bonds with other operators.

Who: Raj Dhillon, owner and president, City Trans INC., Los Angeles, Calif.

Retaining Talent: How do you get chauffeurs to stay? Give them freedom to deal with clients. Set up boundaries and provide them with the vital information, but let them handle the client in the way they think is best. This is why Raj likes to keep low overhead with less staff — it’s easier for everybody to understand their role. “I don’t stop them from making important decisions; I empower them to do so.”

Lessons Learned: Stability is important. “I have seen ups and downs, but consistent customer service is the key reason I’m still in the business and growing every year.” He gives all of the credit to his team of chauffeurs and office staff. The company culture motivates them all to do their best, and has helped him retain some chauffeurs up to 20 years. “It’s just the way we work together — as a family.”

Fast Facts

Location: Los Angeles, Calif.

Owner: Raj Dhillon

Founded: 1996

Vehicle Type: sedans, SUVs, vans

Fleet Size: 17

Employees: 21

Website: https://lacitylimo.com/

Phone: (310) 313-3555

Getting Started: Raj Dhillon drove a taxi for about five years and had many clients who would call him directly. He decided he would be able to serve them better if he bought a more upscale car and started learning about the limousine industry. The business was started in 1996 with a used 1994 Lincoln Town Car previously owned by another limo company. He came from India where his family owns a large transportation company. Transportation has always been an interest of his, and he was excited to improve his service levels and offer a more executive type of service.

Self-Sustaining Marketing: It’s always beneficial to get a new client, but you cannot ever forget who got you where you are today. Raj stopped marketing 15 years ago because word of mouth has served him better than any search engine. “My clients grow because if the person works at one company, the whole company starts using me. One family becomes two, three families. There’s so much business to be had by just focusing on the clients you already serve.”

Do Unto Others: Over the years, he has learned the more you push your chauffeurs, the more likely it is they will have an accident. They have had very few in the 22 years of the company’s history because he doesn’t pressure them into anything. “I think a lot of it has to do with the fact I also drove myself. I know every single feeling when you’re sitting behind the wheel for a long time. After certain hours, you just don’t drive the way you’re supposed to. Over a certain amount of time, you become numb and that’s when you stop paying attention to your driving.”

Cenllase Estrada, affiliate manager for City Trans, is Raj’s right-hand woman who helps take care of the business while he’s away learning how to grow.

Cenllase Estrada, affiliate manager for City Trans, is Raj’s right-hand woman who helps take care of the business while he’s away learning how to grow.

Stay Smart With Money: He has little debt and always pays his employees and affiliates on time. He attributes this to being cash savvy. “I’m always ahead of the financial curve. I don’t buy something I really don’t need. I don’t want to be under that pressure. We don’t have any problem paying bills.”

Advice To Operators: Focus on education and relationship building. He first started attending LCT Shows nine years ago and has since joined an industry 20 group. “Friendships are very important. It’s so helpful to be able to talk with others who may have had the same problems as you. You won’t have anyone to help you unless you reach out to new people.” He hopes more operators realize this and bring their friends to future shows to increase the number of attendees. “If I can bring even one person from another company, it helps everybody expand their network.”  

Related Topics: business management, California operators, chauffeur training, employee management, limo tradeshows, Los Angeles, Los Angeles operators, management, small business, small-fleet operators, tradeshows

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
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