Exiting The Limo Biz: A Status Report Two Years Later

Jim Luff
Posted on January 10, 2018
Don't get into a daily grind. No one can change the quality of your life except you (Creative Commons Image: Pixabay.com via Pexels.com)

Don't get into a daily grind. No one can change the quality of your life except you (Creative Commons Image: Pixabay.com via Pexels.com)

It’s hard for me to believe it was two years ago this month I suddenly decided to retire from my role as CEO of The Limousine Scene. The company turned 25 years-old in 2015. I turned 53 years-old that same year. Do the math: I was 28 when I got in this business.

The true catalyst of my abrupt departure was a decision made while attending the funeral of my friend, Steve Starbuck. Steve wasn’t just a friend; he was the treasurer and CPA of a non-profit children’s charity I preside over. Steve was an investor in Limousine Scene and a regular passenger. He was also five years younger than me when he suddenly died just five days before Christmas and 19 days before his 49th birthday. It was a wake-up call for me. I sat and asked myself, “I wonder if Steve died feeling fulfilled, accomplished, and happy.” I hope he did. Upon closer examination, I realized I was not happy in my own day-to-day life. No one on this planet could change that – except me. So it was time for some reflecting.

Two years later, I watch the world I used to live in through the glass panes. You know what I see? I see operators carrying their phone with them 24/7. I see some of them ridiculously carrying two or three phones. Not an hour goes by when they don’t have to scoot into a corner to take a call, make a decision, take a reservation, or in some other way, be interrupted by their work. They, or perhaps even you, are not running a business. The business is running you. In this business, you are under tremendous pressure. One mistake working a funeral job adds grief to a grieving family. One mistake at a wedding and you’ve ruined a special day or moment. One wrong word to an artist’s manager and you might never get a job again. One wrong turn, one missed flight...it’s tremendous pressure that never stops. I simply decided bouncing grandchildren on my lap was more important in life and chose to pursue my dream. I had many long term employees in the business who actually ran it as if it was their own, including my son. Nothing would change except I would no longer go to the office anymore or make any daily decisions.  

I had no idea two years later I would be the marketing manager for Chosen Payments and jump into a new world of attending trade shows with funeral directors, chiropractors, jewelers, and of course, my brothers and sisters in the limo world. I work from home most days. It’s a fun and exciting job. I also travel the country with Arthur Messina (Driving Results) sharing the wealth of knowledge stored in my head over 27 years with focus groups seeking to run their business better and smarter.

I never had anyone to hold my hand as we grew from a one-car operation to just under 40 vehicles at our peak, so I love giving back. I will celebrate 14 years of writing for LCT Magazine as well this week. I continue to love sharing and spreading new knowledge. As I travel to places like the grand opening of the new Premier facility in Dallas, I have the opportunity to visit with operators, hear their newest dilemmas and new tricks of the trade, and continue sharing information with those who read my work. Speaking of that, thank you for taking time to stop by today and read this.

As we move further into 2018, I urge you to train your people to do your job and the job of everyone around them. It may have taken me 10 years to get to the point that I worked Monday through Friday from 9 to 5, but I did it. I had line level employees, supervisors, and managers who I completely trusted to make decisions on my behalf.  I don’t change tires, so no one ever called me to tell me we had a flat tire on a vehicle.

The chauffeur would call the dispatcher who then called a tow truck, dispatched a replacement vehicle if needed, and reported it to their supervisor. Supervisors called their respective managers and managers decided whether to call me at night or on weekends. I implore you to reclaim your life this year. You didn’t start a business to have it run you; you started a business for the American dream. Get off that phone and pay someone to answer it for you!

Related Topics: business management, Jim Luff, Management, operations, work-life balance

Jim Luff General Manager
Comments ( 2 )
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  • Tammy Carlisle

     | about 3 years ago

    Great article Jim and we are trying to surround ourselves with the trusted talent you found. Thank you for this article that will continue to push me in that direction. Thank you also for your dedication to our industry - you are and always will be my go to and friend! Love you!

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