Operations

Operator Knows How To Recruit Quality Employees

Lexi Tucker
Posted on October 7, 2016

Nick Lopez, director of sales and marketing for JACO Limousine & Transportation and Kentucky Bourbon Tours
Nick Lopez, director of sales and marketing for JACO Limousine & Transportation and Kentucky Bourbon Tours
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — You don’t choose the limo life; the limo life chooses you. Nick Lopez, director of sales and marketing for JACO Limousine & Transportation and Kentucky Bourbon Tours, embodies this statement. He never had any family in the business, and didn’t really think he’d ever end up working for a limo company. As it turns out, he has skills that prove to be pretty useful in a time when finding quality employees is one of the biggest concerns for most operators.

Fateful Encounter

Lopez met Todd Roberts, the president and owner of JACO Limo, at a local event in Louisville at a brandy distillery. It was here Roberts noticed how Lopez worked his way in and out of the crowd while making connections. At the time, Roberts was new to the Louisville market and saw this as a great opportunity to bring Lopez on board.

With a background in sales, Lopez came from the recruiting industry where he honed his skills as a headhunter and trainer. He also had an interest in technology.

“It was a good opportunity for JACO Limo because, being new, it helped that I brought corporate connections, a wide network, and an understanding of how to recruit and train,” he says.

Before meeting Roberts, Lopez didn’t really know anything about the luxury ground transportation industry. Originally, Lopez was working with sales professionals in Louisville on LinkedIn related training, teaching them how to use the advanced search functionality of the site to identify certain personnel in perspective organizations they could call and work through to obtain business.

“I came out to help [Roberts] with that, and I realized pretty quickly he wanted something more; he wanted to keep me on board full-time. I came out and looked at the fleet and was immediately impressed. When you look out and see all of those neat vehicles, it really makes you feel it’s something you want to be a part of.”

The Right People Make Business Boom

Consistent with most medium sized operations, JACO Limo deals with many corporate clients and affiliate work. Retail has been steady, but when any company starts up in a new market, it often has no web presence and people don’t really know the business exists, Lopez says.

“That’s the latest piece of the business we’ve been building out. Over the past three to four months, retail has now picked up a lot heavier than it was before, which is a natural progression.” It’s also a testament to having Lopez on board.

One reason for the recent increase in business is the way Lopez treats staff. “I was told earlier in my career your employees are your number one clients. It was when I got to JACO Limo I really came to understand that,” he says. This is his first opportunity in a management role, and he has learned you need the right people to get the job done.

“We have more 2016 vehicles than anyone in the Louisville market, but that doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the right people driving them. If they aren’t having a good time and they don’t have the right resources and knowledge base, then the vehicles don’t matter.”

It’s clear the company has proved itself. Lopez says some of the biggest successes they’ve had are being called upon to work global and national events like Muhammad Ali’s funeral, this year’s RNC, the NRA national convention, and the Kentucky Derby. “What’s impressive to me is we are called upon to go service other markets outside of our own to handle some key accounts.”

Marketing Master

A tactic that has worked well for JACO Limo is getting testimonials from corporate clients, affiliates, and retail customers. Lopez says clients are more than willing to produce quick 30 second videos for them to use to promote the company. In addition, the business is always looking for sales opportunities and referrals; Lopez considers the company’s chauffeurs to be its number one salespeople.

On the affiliate side, Lopez attends many of the industry events to forge strong connections. He plans on strengthening JACO Limo’s social media presence in the coming months as well. “This is an industry that’s very easy to share what you do via platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram,” he explains. His particular expertise, however, lies in the underused LinkedIn.

“If you understand how to use advanced search functions and filters, you can get so granular you can find 800 women that like yoga in the city of Louisville with one search. It’s a huge tool most industries don’t really understand, and therefore very few people leverage it.”

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Although he hasn’t been in the business as long as other operators, Lopez has some advice. “Keep networking. Let people know who you are, and don’t get discouraged. Leverage technology. Don’t necessarily recruit more, but recruit and train better,” he says.

Another suggestion: Help your chauffeurs by making processes more efficient. “We make training videos for all of our vehicles, so if a chauffeur is ever out in the field and for some reason something happens and they are uncertain of how to operate or fix something, we can just send a quick link to a video instead of having to take time to walk them through it. Just do anything you can to help speed up the day.”

Related Topics: affiliate networks, employee management, employee recruitment, Kentucky operators, LinkedIn, marketing/promotions, networking, recruiting chauffeurs, Sales & Marketing, social media marketing, staff training, web marketing, WebXclusive

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
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