Operations

20 Groups Bond Over Numbers, Business Obstacles

Lexi Tucker
Posted on November 4, 2016

Bob Beutel, president of Allstar Chauffeured Services in Detroit, Mich., and Huguette Lirette, vice president of Bennington Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation Inc. in Toronto, Canada and executive committee chairwoman of Chauffeured Success Group.
Bob Beutel, president of Allstar Chauffeured Services in Detroit, Mich., and Huguette Lirette, vice president of Bennington Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation Inc. in Toronto, Canada and executive committee chairwoman of Chauffeured Success Group.
With the right people on your side, running a limousine company doesn’t have to be a solitary struggle. Fortunately, many industry members are always willing to help out. While you may encounter them at tradeshows, through Facebook groups, and at association meetings, fellow travelers also flock to an enduring industry resource: 20 Groups.

Huguette Lirette, vice president of Bennington Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation Inc. in Toronto, Canada and executive committee chairwoman of Chauffeured Success Group, can certainly attest to the benefits one receives from joining a 20 Group.

So Much To Cover, So Little Time

Chauffeured Success Group meets twice a year: Once in August in one of the member’s cities (which includes a site visit), and again in March in a city not particularly close to any member. Meetings are mandatory, and can last anywhere from two and half to three days. Each starts early at 7:30 a.m., and the group usually has breakfast together in the meeting room.

As they prepare to go through a laundry list of items, they begin by addressing any hot topics not on the agenda, but important to discuss. This is followed by a “state of the union,” where each company talks about what has happened in the six months since they last met. From there, they dive deep into each company’s financials. “We may take a particular line item and drill down into it, then compare and talk about why something is high or low, and try to learn from it,” Lirette says. “Financials are really the essence of this group.”

How Did It All Start?

Lirette says Chauffeured Success Group was the first 20 Group for the luxury transportation industry. It was established in 1995, and has previously been moderated by Charles Tenney of Tenney & Associates and Tom Mazza, the late chauffeured transportation industry consultant and educator. It’s now moderated by Brian Faulkenberry of NCM Associates, a company that specializes in managing financial-based 20 Groups in a variety of different industries.  Past members include Dawson Rutter, CEO and founder of Commonwealth Worldwide Chauffeured Transportation in Boston; Bob Bellagamba, president and CEO of Concord Worldwide in Freehold, N.J.; and Robert Vaughn, CEO of Best-VIP Chauffeured Worldwide in Huntington Beach, Calif.

How Do I Sign Up?

Because the group deals with serious, confidential financial information, it takes more than just wanting to join to be admitted — you have to be invited by someone who is already a member. Since many of the current members are out speaking to

Group members on an outing to a Toronto Blue Jays game: (left to right back row) Karen Lindsey, Michael Lindsey, Brian Beaulieu (Huguette's husband), Bob Beutel, Steve Qua, Diane Forgy, John Olinger(left to right front row)Huguette Lirette, Cheryl Beutel, Chantel Souza, and Brian Faulkenberry.
Group members on an outing to a Toronto Blue Jays game: (left to right back row) Karen Lindsey, Michael Lindsey, Brian Beaulieu (Huguette's husband), Bob Beutel, Steve Qua, Diane Forgy, John Olinger(left to right front row)Huguette Lirette, Cheryl Beutel, Chantel Souza, and Brian Faulkenberry.
people in the industry, this isn’t necessarily the difficult part. “If we come across someone who we think would be a good fit, we bring that person’s name to the next meeting and have a full group discussion,” Lirette says.

The group requires a vigorous vetting process, an application that needs to be filled out, and dues. Once a prospective member agrees to this and submits the required information, they are then invited to a meeting. After sitting through part of the meeting, they will be excused and the members will vote on whether they are the right fit for the group. If accepted, the new member must pledge to abide by a 14-page bylaw document.

Is It Worth It?

Lirette believes so. “I went through the vetting process in March 2012. We had belonged to a group previous to this, and really felt it was beneficial to us. When we were asked if we would be interested, we jumped at the chance,” she says. “There are definitely success stories coming out of the group. For my company, I think it’s been invaluable. I think even if you’re very successful in the eyes of the limo industry, you still learn something from the others in the group who may not have as large an operation, but it may be something you overlook because of your size. I think everyone has something to learn.”

In addition, other benefits include the fact you can be open about your business and trust those who have also been admitted. “I think everyone really does have

Brian Beaulieu, Huguette Lirette, Cheryl Beutel and Bob Beutel in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Brian Beaulieu, Huguette Lirette, Cheryl Beutel and Bob Beutel in Scottsdale, Arizona.
everyone’s best interest at heart, and they truly try and work through your problems with you to better your business and help your bottom line at the end of the day,” she explains. “The financials really give you the benchmarking you either need to strive for, meet, or exceed, so you really know where you stand as far as the industry and how well you’re doing.”

The group’s 12 members include: Smart Cars Worldwide of Chicago, Ill.; Lindsey Worldwide Chauffeur Services of Hartford, Conn.; All Star Chauffeured Services of Detroit, Mich.; Pure Luxury Transportation of Petaluma, Calif.; Presidential Worldwide Transportation of Denver, Co.; Company Car Worldwide of Cleveland, Ohio; Bayview Limousine Service of Seattle, Wash.; Bennington Worldwide of Toronto, Canada; All Occasion Transportation of Providence, R.I.; Overland Chauffeured Services of Kansas City, Mo.; and the two newest members, Total Luxury Limousine of Saint Paul, Minn. and RMA Chauffeured Transportation of suburban Washington.

The group is looking to expand its membership in areas where it doesn’t have representation. “It’s a bit of a slow process because we have to plan our meetings six months in advance. If we were to have someone approach us at this point, all of the plans have been made for the March 2017 meeting. There wouldn’t be a new member invited until August 2017. But for us, it’s something we are always open to.”

Related Topics: 20 Groups, Bayview Limousine Service, California operators, Canadian Operators, Chicago operators, Colorado operators, Connecticut operators, Denver, Detroit operators, Diane Forgy, financial planning, Illinois operators, industry education, industry leaders, Michael Lindsey, Michigan operators, Minnesota operators, Missouri operators, Ohio operators, Pure Luxury Transportation, Rhode Island operators, RMA, Robert Alexander, Seattle operators, Steven Qua, Washington DC operators, Washington operators, WebXclusive

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
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