Operations

How To Be The “Go-To” Company

Lexi Tucker
Posted on August 9, 2017

(l to r) Jess Sandhu, director of operations; Simmi Sandhu, his wife and office manager; Disha Sandhu, his daughter spending the Summer in the office to help with filling; Sharan Sandhu, his mother who handles accounts and AP; and Harry Sandhu, his father and the company president
(l to r) Jess Sandhu, director of operations; Simmi Sandhu, his wife and office manager; Disha Sandhu, his daughter spending the Summer in the office to help with filling; Sharan Sandhu, his mother who handles accounts and AP; and Harry Sandhu, his father and the company president
KENMORE, Wash. — Family businesses are all about continuing a tradition. While you must never forget the humble roots you came from, you also have to keep up with the times.

Jess Sandhu, co-owner and vice president of A&A Limousine & Bus Service, started working for his father at the age of 21 and has since helped grow the company into a one-stop-tech-savvy-shop for any and all affiliate and client needs.

You Need It, They’ve Got It

A&A operates sedans, stretch limousines and SUVs, Sprinters, limo buses, and mini coaches. “By diversifying our fleet, we keep our executive and mini coaches busy during the week, and on the weekend party buses and stretch limos go out,” Sandhu says. “When you have vehicles to fit the needs of any potential clients, word gets around you’re the go-to guy in your city.”

As tech giants in Seattle expand their reach in Washington, they’ve created a big niche for group transportation, which inspired buying minibuses.

Growing To Love Limos

Sandhu’s father started the company in 1994 after one year of working for another limousine business. In 1996, he began to focus his services on airport transportation. In 1998, Sandhu was old enough to drive commercially in Washington and drove a 1986 60-in. stretch ECB Lincoln Town Car limo for the first time to his own party.

He didn’t always dream of working in the industry, and thought about going into computer programing. “I hated staring at the screen all day long, which ironically is what I do now anyway,” he jokes. “I was driving part-time during college for my dad and saw this business had potential. I also just really love cars.”

Moving into coach buses in 1998 is something Sandhu views as the company’s biggest success. They have kept growing by a couple of buses every year and have never looked back since. “We were surprised by the response we got from clients hiring a bus from us versus a regular coach company. Limo companies have been known to provide a higher level of customer service than a regular charter company, from the friendlier chauffeur to the condition of the bus.”

Word To The Wise

It’s important to be nice to other local companies, Sandu said. “Although they are your competition most of the time, there’s plenty of work to go around.” He offers his local affiliates something they do not have from coach buses to party buses, because not many want to deal with higher insurance limits or DOT inspections.

He credits employees for the company’s success. He believes if you treat them right, they will always remember it. “We’ve had four employees who came back to us this year after leaving us for various reasons because they’ve seen what a difference there was.”

Jess Sandhu, director of operations for A&A Limousine & Bus Service
Jess Sandhu, director of operations for A&A Limousine & Bus Service
Sandhu tries to preschedule his chauffeurs at least a week in advance so they’ll know their schedule ahead of time, and also tries to make it so they have fixed days off. “We try to accommodate them as best we can.” Being flexible is a must when retaining employees.

As clients become more accustomed to reserving transportation and planning trips via online portals or apps, Sandhu wants to ensure his company isn’t left behind. “We’ve gotten good feedback by implementing Book.limo on our website, and the end goal is to become totally automated,” he explains.

Locally, he’s seen many limo companies cut their fleet sizes or close their doors completely because they simply could not compete with TNCs. “It’s sad, but we will keep setting the bar high so we never have to worry about meeting the same fate.”

Related Topics: affiliate networks, buses, customer service, employee benefits, employee management, employee retention, family businesses, mini-buses, party buses, Seattle operators, technology, Washington operators

Lexi Tucker Assistant Editor
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