Operations

Why This Operator Knows The Value Of A Limo Education

Lexi Tucker
Posted on August 23, 2017
Bobby Puri values the perfect balance of work and family. He's seen here with his wife Dee and son Arjun.
Bobby Puri values the perfect balance of work and family. He's seen here with his wife Dee and son Arjun.

The big names we admire, like Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, or Richard Branson, had to start somewhere. These entrepreneurs didn’t just wake up with the knowledge they needed to start mega-successful businesses. They undoubtedly had mentors or spent a lot of time learning from others.

The same concept applies in the chauffeured transportation industry. Bobby Puri, owner and operations manager of True Elegance Worldwide Transportation in Fremont, Calif., believes the way to prosperity relies heavily on attending trade shows where you can learn from speakers and fellow operators.

Lesson #1: Close, Innovate, Learn

You must always be learning and implementing new ideas. The three elements of a model for success are closing, innovating, and learning, Puri says. The quote he built his business on is “always be closing.” If you’re not pushing and marketing to get your brand out there, you won’t see results, he says.

“Your company should be the first and only clients think of when they need transportation in the areas you service. You have to show affiliates you’re the company they need to use because your product and process is so smooth.” Companies can prove this by doing their due diligence and letting their incredible service speak for itself.

Good entrepreneurs never stop innovating. They must embrace technology instead of fear it and learn how to use it to improve the efficiency of their business. “I’m happy to see our industry is starting to understand this,” Puri says.

Finally, learning should lead to adapting and execution. “LCT has taught me a lot about charter bus work which is a fairly new niche. When I first stepped into a Grech bus on the Show floor, I didn’t think we could afford it. But I learned enough about finance through LCT and was able to purchase one; attending these shows is crucial to your success.”

Lesson #2: Focus On Customers; Success Will Follow

Although Puri started the company in 2007, he always had a background in transportation. His uncles owned taxi cab businesses, and he would wash cars and preform administrative duties on the weekend instead of watching cartoons like other kids his age.

“It was a good experience to have, and I feel like it was in my blood to work in transportation,” Puri says. After college, he worked for Progressive Insurance, AIG, Nationwide, and almost became a deputy of the Alameda County Sheriff's Office. In the end, he couldn’t shake the calling of entrepreneurship.

“Luxury transportation is clearly a different audience than the taxi business,” he says. “You’re dealing with different expectations and attitudes, but it’s also a lot more fun.”

The company runs 25 vehicles, including Lincoln MKS, Cadillac XTS and Escalade, Mercedes-Benz S-550 series, GMC Yukon XL, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans, Grech minibuses, and numerous Grech shuttle buses that can hold from 23-52 passengers. Puri is also ordering new stretches for their wine country business to comply with new California laws.

Since he first started True Elegance, he’s seen the business grow from being heavily retail (dealing with neighbors and family friends) to serving some of the biggest names in tech. True Elegance’s customer base now ranges from the Silicon Valley to the Napa Valley, and are drawn to the company’s focus on customer satisfaction, Puri says.

“We’ve gone from a meager $600,000 a year when we first started to attain significant measurable financial growth this year,” he says.

Much of his success comes from the fact he remains open-minded whenever he attends trade shows.

Lesson #3: Set Goals; Be Smart About Achieving Them

Puri’s goals include growing to $5 million in revenue by next year, starting a new sales and marketing team to scour different aspects of their market to pursue, and growing the company’s affiliate market share.

To succeed, he advises fellow operators: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. “Whatever you do, try to earn equity via assets and real estate. Bills will always be there, and diverse investments will help,” he explains.

For example, try to own the lot you park your vehicles in, and don’t go for a low down payment on new vehicles. Pay heavy so you can own them and make equity to improve your cash flow instead of having that money go out toward monthly payments.

Related Topics: California operators, continuing education, customer service, industry education, limo tradeshows, tradeshows, WebXclusive

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
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