Operations

Oklahoma Operator Believes In Classic Stretch Service

Lexi Tucker
Posted on July 11, 2018

(l to r) Jimmy, Parker, and Susy are one happy limo family.
(l to r) Jimmy, Parker, and Susy are one happy limo family.
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — If you’ve browsed industry Facebook groups at any point, you’ve likely seen uplifting posts by Susy Paris, owner of Paris Limousine. Part of the reason she’s so successful is because of her genuine desire to help others; but a lot of it has come from lessons learned and hardships overcome.

You might be familiar with the company through a past article on how to match service to your location, but LCT wanted to dig a little deeper to discover how she and her husband Jimmy first got involved in the world of stretch limousines.

Making An Accidental Purchase

Jimmy was a car dealer when he met and fell in love with Susy in 1983. Originally from Venezuela, her family kicked her out because she married an American. Ties were restored in 1986 when their daughter Jennifer was born. In 1987, the couple went to a car auction in Dallas, where Jimmy ended up being the last bidder on a limousine for $13,500.

Jimmy went to the bank to get a loan to pay for it in March, right before prom season. “The banker said we saved his life, because his wife wanted to get their son a limo for prom and every company in the area was booked,” she explains. They went downtown to get a limousine license, and were planning on selling the limo after the event.

However, word of mouth caught on and the limo was booked every weekend. Jimmy’s rented tux was eventually bought outright, and in five months the limousine was paid for. To drum up even more business, Susy opened a bridal store in 1989. She packaged dresses along with luxury transportation service, and always had a limo parked out front to draw in curious clients.

In 2003, she sold Paris Bridal Formal. “Our other companies helped us get where we are today,” she says. Jimmy is now a day trader in the stock market and manages their three gas stations with convenience stores, while she manages Paris Limousine.

Lessons During A Lifetime Of Service

Susy has learned many lessons over 30+ years of running the company. Being outgoing is a must to succeed in this business. You must be truthful and let potential clients into your showroom to prove your transparency.

One of the company's vehicles in front of one of their convenience stores.
One of the company's vehicles in front of one of their convenience stores.
“Often, it’s the people who act like they have money whose credit card doesn’t go through,” she says. “It’s the regular, hardworking people who have the most fun, because your service is something they don’t normally get to use and they splurge on.”

Unfortunately, she’s also learned to be very careful about what clients could construe as sexual harassment. “We no longer allow our chauffeurs to extend a hand to help passengers off our vehicles,” she says.

She’s stopped worrying so much about TNCs and is directing her focus on selling what luxury transportation companies offer that’s better. “We cannot fight Uber; we have to be in front of them. Promote yourself and your licenses and insurance. The more you talk about Uber, the more you’re giving them name recognition. Do your best and focus on yourself.”

A few other tips she has are as follows:

  • Make affiliates in your own state.
  • Stand out among the crowd by getting contracts with schools, as organ transporters, and non-emergency hospital transportation.
  • Start advertising three months before prom season if you want to pursue that market.
  • Be involved with charities and meet a lot of people; do good deeds and good karma will come back to you.
  • Do not hire chauffeurs with accents so thick no one can understand them.
  • If you are the owner of the company and also drive, don’t let clients know you’re the owner or you’re likely to get less or no gratuity at all.
  • Adjust to the culture of where you operate. For example, the reason why she has so many stretches when vans and buses seem to be all the rage is because she knows her market — people want to party and have a good time.

Don’t Forget Your Roots

What many companies seem to have forgotten is the reason why people will pay more for a luxury service is because they expect to be treated a certain way when

The company keeps its cars in pristine condition with this indoor garage.
The company keeps its cars in pristine condition with this indoor garage.
they do so. “All our chauffeurs have to do is take care of our clients. When they don’t perform up to our standards, we cut their hours. Limousines are like jewelry: you don’t need them—they are a luxury. Therefore, your service should feel that way to your clients.”

The Paris Limousine understanding is what happens in the back of the limo stays there. “Everyone is the same in our cars, whether they are rich or poor. When you pay what we charge, you are the king and queen of the backseat.”

Behind Every Successful Man

One of Susy’s most admirable qualities is the way she stands behind her husband 100%, even when it’s hard. While Susy is the one running the company, people tend to perceive it’s actually Jimmy.

Susy with her grandson Parker
Susy with her grandson Parker
“While it’s sad some people feel more comfortable using a company supposedly owned by a man, what matters is you and your partner know the truth. You have to be strategic about these things. He knows if I weren’t behind him, he’d fall flat.”

While she is open to selling the company, it has to be the right buyer. “If you don’t like what you do, you won’t succeed. If you do, it ceases to be work. I love it so much it would take a truly exceptional person to take over.” And in the future, that very person may be her beloved grandson Parker, 7. But that story likely won’t be told for at least another 15 years or so.

Related Topics: business growth, business management, customer service, family businesses, Oklahoma operators, WebXclusive, women in the industry

Lexi Tucker Associate Editor
Comments ( 1 )
  • Renee

     | about 3 months ago

    Great article, Susy!

More Stories
What's your favorite airport? (Photo: Pexels)
News

What Are America's Best Airports?

U.S. passenger numbers are at record levels, but packed terminals aren’t stopping them from enjoying wait time for a flight.