People

Operator Shows Merging Can Be Best Decision

Lexi Tucker
Posted on April 17, 2019
Jordan Craft, president of Diamond Transportation

Jordan Craft, president of Diamond Transportation

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — It certainly seems like more companies are deciding to partner up rather than compete with one another. While there are many reasons, be it competition from TNCs, skyrocketing insurance rates, etc., sometimes it just makes more sense to work with others than to fight with them for clients.

Jordan Craft, president of Diamond Transportation, has seen a great deal of success from doing just this.

Work Together, Not Against

Originally in the restaurant business, Craft was eventually bought out and started looking for another pursuit. His wife took a job at a local hospital, and he bought Palmetto Transportation in 2012. The owner was an older gentleman who didn’t have a computer. The business was stuck in the past with not many customers to show for it. Craft started a website and created an email address, and in his first year, business tripled.

He started with four vehicles and increased his fleet to seven. Five years later, he contacted the owner of Diamond Transportation looking to buy him out. However, after sitting down and discussing it, Craft discovered he didn’t have enough finances. Instead, they determined Diamond would buy him out and have Craft run the newly combined company. “We were fighting over the same business, so we thought why not unite and knock it out together?”

Poised For Growth

Craft now helps run a fleet of 17 vehicles, including the Cadillac CT6, Lincoln Continental, Lincoln MKT, Chrysler 300, Chevrolet Suburban, and Ford Transit. The company’s runs split evenly between retail and corporate.

“We’ve grown because of our service,” he says. “I know a lot of operators may say that, but we don’t do any advertising — all of our business comes from word of mouth. We only just started working with Facebook advertising in the last two to three months.”

His advice is to create a reputation of being reliable. While he adopts a “never say no attitude,” he warns others you shouldn’t say yes to something you know you cannot provide. “Don’t tell someone you’re going to be there in the vehicle they ordered and not show up or show up in something you didn’t warn them of ahead of time.”

He also thinks you should be aware of the one attribute that keeps clients coming back to your company: Your chauffeurs.  “It can become a bit of a tug of war: You have to watch over them to a point, but you also have to treat them right. They are the face of your business. The only thing that fluctuates that you can control is pay.”

What’s To Come

As a younger operator, Craft warns others considering a career in the luxury ground transportation industry it’s not easy. “Be ready to work. It’s not a traditional desk job. When you’re starting, everything you can do yourself is going to make you more profitable.”

Providing for his family doing something he enjoys motivates him. “Now I have a better work-life balance,” he says. Having taken his company from eight chauffeurs to six full time employees in the office and 35 chauffeurs doing about $2 million in business a year is also something he’s proud of.

He attended the International LCT Show for the first time this March, and was happy to have found new software and resources that will ease doing business. He wants to define his future by growing his company, never letting customer service slip, and networking more often.

Related Topics: business growth, business management, business trends, customer service, mergers & acquisitions, South Carolina operators

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
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