Operations

Going After The Big Guys

Lexi Tucker
Posted on May 8, 2019

Adrian Davis, owner of Five Star Transportation Services (All photos: Adrian Davis)
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — It’s been said time and again: The people who opt to use TNCs are not chauffeured transportation customers. Uber and Lyft cater to those who are out to get drunk at bars, who used to take taxis, and who don’t need to maintain a professional image. Adrian Davis, owner of Five Star Transportation Services, isn’t on the hunt for small fry — and his choice of vehicles reflects that.

Know What They Want And Provide It

His fleet contains BMW 5 and 7 Series sedans, Chevrolet Suburbans, GMC Yukon XLs, a Grech minibus, and a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. He also plans to by a 40- or 56- passenger bus this coming year.

“All of the vehicles we choose to add to our fleet are recognized brands clients know and identify with luxury and reliability. I try to distinguish the company from others with premium vehicles that allow for comfort and a superior transportation experience. This also helps in pursuing larger accounts,” he says.

Fleet Evolution

Davis always knew he wanted to work for himself; he just didn’t know what industry he wanted to be a part of. After earning a degree in business management from University of Phoenix, he decided he’d follow in his mother’s footsteps…kind of.

His mother bought a shuttle company in 1999 similar to Super Shuttle which operated strictly at San Diego International Airport. She sold it in 2011 to a shared shuttle service. In February 2012, Davis wanted to start his own company, but take transportation in a different direction. 

Shiny BMWs draw eyeballs.

Shiny BMWs draw eyeballs.

The journey began with a Ford Econoline and Lincoln Town Car. In his first few years, he bought a few stretch limos and a party bus, and grew the fleet slowly. In 2015, he sold the stretches and party bus and started to gear himself more toward corporate travel. In his pursuit of the premium corporate sector, he bought a BMW sedan and Sprinter and has stuck with known luxury brands ever since. He is now compiling data to position himself in the bus market, and has started with a 27-passenger Grech minibus for smaller groups.

“We’re looking at adding more in the coming years since we do a lot of airport trips, meetings and events at the San Diego Convention Center, and hotel work.” His fleet is comprised of seven vehicles total.

Do Your Research

In trying to find the best vehicles for his market, Davis has learned many lessons. He at first purchased the wrong vehicles and pursued the wrong clientele and market from where he wanted to be. He learned from his mistakes, but also took calculated risks that paid off.

Davis' diverse fleet keeps clients happy.

Davis' diverse fleet keeps clients happy.

“Study and learn your market, and take time to find your niche,” he says.

He advises other young operators to keep at it. “It’s going to be hard work, but don’t give up. We are the generation that will help keep moving this industry forward. Uber and Lyft are not our biggest competition; it’s ourselves. They may be affecting a segment of the market, but competition gives us the energy to compete at a higher level and be better in the corporate market which is our specialty.”

He also suggests attending tradeshows and other networking events, which he says have been the key to his success. “There’s nothing like meeting your affiliates and potential clients face-to-face. Just make sure you’re following up and strengthening the connection.”

Related Topics: BMW, California operators, corporate business, customer service, Fleet Vehicles, Grech Motors, LCTFast40, Mercedes-Benz, Millennials, San Diego operators

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
Comments ( 2 )
  • Amy

     | about 2 months ago

    Well said. Likewise, the leverage of tech is something we shall learn from Uber and Lyft.

  • See all comments
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