Reston Limousine Diversifies Business Base

Martin Romjue
Posted on June 19, 2019
The RLS Fleet Services team (L to R): David Webb, Johnny Sower, Tony Simon, Kristina Bouweiri, and Tom Herrick at the Capital Heights, Md., facility on June 14, 2019. (photo: RLS/Reston Limousine)

The RLS Fleet Services team (L to R): David Webb, Johnny Sower, Tony Simon, Kristina Bouweiri, and Tom Herrick at the Capital Heights, Md., facility on June 14, 2019. (photo: RLS/Reston Limousine)

STERLING, Va. — A recent acquisition by the two top executives at Reston Limousine proves how luxury ground transportation operations are increasingly taking on related business and ventures to secure market share.

Reston owner and CEO Kristina Bouweiri and COO Tony Simon founded a new company, RLS Fleet Services, and then closed a deal April 1 to acquire the service division of Capitol Coachworks in Capital Heights, Md. RLS has assumed ownership and management of the service unit, including assets such as a 13,000-square-foot maintenance facility with 10 service bays.

Capitol Coachworks founder and President David Webb will continue to operate the vehicle sales and leasing business units independently.

Related LCT article: Reston Limousine Offers 6 Ideas To Diversify Your Profit Stream

Two Fleet Ventures

RLS Fleet Services runs separate from Reston Limousine, but Reston is a fleet customer of RLS for maintenance and repair related work on much of its 260-vehicle fleet that serves clients throughout the D.C.-Northern Virginia-Baltimore metro region.

In a related business dynamic, Sterling, Va.-based Reston maintains a separate in-house fleet division that will continue to service the 60 Reston vehicles based in Sterling as well as outside customers. That in-house division has four maintenance bays and one detailing station.

Reston Limousine also maintains a three-acre lot and satellite office with 70 vehicles in Capital Heights — one mile from the Capital Coachworks facility RLS just acquired and where those vehicles can be serviced. Capital Heights sits inside the Washington Beltway near the FedEx Stadium.

The dual company maintenance arrangement adds much more flexibility and cost-savings to Reston Limousine by decentralizing its maintenance schedule and reach, Simon told LCT in a recent interview.

Big Savings

Simon estimates when you add up the labor, fuel, and time costs Reston Limousine spent in transferring all vehicles to the Sterling location for maintenance work, the savings will amount to $100-$150 per vehicle per maintenance visit. Of the 260-vehicle fleet, about 130 vehicles are based at client locations.

“We are so spread out in the D.C. market and our core office is on the edge of the area near Dulles International Airport,” Simon said. “Some of our vehicles came from Baltimore and Gaithersburg and all throughout the region for preventative maintenance. It just became very complicated. We needed something more. Savings wise, you are talking a decent six-figure number per year added to the overall bottom line.”

The maintenance facility at Reston Limousine's company headquarters in Sterling, Va. (LCT file photo)

The maintenance facility at Reston Limousine's company headquarters in Sterling, Va. (LCT file photo)

Full Maintenance Staff

The RLS-acquired facility has a complete team manning the 10 service bays, including six mechanics, a vehicle body specialist, a management team, inspectors, and parts personnel, all lead by service manager Tom Herrick and sales and quality assurance manager Johnny Sower. RLS eventually plans to hire five more mechanics.

“We’re now adding staff, such as a sales and quality service manager to increase the quality, and soon will be expanding to a second or third shift so we can run into the nights and add weekend hours,” Simon said. “This will help service Reston and help clients who need a quick turnaround and need vehicles serviced.”

Simon estimates Reston Limousine will generate only 10% of the overall customer volume at the RLS facility. As a client of RLS, Reston is treated the same as every other client, including following the first-come, first-serve practice. “We fall in line with every other client, clients we service there are of equal priority.”

Meanwhile, the Reston Limousine in-house maintenance division in Sterling has 11 mechanics and employees, including fleet manager Dan Craig.

Natural Business Fit

The RLS acquisition came about rather quickly in less than a month after Simon talked to Webb, a longtime industry friend and colleague, earlier this year about Capitol’s business. Reston Limousine has had a long relationship with Capitol Coachworks since the company started.

“We were hanging out and figuring out how to divest parts of his business. I jumped in and said this would be perfect for us, and we could take it over. He loved the idea of us doing it since we know the concept in and out.”

Reston Limousine had been trying for the last five years to acquire new workable locations to diversify its fleet services, but found it difficult to find the right location in the real estate market.

“Capitol Coachworks is already a very healthy business, and doing well on its own,” Simon said. “It has a body shop, state inspection capabilities, and handles a lot of industry manufacturer warranties. The entire staff says on board.”

Wide Client Roster

Maintenance clients at both RLS Fleet Services and Reston Limousine span the spectrum of ground transportation companies and services that run buses and large vehicles. Those include the federal government, universities, churches, local schools, chauffeured transportation companies, non-profits, local, state and community fleets, ambulances, military fleets, motorcoach operations, and charter and tour operations, including out-of-town tour providers that often run fleet vehicles in and out of the D.C. area.

Capitol Coachworks remains as the go-to expert for anything bus related, Simon said. Webb has been a longtime exhibitor and seller at industry trade shows.

Reston Limousine remains open to new acquisitions and expansions in the region’s strong economy, Simon said.

“If something comes up, we’re always interested. We are focusing on our internal growth, which is going well, and our profitability. It’s all about making the company stronger. A vertical play is just as good or better than a horizontal one. We’re trying to curb the risk of putting too many eggs into one basket.”

Related Topics: business deals, business expansion, dealerships, fleet management, Kristina Bouweiri, maintenance, Maryland operators, mergers & acquisitions, Reston Limousine, Tony Simon, Virginia operators, Washington DC operators

Martin Romjue Editor
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