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NORTON, Mass. — Like many owners in the industry, John Cacaccio, CEO of Bristol Coach & Limousine, believes in the importance of customer service. Part of providing that includes remaining true to your morals, setting goals, and treating your staff and clients the way you’d want to be treated.
Cacaccio didn’t think he’d ever belong to the luxury transportation industry. Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., he took a job as a customer service manager in Detroit for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. After working there for six and a half years, the company saw how well he was doing and decided to offer him a position running its Boston sales office as a mobile logistics manager in the cargo division.
He quickly succeeded there as well, and was then offered a promotion where he would have to move again to Memphis. He didn’t want to make his family move, so he started thinking about what else he’d be able to do.
At the time, he was doing a fair bit of traveling from where he lived in Norton to Logan Airport. “There wasn’t a great way to get there besides taking the bus, and taxis weren’t reliable enough and often smelled heavily of smoke,” he explained. This planted the idea he should start his own business doing transportation better. He then read an article in the Boston Business Journal that stated air travel was expected to continue to grow, which solidified his decision to start his company with one Crown Victoria in 1996.
In the beginning, he drove and his wife Libby dispatched and took reservations. The business quickly grew, and he knew he couldn’t always be on every run himself. His desire to provide amazing service led him to hire additional chauffeurs to help him cover more runs.
“We’re picky about who we hire and we understand the importance of training them correctly. We also found by treating our team of chauffeurs like family, we created an excellent environment were the employees actually enjoy what they do and this in turn is ultimately felt by our clients.”
The company has been honored with awards and nominations from a variety of different sources. Their first was becoming a finalist for the 2007 LCT Operator of the Year award in the 1-10 vehicle category. They went on to win honors from The Knot, Wedding Wire, and the Sun Chronical newspaper in Attleboro, Mass. as one of the best limo services in their area.
More recently they won the First Generation Business of the Year for 2019 from the Massachusetts Family Business Association. Cacaccio believes the company has received these honors because they never leave clients hanging and are 100% committed to what they do. “If we aren’t there, we make sure one of our trusted affiliates is. Our mantra is ‘treat clients like family.’”
Their fleet is made up of 10 vehicles, including sedans, stretch limos, vans, and SUVs. They are selling their limo bus so they can upgrade to a newer one. “Our vehicles mesh well with the type of clientele we serve. We do a lot of weddings, and are also the sole providers for a few banquet halls in the area. We also serve traveling executives.”
There are many challenges and benefits to running a family owned business, Cacaccio says. Scheduling and hiring employees can be daunting, especially with unemployment numbers so low in a booming economy. He finds it difficult to delegate tasks as he loves to be hands-on. Time management can be tricky, as days seem to fly by. However, he finds working with his wife and sons has created a relaxed environment, and saves time and money in hiring.
He’s learned the importance of making sure you know your costs, and highly recommends finding a good accountant if you hope to succeed. “Prepare to be on call 24/7 at least for the first five years. If you say you’re going to do something, you have to stick by it if you hope to maintain a trustworthy reputation.”
One of the things he’s done that’s been the most rewarding to him is providing rides for children with chronic and life threatening illnesses to events like Bruce Springsteen concerts and trips to the airport to have a wish granted. Being able to work alongside his wife and kids and watching them learn and grow during the past 23 years has been special to him as well. “I hope they’ve learned how to do business in an ethical way in the age of Uber, Lyft, and gypsy operators.”
Cacaccio hopes to keep growing, build up his affiliate base, and be on the lookout for more quality chauffeurs. “We can’t wait for people to knock on our door to want to work with us. As owners, we have to go out, look for, and train them properly to make sure we have the right people behind the wheel.”
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