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Operator Propels Small Fleet To Top Performance

Martin Romjue
Posted on August 28, 2019
Operator of the Year Award winner Paul Walsh runs a six vehicle fleet that includes three Cadillac XTS sedans, two Cadillac Escalades, and one Berkshire Coach minibus-van. (LCT photo)

Operator of the Year Award winner Paul Walsh runs a six vehicle fleet that includes three Cadillac XTS sedans, two Cadillac Escalades, and one Berkshire Coach minibus-van. (LCT photo)

[This is the 13th episode in a recurring series of educational video interviews by LCT editors Martin Romjue, Lexi Tucker, and Jim Luff]

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — You couldn’t find a stronger advocate for boosting service quality among small fleet operations than Paul Walsh, the 2019 LCT Operator of the Year in the 1-10 vehicle category.

Top Line Performance

While Walsh runs six luxury fleet vehicles in southeastern Virginia, he aims to match the attention to customer detail and care of large, experienced fleet operations.

“We have to realize this is a service industry, from answering the phone 24 hours a day to being able to respond to people when they have requests,” says Walsh, owner of Superior Executive Transportation in Virginia Beach, in a recent educational video shot at the International LCT Show in Las Vegas. “The bigger companies that feed us a lot of work are expecting us to be able to respond rather quickly, so we have to be at a very high level all the time.”

Walsh advises businesses to always make sure chauffeurs are ready to go, especially in the era of near- and on-demand. “I think the challenge is having to transition from taking reservations two weeks in advance to maybe a day or a few hours in advance.”

Recruiting Ideal Chauffeurs

As an operator in a big military region, with U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines facilities spread throughout, Walsh, a Navy veteran, knows how to recruit chauffeurs from the ranks of former military members and law enforcement. They tend to be consistent, disciplined, and professional, which are qualities well suited to luxury high-end chauffeured service.

Walsh accepts the 2019 LCT Operator of the Year Award in the 1-10 fleet vehicle category on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at the annual LCT Awards Celebration in Las Vegas. (LCT photo)

Walsh accepts the 2019 LCT Operator of the Year Award in the 1-10 fleet vehicle category on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at the annual LCT Awards Celebration in Las Vegas. (LCT photo)

“We're very aware hundreds of people are retiring every day at a young age from the military,” Walsh says. “I understand being a good chauffeur with customer service, and there's a lot of military bearing associated with that. I also was very fortunate early on to meet a couple of retired police officers who were interested in the business just because of the fact we weren't in the limousine business; we were in the executive car business.”

Walsh checks out online bulletin boards for retired police officers looking for work. “I have good relationships with groups of people trying to transition into the next job. In our business, it's a great part-time job. I'm not going to guarantee anybody a 40-hour a week job. If they enjoy retirement and they want to play golf every Wednesday, that's fine by me.”

Walsh remains flexible to work around part-time chauffeurs’ personal schedules, which afford them time for hobbies and families

“I tell a lot of people it's the perfect part-time job for those looking for the perfect job,” Walsh says. “Many of those people stay with me, especially police officers and retired military.”

Strong Support

Smaller fleet operations (1-10 vehicles) provide the backbone of the industry since the larger networks need them, says Walsh, also president of the Virginia Limousine Association. “Whether they're from Chicago, New York, or Washington, D.C., in our smaller towns we have to provide the exact same level of service people expect when they're in those markets.”

Walsh appreciates the industry camaraderie and the willingness of operators to help each other out, which benefits his operation when handling large-scale events or fleet movements.

“I think the years of experience and working with other great operators have put me in a position where I can call anybody in the country and say, ‘What would you do?’ and they'll tell me,” Walsh says. “The industry is so helpful with each other because we want to succeed at a very high level. For that to happen, the big experienced operators who rely on us are willing to help. I think as a small operator, the pressure will be there, but if you’re successful, you will move on to bigger and better things.”

For complete LCT video series, CLICK HERE.

Related Topics: 2019 LCT video education series, hiring chauffeurs, ILCT 2019, industry education, Operator of the Year Awards, Paul Walsh, small-fleet operators, video, Virginia operators

Martin Romjue Editor
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