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Thread: Do you Remember your first Month in the Limo Business ?

  1. #1
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    Default Do you Remember your first Month in the Limo Business ?

    Hi guys, love this site. It is very addicting and sure beats wasting time on facebook or TV. The knowledge base is incredible, especially for us new people. So I have been in the limo business here in Atlanta for 2 months now. I know you guys would probably frown on Lead generation sites, but for someone just getting started (besides SEO and Social media,Internet).

    What is your best advice on lead generation sites to get business from like limos.com, Groundlink and even booking agency''s and travel agency's, concierge services like Amex etc, etc. I don't mind paying for leads, as I am just trying to survive my first year in this Business (that I LOVE).

    I just need some extra business and the Hotels in Atlanta are super crooked and charge you minimum of $20 for an Airport trip ( about $50 from Atlanta to the Airport) and that leaves you with $20 profit after gas.. So I would not mind paying for leads, just to get through this first year.

    Any advice of pros and cons would be very helpful. I am sure you remember how scary it is when you first get started and working 12-18 hr days 7 days a week just to get your name out there and get repeat customers.

    I have a 2003 Lincoln Town car and 90% of my Business is Airport drop off's ( They make you wait to get the Airport sticker for years), I have been told by other limo owners unless you play the Payola game.

    So I am just looking for ideas and who better to ask then the pros and real people who live this life every day.

    Thank you for any advice you may have and I appreciate your time.

  2. #2
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    i am quiete new in the limousine business, that is why i still can remember quiete well


    limousinenservice

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    I wouldn't call what you have left after gas and commission "profit". If you don't like the work someone is handing out your only choice is to find your own. Search engine leads are what keeps me busy.

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    Raise your rates that you charge to patrons of these hotels that are referring you business. If they charge everyone $20, then its just the normal cost of doing business with that establishments clients that is charged to everyone, not just yourself. If you lose out to others charging less, its your choice to either revise your pricing again, or replace that lost business with more profitable business.

    The first three to four months in business are very novel and magical. It is after this novelty wears off when the operators that did not and do not have a business/operations plan begin to scramble because real life catches up with them and the bills become more visible.

  5. #5
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    Thank for your suggestions. I know what you are thinking, that I have "new Guy Enthusiasm" syndrome lol However this is not the case, after grinding it out in a crappy taxi for a year to build my customer base to the airport, the Limo life is fantastic.

    Also, this is Atlanta,GA the busiest Airport in the world.. So you have insane amount of competition and MANY limos (way nicer than mine) in 2008-2010 LUXURY SUV's that will charge rock bottom price for a ride to the Airport and be happy to make $20 per trip. They make $100 bucks a day and they are happy and go home.
    So you see it's not as easy as just "raising my price" Can't charge a patron an extra $20, because they will not pay $70 to go to the Airport.

    So, this was why I was asking about alternative lead generation tools like GroundLink and Limos.com etc. These brokers may be frowned upon by the more established limo companies on here and they would probably not use them, but maybe for me it would be a good idea. I am just exploring alternative options that is all, any advice helps.

    Anyway, I understand what you are saying and again, appreciate the feedback.Thank you.

  6. #6
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    Thanks Brandon. Yes, I am up on my White hat SEO/Search,Social media and app game, just looking into alternative options that you established gentlemen may take for granted. And you are 100% right about it not being pure profit as office,Advertising,Internet,Google, maintenance,insurance etc cost a lot of money. Again, that's why I stopped dealing with several Hotels and looking into all aspects of the game, that I as a new guy would probably overlook or/and not know about. Thank you for your advice.

  7. #7
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    Default Sharing is caring.

    I will share one with you guys, since you have shared with me (and yes I know most of you know all this, but maybe someone does not), twitter and LinkedIn if used right, is THE best business development tool you can use. Those of you who know, you know. And if you are not using it, try it again. + Google now takes signals from tweets,fb Wall posts and are factored in your search rankings.

    As you know, everyone has a mobile phone and unlike a computer that ppl may turn On and Off at night or leave and walk away from, people's cell phones stay on 24/7/365.. So a tweet and fb post will send a Push notification right on your targets phone. People who would be VERY hard to get in contact with in real life, can be approached very easily. I have got several customers from CDC,Emory and even F.B.I employees all from twitter and LinkedIn.

    They recently had a competition on our local radio station and challenged the Interns to get celebrities to call in for an interview (what usually takes a radio producer weeks to get via e-mail). They were ONLY allowed to use twitter, and they were able to book BIG time celebrities, just from twitter alone to call in to the show.

    The Key is to personalize your twitter page like it's a living personality, not just "20% off on Airport rides" 20 times a day. Mix that in with, news, traffic updates, jokes,Flight information,Local Hotel/Restaurant reviews and Digital content like Video and Pictures (they can view it right there in their twitter screen).

    Do this right and people will follow you. Once they follow you , you can then DM (Direct message) them, think of it as a push e-mail on steroids that will 100% get noticed (unless you are Lady GaGA with 10 Million followers) then no, probably not. But.. if it's the Admin of Coca Cola, the Concierge Manager @ at Amex or maybe a Delta Pilot etc, then this is great for Lead generation and building relation ships that transcend into the real world.

    Try it, it's also great for customer service and answering customer questions about lost and found, pricing,fleet pictures or promotions etc, etc. Works for many, many companies. There are several tweet@limo and tweet@cab people out here doing very well with this.

    Some ROI, if you have 3000 followers and you tweet out your web site link and a special about Prom, Weddings Airport special etc and lets say get a 1% ROI on your tweet, well that's still 30 booked trips ( that's not to shabby for something that cost you Zero $ and took 8 seconds to do).


    http://mashable.com/2009/01/21/best-twitter-brands/
    "I hated every minute of training, but I said, Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion". - Muhammad Ali

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    You should think outside the box and not with your typical "same as everybody else" advertising options. This will be your best bet. Not only on the internet but off. Put out business cards wherever you go. Accidentally "drop" some in a chair at the airport (whoops)...post on bulletin boards, take out ads in business journals, get in the airport kiosk. Spend wisely and you will succeed.

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    The whoops had me dying. yeah that is a classic, good old guerilla marketing. One thing I know is you can' t be a one trick Google pony. because you can be gone in a heart beat. seen it happen. your competitors click "report a problem" on your page over and over again, next thing you know you are flagged and some Indian guy calls out of nowhere and says "are you located at so an so address" (meanwhile you think it's a competitor calling or some assh0le trying to sell you a "get you in google place 7pack sales guy) or even wires your dispatcher does not know anything about google maps.. Next thing you know.. Your in google verification land and your phones not ringing lol
    "I hated every minute of training, but I said, Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion". - Muhammad Ali

  10. #10
    Senior Member Wade Randolph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtlCarService View Post
    Thank for your suggestions. I know what you are thinking, that I have "new Guy Enthusiasm" syndrome lol However this is not the case, after grinding it out in a crappy taxi for a year to build my customer base to the airport, the Limo life is fantastic.

    Also, this is Atlanta,GA the busiest Airport in the world.. So you have insane amount of competition and MANY limos (way nicer than mine) in 2008-2010 LUXURY SUV's that will charge rock bottom price for a ride to the Airport and be happy to make $20 per trip. They make $100 bucks a day and they are happy and go home.
    So you see it's not as easy as just "raising my price" Can't charge a patron an extra $20, because they will not pay $70 to go to the Airport.

    So, this was why I was asking about alternative lead generation tools like GroundLink and Limos.com etc. These brokers may be frowned upon by the more established limo companies on here and they would probably not use them, but maybe for me it would be a good idea. I am just exploring alternative options that is all, any advice helps.

    Anyway, I understand what you are saying and again, appreciate the feedback.Thank you.
    Two things:

    1. Atlanta might be the "busiest" airport in the world in terms of flights because it is the east coast hub. Most of these people do not exit the airport unlike Chicago or LAX. Your possible client base is miniscule compared to them. Really no comparison.

    2. The large and successful operators that I know personally do get above $70.00 per trip. The three that I do business with get high $80's per trip for a sedan. The only way that can make money at this rate is to get return trips hopefully on a good portion of those trips. Atlanta has huge traffic problems in the evenings and can take 2 hours for an outbound in the evening.

    You will never know what people will pay unless you ask for it first.

  11. #11
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    1. very true.

    2. Yes, this is tue. The Large and Established companies can charge that price, as they should do. If you have a good customer base with wealthy customers and Corporate clientele that expense everything, then yeah the $70 is not a problem at all.

    My clientele as of now is more of an On-Demand mid range clientele of like University professors, IT consultants, Sales Managers etc. so I see exactly what you mean. how does that old saying go, you get what you pay for. Well I guess in my case, I get what I ask for or rather I get what I Market to.

    So I need to focus in on Customers in a higher tax bracket lol and get more corporate accounts that have no problem with paying a premium price.

    And that type of customers is what you want, that's the long money. Not the, search yelp/google ppl looking for a deal or crying about a $60 trip when as you said, in Atlanta traffic is horrendous and can very well take 2 hrs and more to get back and forth on an airport trip.

    if you are a professional who flies out every week and You get to expense your trips, price should not be an issue. however I do know that many of them have restrictions on how much they can spend on trips and some are not allowed to expense a "limo" so you have to have creative billing and receipts for them like Car Service or Transportation.
    "I hated every minute of training, but I said, Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion". - Muhammad Ali

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    I guess at this early stage in the game, I must decide if i want to Brand myself and business model as a baby "Carey" type of business model or a UTOG/ Dial 7 business Model. But as you know, I am just a One Man/One Car Operation. For now.. Thanks again.
    "I hated every minute of training, but I said, Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion". - Muhammad Ali

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    Senior Member Wade Randolph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtlCarService View Post
    I guess at this early stage in the game, I must decide if i want to Brand myself and business model as a baby "Carey" type of business model or a UTOG/ Dial 7 business Model. But as you know, I am just a One Man/One Car Operation. For now.. Thanks again.
    I would strive to offer the best service. Just a piece of advice, you will spend the same amount of time and effort talking to the office of hotels as you do doorman and bell staff. Go for the sales office staff and concierge. There is not as much turnover and this is where the bulk of requests will funnel through. There is nothing wrong with being small and providing superior service and usually this is much more profitable than a large operation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Randolph View Post
    I would strive to offer the best service. Just a piece of advice, you will spend the same amount of time and effort talking to the office of hotels as you do doorman and bell staff. Go for the sales office staff and concierge. There is not as much turnover and this is where the bulk of requests will funnel through. There is nothing wrong with being small and providing superior service and usually this is much more profitable than a large operation.
    Time spent logging in to limo forum, 30 seconds. Information learned, priceless.

    Yes that is solid advice. The one thing that is the hardest (pause) is finding good people to farm out trips to. like on Mondays, I have several airport trips all at the same time and if one of your farm-outs screws up, it is so easy to loose one of your regulars or getting someone who tries to steal your regular. And the other thing is keeping it uniform and seamless so that your customers never know that you are using farmed-out help.

    What is the industry norm on farmed out trips, do you keep 20% ?
    "I hated every minute of training, but I said, Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion". - Muhammad Ali

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    Senior Member cvclubs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AtlCarService View Post
    Time spent logging in to limo forum, 30 seconds. Information learned, priceless.

    Yes that is solid advice. The one thing that is the hardest (pause) is finding good people to farm out trips to. like on Mondays, I have several airport trips all at the same time and if one of your farm-outs screws up, it is so easy to loose one of your regulars or getting someone who tries to steal your regular. And the other thing is keeping it uniform and seamless so that your customers never know that you are using farmed-out help.

    What is the industry norm on farmed out trips, do you keep 20% ?
    20% is standard in most places. Here in Las Vegas we are regulated to only give a 10% discount max. In short you only get 10% for a farmed out ride here.
    Nick Groat
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Nick@BellaVitaLimos.com
    Bella Vita Limousines

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