Limousine, Taxi, And Advertising!
That’s a weird combination isn’t it? They all fit together trust me! First we will discuss the limo business, I started driving limo over 10 years before I made the plunge off the deep end and venturing out on my own. By this time I figured I had learned all there was to know about the industry, everything except what finally caused me to go broke that is! I had paid cash for everything for over 20 years but once I made my mind up not only did I want it, I wanted it bad. I tried to raise the funds at the bank and they just laughed at me.
HOW TO BUILD CREDIT FAST!
I finally paid $600 for a $500 secured visa and became the best employee my boss ever had. I would work late and get up early clean, shine and fill all the limos before anyone else’s day started. I was very tired but I was a man on a mission. I used my new credit card to pay for all car washes and fuel, my boss would reimburse me and I’d pay off the card once or twice a week. I was paying much more in payments than my total income and the credit card companies were taking notice. My boss had like 18 limousines, that’s a lot of car washes and a lot of fuel! I USED MY BOSSES COMPANY TO BUILD MY CREDIT. ALL SO I COULD OPEN AND COMPETE WITH HIM! Pretty cleaver!
Within 1 years I had $70,000.00 worth of credit cards and lines of credit (accessible funds), and a $150,000.00 loan for a brand new SUV limousine. In no time I experienced something really crazy, every time I wanted a new limo or truck all I had to do was sign on the dotted line. It was insane, the business was growing too fast to keep up with and my credit seemed limitless. In no time I had several limousines and a massive debt load, which was fine as long as nothing happened to the business, I had plenty of cash flow. I had accumulated much more than 1/2 million in debt and had no problems keeping up with the payments until the housing crisis. You know, the one in the next country over?
Fraud within the banking system in another country which was allowed, accepted, and condoned by government caused a falter on the markets. The shock wave spun threw many countries including mine. My phone was ringing backwards. All the trips I had on the books were all canceling faster than I could replace even a small percentage of them. I WAS GOING BROKE, AT RECORD SPEED! I had grown too fast and didn’t have the funding to make payments, overnight my revenue dropped over 80% and there was no end in sight. I couldn’t survive! The government in the USA stepped in and bailed out the crooked rich bastards but thousand of companies large and small went tits up with not so much as an apology from the bankers or the government.
Using The Competition:
After I opened, I only had the one limo but I had access to every limo in town. Like all the rest of the new guys I had a brokerage license and advertised all services. When a call came in for a 6 passenger, 8 passenger, a hummer or a sedan I would farm that work out to my old boss or a friend and they in turn would shoot me extra business or pay me a commission. I’ve seen a guy who only had 4 town cars hire 76 stretch limousines all at once to cover an account. It’s all about customer service. Several companies came together for the cause, put aside their differences and got the job done professionally. Everybody made money and the clients were none the wiser!
In the taxi industry it’s more open, they just come out and tell you to call the other company. I’ve seen times where the dispatcher would call the other company and ask them to cover the trip because the customer had been waiting too long! In photography I have seen where a photographer may rent / borrow a friends equipment for a job, where 2 photographers may work together on a project or where a seasoned photographer will take a new photographer under his/her wing and teach them to improve their photography and afterward the 2 start sharing work once the rookie perfects his craft. I’ve seen where the rookie comes back and teachs the teacher a few things as well. It’s good to have an ally to keep up to date with. (That’s business)!
Now it’s lecture time: I am active in the blogging community and have been for some time. I belong to many blogger groups. I see people who think they are helping all the time. They freely give out tips and tricks to the public. There are 3 problems with this, most of the free or cheap advice, they are passing really out of date, and is really, really bad advice! The second is there are doing it in a very public manor on social platforms where thousands can get the advice (good or bad). Third problem is they are dropping their pants and giving it away for free! I will admit the industry is over saturated with people who know nothing, wanting to throw together some $13.00 bad advice course, They figure if you make any money even $5 that’s earning money online!
First learn your stuff and then charge a respectable amount of money. Nobody is really going to take a $13 course seriously! Anything worth doing is worth doing right! I know I’m giving 100% and charging accordingly. I no longer give away knowledge, I charge for it. I’ve given it away all my life and others prospered! I give tidbits to people, enough to interest them and too little to succeed without paying for help.
I charge for advice because I’ve earned it, it’s called real business and life experiences. I am no longer a kid who can be dismissed as having crazy ideas and no experience. I’m now an old man with actual and factual experience while still having some crazy ideas of how to expand, promote and grow a business. Many businesses fail just because the owner doesn’t have that gift so when revenues drop they can’t fix the problem or by the time they realize it, it’s too late. Don’t be one of those guys!
I have hateful thoughts about this industry and yet I’ve always been attracted to it for other reasons. I’ll share the hate first, then the love. It’s a dangerous, thankless, job and people treat you with all the respect of being 7 notches below those on welfare. Most really do treat you like the scum of the earth! The customers try and beat you, rob you, and rip you off. Oh just pull into the back alley I have to run in the house and get your money. Sure pull this leg it plays jingle bells! That’s not where it ends the cops, the city and government treat you like a criminal and the cab companies along with their pals at city hall rape you every chance they get. I never had a clean license driving cab, most lose their license and I should mention I have never had a ticket since I quit driving a taxi. Actually I don’t even think I’ve been pulled over, it’s got to be 30 years now since I’ve had a ticket!
One of the things I love about the taxi industry is the nice people you meet, I drove John Candy just before he passed away. I drove a few others who later became country music singers. I loved always having cash and if you spent too much you could just work harder and make it up, that part is addicting. I love driving, it wasn’t a hard job, just long hours. As a driver it had limited benefits unless you ventured into the underworld. As a pimp, drug dealer, or other activity’s guy I would have made a lot more money. I knew drivers who did it and got out of the industry fast but went down the wrong road. As a company in a large city the owner almost has god like powers. All the cab owners I knew were very wealthy from stealing from the drivers. Now that’s changing with Uber moving in, it should level out the playing field a bit. There is a lot of corruption within the industry. It would take a complete book to explain the inner workings.
In smaller cities and towns you can have some success but good luck getting started if your not local and know everyone. Small towns are clicky! Like being a driver, owning the company has benefits like having the dispatchers 24/7 who can also run and dispatch couriers and limos. All three can be run from one office using the same staff it takes to run just one company! In the big cities, the drivers own the cars and pay all repairs. The company has them sign their car over for $1 so the company can insure it cheaper. You also have to do this because in most cases they have bribed city hall to close the taxi plates so you must sign over your car. They can then use all those taxi’s they don’t own as collateral on a loan! Is that pretty cool, or pretty sleazy? They then charge the drivers $300 – $400 a week for dispatch services including insurance and admin. It is a racket!
When rates go up the public bitches so the cab company owner will go on TV saying the poor drivers are starving and need a raise. Meantime it’s the brokers who push for higher rates because a couple of weeks later, guess what happens? The brokers raise the taxi stand rent! In a smaller city or town, they operate differently. Usually, the taxi company owns the taxis and they operate on a 60/40 split, guess who takes the bigger hal, the company! Giving credit where credit is due it’s tough to survive running a taxi company in a small town.
Now that I have given the taxi company some credit, it’s usually tough because they haven’t used any of the add on businesses and the biggest one is yet to come. Did you ever notice a taxi either in real life or in a movie? The answer was yes, why because everywhere EXCEPT IN A SMALL TOWN they are painted company colors (Usually yellow). they stand out like a moving billboard and they should! In a small town it will be dad’s family car with a removable roof light and every car will be a different color. Not uniform and not professional! Yes there is an expense to painting the cars and benefits too, like more growth and loyal customers.
Frankly I’m not a fan of the removable roof light because what if someone steals the roof light plunks it on any car and drives the public? You hear about how some cab driver has raped a woman and left her in the middle of nowhere and it wasn’t even a cab driver! ALWAY’S get the taxi # when you get into a cab it’s either located on the roof light or the side of the taxi. You will need this to make a legit complaint or if you lose something. People are famous for leaving their cell phones and purses in taxis and they might have several fares before you call the company.
The fact is taxi’s are on the road 24 hours 7 days a week and 365 days a year! Why not advertise your company and be professional. The are a moving billboard and that’s what I really love about taxi’s. The company I owned was in a small town and very hard to get going, if I ever did it again I’d buy a company already in business, it’s much easier and you can make subtle changes to make things the way you want them.
Here’s where the taxi becomes a gold mine!
I owned my own limousine company in a bigger city and to compete you had to have nice new cars where as in a small town you could buy limos 10 years old and have the newest for many miles. That’s an option I would look at because there is stupid money in the industry, it’s fun to run, done right you can track everything remotely. locations, type of cars, drivers, speed, bookings, customers. You can track pickups, drop offs, how much the limo is idling, and even if the driver is driving customers for cash and not telling you! The software is out there to have all of that information. You could have a virtual office in India answer the calls if you didn’t also have a taxi company. As I mentioned I also had a taxi company and I told you how I’d do that moving forward!
What I didn’t tell you is we added roof signs to our taxi’s, not just the taxi lights but actual advertising signs that were lit up at night. We advertised for the company on these signs. If you added a new service poof you just made a new sign “TXT A TAXI” and everybody in town know about it! We didn’t have to seek out advertisers they came to us, how much to get my companies name up there on that lit up moving billboard. One guy told me he noticed it watching TV in his home in a cul-de-sac. he said the light was so bright he couldn’t help but look! It also helped the taxis stand out for easier flagging during busy times. Just by adding the roof light advertising we became an advertising company. You have to have approval from city hall! The see threw ads on the rear window are also very profitable and you can even wrap a few taxi’s if the money is right. Small town taxi companies over look the biggest profits to be made in the industry. One or two taxis with roof lights and you can advertise any business you have locally and sell ads too!
A small business can afford $50.00 a week for one side of a sign then rent or use the other side.
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