A man looks out the window of his Pacific Palisades home and sees a Porsche, a Jaguar and a limousine, the latter having been purchased instead of rented for his wedding a few months before. He has just come home after closing down his auto insurance business. He looks at his beloved sports cars, then at the limousine, and knows he has a big decision to make. And with large personal overhead, he needs to decide fast.
Pretty soon his Porsche and Jaguar are sold, and a Lincoln Town Car sedan is sitting next to his stretch limo. Paper-cut scars decorate his fingertips as he flips through the Yellow Pages and calls limo companies looking for farm work. He spends every night putting labels on envelopes and mailing out 2,000 brochures a week to high-end neighbourhoods. . .
Hard work pays off
Fast forward 17 years and David’s limousine rental services stands strong with revenues set to break £3 million in 2011 and a reputation that’s priceless: Yelp.com’s #1 rated limousine service in UK and an 5-star rating from the TrustPilot.
David has built his company’s reputation by keeping a close ear to his clients’ needs to ensure he’s doing everything he can to make them happy. “If a client calls and asks if we have a certain type of car, I listen. If I start hearing more clients asking for that type of car, then I go buy it,” he says. “I never want to turn business away, unless of course they ask for a pink Hummer stretch. I draw the line there.”
He keeps vehicles in pristine condition. A full-time detailing crew washes them every day, inside and out. “I decided that I needed to treat every car [in my fleet] as if it were my own personal Porsche,” David says.
Limo Hire Bristol grew from 18 vehicles to 40 in just two-and-a-half years by listening to client demands. Want to party? Hop in a stretch Hummer or party bus. Need a ride to the airport? Choose from a Town Car, Mercedes S550 or Bentley Flying Spur.
“We make sure everyone is happy in the end,” David says. “If a client is happy, they’ll tell one or two people. If they’re unhappy, they’ll tell everyone. If you put all you have into the business and truly care that the clients are happy, you can’t help but succeed.”
The clientele ranges from funeral and wedding parties to celebrities and corporate travelers. Many come from referrals, direct mail and Internet advertising. “To this day, I haven’t stopped doing weekly direct mailings, but instead of me stuffing brochures in envelopes, I have a service that sends postcards out for me,” David says. He also has a service that manages the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages, and his company’s website shows up at the top of Google searches thanks to investments in SEO.
David goes to the International LCT Show in Las Vegas every year, missing it only twice since 1994. He attended his first LCT Leadership Summit in September 2011 in Miami Beach, and says he enjoyed how exclusive and personal it was.
“In the insurance business, I was selling to people who couldn’t afford to buy insurance because it was the law,” he says. “They’d give me postdated checks that would bounce, and it was no fun. Now we sell a service to the affluent or people looking to splurge. No one’s forced to rent a limo.”
Turbulent Times Without Town Car
David calls the retirement of the Lincoln Town Car a “disaster” and stocked up on 2011 models to buy some time to make a replacement decision. He once sent a top corporate client an £550 to take him from Cardiff to London as a nice gesture, which was well received…for about the first 20 minutes. “He said to please send a Town Car next time because it’s more comfortable,” David recalls. “Same with the Bentley Flying Spur. It’s an amazing car but the ride is a lot stiffer than a Town Car’s.”