- Category: Industry News
The Illinois Limousine and Bus Association (ILLBA) held their year-end Coffee With ILLBA educational session on Tuesday, December 19. Sponsored this month by Celeron Commerce, the mid-morning webinar welcomed operators from across the country. Guest speaker Becky Laramee of All Points Limousine (aka “Becky from Boston”) was on call for a presentation called Let’s Talk Money.
To kick things off, ILLBA President Tracy Raimer of Windy City Limousine & Bus welcomed the online attendees, and introduced Will Foley, a senior account manager with Celero Commerce. A recent member of ILLBA, Foley spoke about Celero’s various services as a large credit card processor.
Before introducing the ILLBA Board of Directors, Raimer discussed the upcoming ILLBA Holiday Party, being held January 9 at Carlucci’s in Rosemont, Ill. On hand at the event will be a photographer who will take complimentary head shots of the operators in attendance. ILLBA Executive Director and Secretary Paula DiBiasi of Chicago Coachworks said that the free photos offer a great opportunity to update business cards in time for upcoming trade shows.
Next came Laramee’s Let’s Talk Money presentation, which offered ways to minimize taxes while creating generational wealth. Laramee, in addition to running a transportation company, is also a CPA. She began by sharing several helpful best business practices, including performing monthly and annual reviews, creating the appropriate business entity, filing taxes on time, and building relationships with peers and business/financial advisors. Laramee emphasized the significance of planning for the future, noting the importance of having a will and power of attorney in place, as well as having “tough” conversations with your parents about their health and what happens if they should die suddenly.
A detailed discussion about tax strategies followed, including how operators can put their children to “work” in order to put money in a lower tax bracket.
“There are so many things you can do to change your tax destiny and keep the money you earned,” says Laramee.
She then fielded questions from attendees, which included topics such as ordinary income vs. capital gains; Rule 179 deductions; CERTS, PPP, and ERTC filings, and rental properties and passive income. Laramee concluded by sharing a bit about her success as an Amazon DSP.
David Eckstein from Valeria Global was then invited to speak a bit about the Limo Patriot Ride, which is scheduled for March 7 in Las Vegas (the day after the 2024 CD/NLA Vegas Show). Supporting the Semper Fi Fund, this relaxing motorcycle (and bus) ride takes participants through the beautiful Valley of Fire just outside of Vegas.
The webinar concluded with some news about Chicagoland airports, especially the efforts being made to eliminate ride hustlers at the baggage claims.
Visit illba.org for more information.
- Category: Industry News
On Tuesday, December 12, The Colorado Limousine Association (CLA) held their annual holiday party at Cinzentti's in Denver. Attracting 60 members and guests, CLA President Erica Bugbee of ExecuStar World Class Transportation said the event was a huge success and the association even added their 75th member the same day.
“We loved celebrating our growth and accomplishments this year while enjoying each other’s company,” says Bugbee.
At the party, the CLA Board and committee members were recognized for their time and effort throughout the year. Bugbee and CLA members also discussed the significant growth in terms of membership, structure, and regularity they’ve experienced in 2023.
During the event, the CLA Board surprised five companies with recognition and plaques for their hard work and support. Those acknowledged included:
- Eight Black: For their support of membership growth
- Centennial Worldwide Chauffeured Services: For their continued dedication and support of the PUC/Legislative Committee
- Boulder Select Limo: For their activity and support of the CLA in terms of membership, sponsorship, and ideas
- Empire Luxury Transportation: For the exceptional amount of new membership brought in by the owner, Jemil Bogale
- Chauffeur Driven: For continued support, ideas, marketing, and help to the CLA
The CLA held their largest holiday raffle to date, which brought in several thousand dollars to the association. Prizes included a 2024 CD/NLA Las Vegas Show Pass, hundreds of dollars of gift cards to local restaurants, electronics, Mercedes-Benz swag, CLA-branded merchandise, and various coffee/tea/food gift sets. John Hafer of A Custom Coach was the winner of the CD/NLA Show Pass.
To close out the evening, the CLA Board also surprised members with printed and mounted membership certificates for 2023 and CLA logo coffee mugs.
The next two CLA meetings are on January 16 and February 20. Both are at 9:00 am at the Tower Tap and Grill in Denver.
Visit cololimo.org for more information.
- Category: Industry News
Inflation, continuing a healthy stream of revenue, and the highest-in-a-generation interest rates are still the top concerns for small business owners, according to the latest Small Business Index (SBI). The quarterly report is conducted by MetLife and the US Chamber of Commerce.
Of the challenges cited, inflation remains the biggest impediment for all quarters in 2022 and 2023, although the SBI notes that it may be holding steady as it hasn’t increased. However, the survey was conducted in October 2023, right before gas prices began falling steadily through today (according to AAA, regular unleaded has fallen more than 50 cents per gallon during that time). Year-over-year inflation rates have also fallen to 3.1 percent as of November 2023, although we don’t need to tell you that many prices remain stubbornly high.
Adding to this is the decrease in small business optimism. Just 25 percent of the small businesses surveyed said that the overall US economy is healthy, while only 30 percent said their economy locally is looking good. This is driven primarily due to the continued lack of qualified staff and keeping up with employee-related costs like salaries and benefits. This could be a challenge for 2024 as the US enters an election year and the Biden administration looks to capitalize on economic improvements since 2021.
While the latest SBI individually doesn’t appear to be great news, not all is bad when compared to the past two years in total. In fact, like the inflation concerns, challenges from years past such as supply chain limitations have been dropping. Additionally, most small businesses rate the overall health of their own company as “somewhat good” and have since Q1 2021 (the last time the majority of businesses said it was “very good” was in Q4 2019). More than 90 percent plan to invest more or at least the same as they did last year in their business, while 40 percent plan to add more staff in the coming year.