Wednesday, July 15, 2020

You asked for it and we listened. In this column, we ask operators of all sizes and from all walks of the industry a question about their business and report their answers so you can assess how your own company compares to your peers. If you would like to participate, please email Rob Smentek at rob@chauffeurdriven.com for next issue’s question.

TOPIC: Have you had any surprise successes with DIY projects for you or your business? Moreover, perhaps more importantly, were there any spectacular—or hilarious—failures?


Benchmark and Best PracticesAs I’m not busy with clients, I’ve spent a lot of my time in making short films about my fleet, my company, and other short movies to share with my clients, peers, and friends. I also did a short video for one of my affiliates in Seattle. Our YouTube channel can be seen here. Also, I made an effort to be in close touch with some of my affiliates to work out how we can better help each other. I really believe that now is the time to build relationships more than ever.
Sebastian Dragan-Dima, President and Founder
LimoAngel in Chicago, Ill.


Benchmark and Best Practices DIY has always been a passion of mine both at home and work. If I have the time and confidence to get a job done myself, you bet I'm going to take a stab at it. With how slow business has been lately, I've been taking up larger tasks than usual. Just this week, we had a front air conditioning failure in one of our Mercedez-Benz Sprinters. After about an hour of research, a couple hundred dollars in parts and tools, and some elbow grease, we got the job done. Let me tell you, it is way more fulfilling to fix something yourself for a fraction of what you would have paid a shop/dealership to do. When I started that engine and felt that cold AC, I gave a celebratory fist pump. I've even taken up bigger DIY projects at home. I'm about two weeks into a complete remodel of my boat, but with twin girls due in mid-July, all that will come to a screeching halt.
Michael Guertin, General Manager/Affiliate Director
Arizona Limousines in Phoenix, Ariz.


Benchmark and Best Practices I’ve always loved DIY projects. In the past few months, I’ve had the time to do many things, some of them with no success—well, actually, I can say many of them. However, pallet plaques are my best project. This cute little picture frame is so simple, so elegant, but so rustic. Made from upcycled wood pallets, this frame has a look that is very popular right now. I’ve been able to sell as many of these as I can make. I learned how to make these homemade frames in a tutorial. Ideal for a gift idea, I highly recommend making these cute handmade picture frames to have on hand for holiday sales.
Agustin Hernandez, Owner
Blackcar Offers Limo Services in Mexico City, Mexico


Benchmark and Best PracticesThe past few months have been an adventure for me. I am heavily reliant on my team—both personally and professionally—to do what they do best, so that I can do what I do best. Once we went into quarantine, I no longer had a housekeeper or laundry service. I did OK with keeping the house picked up, until we got to the end of May. The dust was really starting to accumulate, the toilets actually needed to be cleaned (not just a quickie, but a genuine clean), and I had to find the vacuum cleaner. Also around the end of May, I ran out of my favorite, comfy T-shirts, so I did a load of laundry that wasn’t towels. I’ve survived through the worst of these situations. We’re back in order having the house cleaned regularly and having clean clothes. Coming home to a clean home is a source of peace and comfort for me.

I love to cook, and actually have my culinary degree. Being in the kitchen daily helped me keep my sanity. It’s always been therapy for me. I tried some new dishes, including Asian, Indian, and South American cuisines. We’ve also made a ton of different pizzas: thin, cracker crust; thick, Chicago-style crust; and even traditional regular pizza crust. We went mild to wild with the toppings. While some dishes I wouldn’t make again, there were no real disasters in the kitchen.

Ultimately, the worst recent failure is that my personal car that I drive regularly is a total mess. It has empty water bottles, stuff that just ended up in there, and it hasn’t been washed unless it rains. It’s been in for maintenance, but I swear I’m ready to take a power washer to the inside and out.
Tracy Salinger, President and CEO
Unique Limousine in Harrisburg, Pa.


Benchmark and Best Practices We have taken on a number of projects. Currently, we are building a custom 1967 Lincoln Continental convertible that was similar to a car my dad owned. Also, we are building out an RV Sprinter from one of our old Sprinters. Both projects are being done by our own team, and it’s been a blast.
David Uziel, CEO/Chairman
UrbanBCN Worldwide in San Francisco, Calif.


We’ve loved hearing your answers to our benchmarking questions—but we always welcome suggestions for future topics, too!

Send an email to rob@chauffeurdriven.com you just might see your query answered in our next E-News.

[06.30.20]

The Minority Limousine Operators of America (MLOA) continued their weekly meeting series on Wednesday, June 24, with a Zoom conference for their membership and guests. More than 25 operators took part, including CD Editor Rob Smentek.

Alternative Claims Management

MLOA President Darrell Anderson of A-National Limousine kicked off the meeting by welcoming new members Winston Cooper of Division One Consultant Services and Rodney Clark of Ace High Executive Transportation. Guest speaker Sean DeAvila of Alternative Claims Management (ACM) then took the reins of the video conference for a presentation called Capturing Revenue During a Pandemic. He and his colleagues Mike Towers and Tim Green shared how ACM can provide operators with money when fleet vehicles are out of service due to no fault circumstances. DeAvila shared that ACM’s coverage not only applies to loss of revenue due to accidents where the chauffeur is not at fault, but also sanitation fees, which is timely during the current COVID crisis.

MLOA

After the ACM presentation, the MLOA Board discussed the possibility of an association summit to be held in Atlanta in early October. Members were enthusiastic about the idea, with several confirming their involvement on the spot. However, the Board made it clear that safety is paramount, and they will only move forward if it is safe to travel.

Before the meeting was adjourned, the membership committee wanted to make everyone aware that 2020 MLOA membership is only $100 until June 30, which includes full access to all MLOA resources and regular conference calls.

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 8 at 1 PM ET, and will cover the new rules regarding PPP forgiveness with guest Matt Daus of Windels Marx.

Visit mlooa.org for more information. 

[06.29.20]

In a Facebook post, My Limo CEO Howard Gogel announced that Mike Rose has joined the team as general manager of My Limo, Gogel Auto Rentals, and Gogel Auto Sales. The companies are based in North Jersey.

My Limo and Gogel Auto Rentals GM of My Limo Mike Rose

Rose has extensive experience in the industry. He grew up within the ranks of transportation companies during his tenure at auto rental and chauffeured transportation firms. In 2005, he joined Flyte Tyme Worldwide Transportation in Mahwah, N.J., where he served as fleet manager, general manager, and vice president leading up to the company’s acquisition by Addison Lee in December 2016.

Post-acquisition, Rose was named COO for Addison Lee North America with responsibilities of all U.S. offices including New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Connecticut, Los Angeles, Boston, and San Francisco. In 2019, he joined EmpireCLS Worldwide as senior vice president of strategic planning, a position he held until the pandemic.

My Limo and Gogel Auto Rentals

Prior to the transportation industry, Rose served in various management capacities while with Garden State Limousine & Rent-A-Car, eventually becoming president of the Car Rental Division and overseeing a fleet of over 450 daily and long-term rentals. He also was a communications manager for the Township of Wyckoff where he oversaw all aspects of the regional emergency dispatch operations including recruitment, hiring, training, budgeting, purchasing, and quality control.

During his free time, Rose serves as fire chief, Office of Emergency Management coordinator, and a member of the Board of Education in his hometown.

“We are excited to have a consummate professional and proven experienced industry leader as part of our team,” Gogel said in the post. “With his experience, we expect a great response from our customers, vendors, and staff. We are confident that Mike will be an asset to our team. We look forward to taking our service to the next level with his knowledge, help, and experience. My Limo will survive and thrive present and post pandemic with such a wonderful addition and what we see as a perfect fit to our business model. We wish Mike all of the luck in the world with us in his new home.”

Visit mylimo.com for more information. 

[06.29.20]