More than three dozen guests joined the Illinois Limousine & Bus Association’s (ILLBA’s) Coffee With ILLBA meeting on December 15, the last of the calendar year. This month’s theme—Navigating the Cash Crunch—was the next in a series of educational sessions that have included topics such as insurance and networking during COVID. Guest speakers for this installment included Kathy Kahne of Windy City Limousine and Sarah Mercer of the National Limousine Association.
Following opening remarks from ILLBA’s newly elected President Arthur Rento of Ponterelli Companies, Vice President Tracy Raimer (former president) of Windy City Limousine & Bus, and Executive Director/Secretary/Treasurer Paula DeBiasi of Chicago Coachworks, Kahne offered her tips to continue to cut expenses and keep an eagle eye on cash flow, which includes a weekly check of P&Ls and frequently renegotiating terms with vendors and creditors. Drawing from her own experiences over the past nine months, Kahne shared her trials and tribulations from having to lay off staff back in March to the mostly positive interactions she’s had with her financial institutions and other lenders—as well as the not-so-positive. While she’s overall optimistic that corporate travel is going to return due to the pent-up urge for business travelers to get back out on the road, she’s retooling her business to run lean and mean even when times are better. Among the options she is imminently implementing is outsourcing and sharing resources with other operations, whether it’s dispatching, reservations, chauffeurs, or even accounting. It’s a trend that she feels will save many of her industry peers who are also searching for novel places to squeeze out some cash.
Keeping with the theme of saving money, Sarah Mercer of the NLA spoke about the national association’s Affinity Program, a legacy benefit that offers members discounts on products and services that they need to run their businesses. The range of discount partners is quite broad—from everyday needs such as tires, software, and mobile services, to chauffeur training and background checking, which she says can easily outweigh the cost of NLA membership. The NLA also recently announced that it will offer a health insurance plan to members in 2021, which has the potential to be a game-changer for many companies shouldering this costly line item expense.
Earlier in the month, the ILLBA Board of Directors also selected officers to serve for the 2020-2021 term.
President: Arthur Rento of Pontarelli Companies
Vice President: Tracy Raimer of Windy City Limousine & Bus
Secretary: Paula DeBiasi of Chicago CoachWorks
Treasurer: Brian Sheely of Epic Limo
The next ILLBA Zoom meeting is scheduled for January 12, 2021.
Visit illinoislimousineassociation.com for more information.