You have recently opened a limousine hire service targeted towards tourists and others who are looking to enjoy a luxurious chauffer driven ride on a special occasion. Your biggest problem is that business spikes at certain times during the year (college graduations, wedding seasons, etc) and experiences a lull the rest of the year.This strategy will help you stabilize your business all year round and keep the cash coming in even during times of traditional slowdown.Who is your customer?Be it a college graduation, prom night, wedding day, or tourist’s day out, your customer is typically a luxury seeker. He or she prefers to drive around in style, but can only afford to do so on special occasions. To work around this, you need to focus on customers who can afford limousine rentals on an everyday basis. Hence your target profile should be large corporate companies who have their head offices located in the vicinity of your service. This way you would be able to ensure business all year round by becoming the preferred vendor for the company’s board of directors and other staff entitled to luxury cars.What is the best thing you can do for that customer?Corporate offices expect the very best in terms of service from their vendors and are willing to pay a little extra to get it. Offer dedicated cars and chauffeurs to each corporate that signs an annual contract. Offer value added benefits to retain such customers by guaranteeing them additional cars within a one hour notice period and so on.How are you going to do it?Ensure you have a sufficiently large fleet of new limousines as well as professional chauffeurs. If required, you could enter a sub-contract with other limousine hire services located around you to make up for excess demand. Create a database of all the offices within a predetermined radius of your rental office.Invite them, via email, to join your Privilege Club of customers who are entitled to special benefits when they signed up for half-yearly or annual contracts. Incentivize such deals not only with discounted pricing but more through value added services such as dedicated cars and chauffeurs.Don’t forget to say thank youEvery new member of the Privilege Club gets a thank you email and a gift hamper. Also include a link to a survey with the following suggested questions and others of your own.What is your company’s daily requirement of luxury cars?Is this a fixed or flexible requirement? Are there any times of the year when the can foretell a spike in requirement? What are the key factors that decide their choice of a car vendor – service, pricing, availability, newness of fleet, etc?When to communicate with your membersIn order to maintain ties, send out email newsletters on monthly or quarterly basis. Use the newsletter to inform them of any special offers for employees and one time hires as well as of upgrades to your fleet or service.Of course you must also contact them one month prior to the expiry of their contract urging them to renew it. If you do not hear from them, send a follow up email one and two weeks after your initial mail.How do you measure success?Conduct quarterly surveys of your existing customer database to judge their level of satisfaction across various service and pricing parameters.Build Build Build. Measure new as well as lapsed corporate partners on a monthly basis and compare numbers and turnover with like periods across the past few years. The more people that sign up for annual Privilege Club memberships, the more stable your business will become!
Your vehicle may be of your most important investments. Choosing the right automotive shop for repairs and maintenance is crucial to keeping your vehicle running at its peak performance. One shop may not be appropriate for every type of automobile. Foreign and luxury vehicles may require specialized services and parts that economical models do not.Vehicle owners tend to prefer auto shops that offer competitive pricing and quality workmanship. Finding a shop that meets both criteria can be difficult. It is best to research your choices before you actually need car service so that you can fully explore all of your options.Listed below are some tips you can follow to find the best automotive shop for you.Ask Friends:Listen to recommendations from friends, family, and co-workers. These people can provide firsthand details of their experiences with various shops. Be sure to ask friends who drive vehicles that are similar makes and models to your automobile.Check Complaints:Look on the Internet to see any negative comments that people have posted about local shops. Contact the Better Business Bureau and other consumer organizations to find out what kind of complaints, if any, have been submitted against the shop you are considering.Call The Shop:Simply asking a few questions can help you decide whether or not you should visit the shop. Inquire about the mechanics’ experience with your type of vehicle and find out if they specialize in certain kinds of repairs. Ask how long they have been in business and what kind of licensing they have.Visit The Shop:As you pull into the shop, check out the other vehicles in the parking lot and those being serviced. Take notice if the vehicles are of the same value as yours. Determine whether the equipment looks modern and well cared for. Check to see that the facility is clean and well maintained.Remember That Bigger is Not Always Better: A fancy building and a large staff may look impressive, but many times keeping such a large overhead results in higher prices. Many of these high-end establishments must charge more for their services in order to pay their staff and maintain their building. Don’t be fooled by the modest garages that you see around town. Many times, these establishments have some of the most highly trained mechanics and offer competitive prices.Ask The Right Questions:Be sure to inquire about any warranties that the shop may offer on parts and labor. Find out what kind of replacement parts they use. Many vehicle manufacturers suggest that you only use OEM parts. Finally, ask about theft and fire insurance while your vehicle is on the property.Get Several Estimates:Do not be afraid to call and visit a few shops in your area. Compare prices and services to decide which shop will suit you best. Remember that the lowest price does not always mean you are getting a good deal. Whether you drive a luxury vehicle or a less expensive model, you want to make sure that all repairs and maintenance is done correctly. Shoddy work can damage your vehicle and cause more expensive repairs in the future.Just like finding the perfect doctor, finding an automotive shop is a very personal decision. Follow your instincts and you will find a shop that will serve you well.
Not long ago, someone asked me how I felt about the future of the mobile car wash industry. What I thought were some of the challenges in the future. Indeed, I see many, and having run such a company for nearly 30 years before retirement, there are many problems I see which will impact the small business people who run these types of businesses. One of the biggest concerns is the crackdown with the EPA and the local storm water ordinances.You see, the environmental regulators really don’t understand the business model, and they find mobile car washing and auto detailing to be big polluters of storm water. The reality is that a little bit of soap is good for the environment and most of these mobile operators only use between 25 gallons per car anyway. Further, in the future hybrid and electrical vehicles don’t get as dirty, and the dirt does not stick to them as much because the petroleum distillates and exhaust which is very sticky will not be a problem in the future.What I’m saying is the dirt that is on the car probably blew onto the car from the dust on the ground. That dust is already in the environment isn’t it? You see, when it rains all that dust which is not on the car, but is on the ground washes into the storm drain anyway. Also, a little the soap is good for the environment as it breaks down things that should be in the environment but also gets the storm drain. Things such as grease and oil which are on the parking lots, which leak from the engines of cars are also washed into the storm drains, which is a nuisance 100-times worse for the environment.Mobile car washers are not really big polluters, but in the environmental regulatory compliance arena, they are out in the open, and they appear to be. The environmental regulators for storm water should be much more concerned with the fertilizers and nitrates which runoff from the sprinkler systems in the center medians owned by the city itself. The other thing that environmental storm water compliance people don’t understand is that mobile car washers and auto detailers generally clean the outside of the car, not the undercarriages, as they do at the car wash.The increased regulation on these types of small businesses is liable to take many of these companies out of the marketplace, and put them out of business. It does cost money to buy the equipment to block off storm drains, vacuum up the water, and then take that wash-water to the sewer treatment plant for treating. It also takes time to do that, often taking more time to block out the storm drains and vacuum up the water that does actually wash the car.Because of this mobile car wash operators and auto detailers will have to double the price. If the price is doubled in this current economy, there will be most likely 80% fewer people buying the service. And therefore the mobile operator will have to drive to more locations, polluting the air, or go out of business. Sometimes the rules become too stringent, and they are nonsensical. Indeed, I care about the environment just as much as the next person but being very close to the mobile cleaning industry I also understand it more.If the storm water regulators and the EPA really cared about the environment, they would prevent stores from selling toxic soaps that people might use in their driveway to wash their own cars. Mobile auto detailers and mobile car washes use professional grade products, most of which will not hurt the environment. The only person who wins in this over regulation of the small businesses will be the people who own all the car wash, and in fact they are lobbying hard to get the mobile operators shut down. Indeed I hope you will please consider this.