Luxury Coach & Transportation

September 2018

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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Page 23 of 83

MOTORCOACHES: OPERATOR PROFILE Numbers Driven: How To Do Operations The Right Way The last decade has proven operator H.A. Thompson a visionary for staying ahead of industry trends on vehicles, service, and profits. By Martin Romjue, LCT editor C HARLOTTE, N.C. — In 2008, the stretch limousine and sedan defined luxury transportation. No one knew of Uber, and not one limo client used an app. Operators offered minibuses and vans, but those vehicles were a small part of an other- wise black limo fleet. at same year, just before the indus- try tumbled into the Great Recession, North Carolina operator H.A. omp- son bought his first used Van Hool mo- torcoach. at move was uncommon in the luxury limousine industry. One short decade later, ompson's companies, Rose Chauffeured Trans- portation and Rose Charters of Char- lotte, run 23 motorcoaches as their primary profit engines. As the nearby timeline shows, you couldn't find a better way to sum up the course of the luxury transportation industry. e company is on track for $10.2 million in revenue this year with 75 employed drivers, 25 office staff, and 28 independent drivers who collectively support and deploy the 23 coaches plus 13 minibuses, four vans, and 28 inde- pendently operated sedans and SUVs. Rose's coach and minibus revenue is up while sedans and SUVs are down, re- flecting the deep shifts and disruptions in the ground transportation sector. A Long-Term Motorcoach Vision Most telling is the average profit mar- gin at Rose's motorcoach and minibus division, most recently at 18% before depreciation. e Rose team sees motor- coaches as the future of the limousine industry, combining high-end luxury- touch service with the economics of group transportation. Rose Chauffeured Transportation and Rose Charters oper- ate as separate divisions, with distinct employee teams and P&Ls. e large coaches bear much lower depreciation, retain longer lifecycles and mileage ranges, and command higher profit mar- gins given the economies of scale with more seats per bus. Of the 23 motorcoaches, Rose bought three new and 20 used and refurbished. It varies its minibus fleet, from basic, cloth-seated forward-facing shuttles to luxurious high-end Grech Motors and Executive Coach Builders minicoaches. Rose believes in match- ing the right vehicle with the right cli- ent or contract, recognizing that some clients simply want a clean, functional shuttle going from point A to point B. For its motorcoaches, Rose dis- penses with the term bus driver, and opts instead for bus captain, reflecting its high-touch limousine roots. Bus captains wear short-sleeved shirts with striped epaulets similar to those of airline pilots, making them look profes- sional and comfortable. e company employs a separate three-person motorcoach/minibus reservations team that handles contract services. Its biggest clients are tours for school age kids, with 60+ motorcoach runs per year being dispatched for field trips to Washington, D.C. Detailed P&L Drives Company Priorities & Decisions In addition to embracing motor- 2 2 WWW.LCTMAG.COM LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION SEPTEMBER 2018

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