Luxury Coach & Transportation

January 2019

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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2018 LCT-NL A SHOW EAST SESSIONS: MANAGEMENT How To React To Change Operators Steve Qua and Doug Schwartz led a roundtable on how industry members can stay ahead of disruption. By Lexi Tucker, LCT associate editor ILLUSTRATION: GETTYIMAGES.COM/ERHUI1979 A TLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Change is happening faster than ever in a world where everyone can get anything they want with the tap of a smartphone screen. Depending on the size of the business you run and the kind of person you are, properly planning for your company's future will be the key to surviving the "TNC-pocalypse." Operators Steve Qua of Company Car & Limousine in Cleveland, Ohio and Doug Schwartz of Executive Ground Transportation in Bellmore, N.Y. led a roundtable session at LCT East on Nov. 5 called "Mapping Out Your Business Plan To Maximize Future Success" that focused on how operators can prepare for coming tech- nological and financial interruptions. Matching Methods To Managers While Qua and Schwartz run busi- nesses similar in size, they differ in how they operate. Qua has 29 vehicles and 49 employees, while Schwartz has 27 vehicles and 52 employees. "I operate my business the way I operate my life — I fly by the seat of my pants," Schwartz said. "Steve plans, forecasts, draws charts, and has projections. He may be able to tell you something about the future, but then again, he may not. At the end of the day, I think both businesses get to the same place, just in a different way. I think this session is more about being prepared about things we can do to help our- selves be ready when change happens." Qua said he likes details he can identify and creates a business plan at the start of every year. "We tie those forecasts to revenue items, vehicle purchases, etc. so when big change lands on our doorstep, we'll know what happens to our fixed, semi-fixed, and variable expenses." For example, Qua acquired a sub- stantial 30+-year-old company this year in Cleveland whose owner died. "When it came apart, I was the only one standing there with a check in my hand. We were able to go back in, take a look, and say, 'We're going to add this much revenue to our top line based on our experience levels. What is the distribution of trips, revenue, and expense going to be? And what will happen to our variable expenses based on that change?'" Qua has a spreadsheet that, when you change a line item, distributes it through the rest of it. If you are inter- ested in receiving a copy, email him with the subject line "spreadsheet" at "It's going to be based on our percentages and not yours, but it'll give you an idea of what we did." Schwartz also did an acquisition similar to Qua's. "I didn't make any forecasts, charts, or studies. I looked at the gentleman's gross revenue, how much he wanted from the business, and how I could fold it into my operation. I'm a sole proprietor, so I have control of those things and I don't have to answer to anybody. We went ahead with it, and four years later, we're doing well." 1 6 WWW.LCTMAG.COM LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION JANUARY 2019 Doug Schwartz and Steve Qua

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