Luxury Coach & Transportation

June /July 2019

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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26 LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION JUNE / JULY 2019 WWW.LCTMAG.COM PEOPLE Operators Share Their Struggles, Suggestions e annual LCT Fact Book oers a diverse mix of operators a place to sound o on the biggest challenges and obstacles of the past year, and how they approach them. is year, a strong economy means operators have trouble hiring enough chauf- feurs and drivers while trying to boost the appeal of transportation work to outsiders. Other top-of-mind topics include how to make the public more aware of your value proposition and the various services you provide; not spending so much time on social media talking about others; and positioning your company to succeed in unique regional markets. No matter the eet size, luxury transportation service owners and managers never stop being problem solvers. By Lexi Tucker, LCT senior editor Chris Peifer, president SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY LIMOUSINE, INC. NORTHUMBERLAND, PA Covering an area with a large footprint and low population carries many chal- lenges, but after 24 years in business we have learned many lessons and continue to change to meet the demands of our customers. Over the last few years, at- tracting qualied talent has been our biggest issue. In our situation, I've always felt when a potential candidate stops by for an interview and sees a cramped ofce environment and a very limited driver area, it has been detrimental to the hiring process. Last fall we made the commitment to invest in a new ofce and garage to provide a larger work place for our employees and hopefully pres- ent a better image for new talent and clients. We completed the garage last fall and are scheduled to move into the new ofce in June 2019. In short, our goal this year is branding ourselves as the best ground transportation company in our area with attention to professionalism, reliability, and safety. Three years ago, we started a taxi company and with the expansion of the ofce it will also help us align for the addi- tion of motorcoaches. I feel the investments we made to the company over the last year will show a huge commitment to our clients, afliates, and employees that we are here to stay and are the best choice for ground transportation in North Central Pennsylvania. Jess Sandhu, co-owner and VP of operations A&A LIMOUSINE & BUS SERVICE SEATTLE, WASH. Driver Shortage. This topic is no surprise to any operator. We all could use a few extra drivers. You don't have to look far to nd this problem. Across the country, transit agencies are working over- time to recruit more bus driv- ers. With a great economy and low unemployment rate, this is bound to happen. We in the limousine indus- try have more hoops to jump. We are required to hire chauffeurs who have a clean driving record, and need them to submit to a pre-employment drug test, be up for random drug testing, and also need to be ngerprinted which can take about two weeks to pro- cess for us. We prefer to maintain our current drivers. We try to pair them with jobs they are comfortable with. Many years ago I had an employee who hated wine tours or limo runs that involve drinking. I never tried to nd out why, and he quit one day after a winery tour. I found out he has been sober for seven years and cannot stand people drinking. I learned from that and decided to keep a more personal relationship with my employees afterward. A female chauffeur might not want to do a bachelor party, or is afraid to return home late after a run. We try to understand their fears and accommodate them to the right assignments. It is more cost effective to main- tain our current employees than to hire and train new ones. We have also found due to expensive housing in the metro area, our employees are living further away. We have found word of mouth has been a great way to hire new chauffeurs. We try to promote them by helping them get a CDL for advancement opportunity within the company. We have to be more creative in hiring new employees. Retirees are still a good option, but they only want to work two to three days a week. I've given so much thought to our industry and it reminds me of growing up in the middle of Amish country Ohio. It's a large but small community—large by numbers, but small by relationship status as most people know everyone. Nina Parson

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