Luxury Coach & Transportation

August 2019

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION AUGUST 2019 13 SCALING FOR SUCCESS Since operator Harry Dhillon was featured on the August 2018 issue cover of LCT, he's kept improving his operations at Ecko Worldwide Transportation in San Jose, which has won the LCT Operator of the Year Award twice since 2015 and two LCT People's Choice Awards. "We're focusing more on quality," says Dhillon, who cast the winning bid on a new Ford Expedition at the LCT East auction in November 2017. "The more consistent you are, the better value you have. You can raise rates to match the value and become more of a boutique operation." Outsourced Advantages: Dhillon has outsourced key functions such as dispatch and reservations, and only has a fleet manager and a chauffeur manager in the office. He and the two managers handle customer service calls. His 24 full-time chauffeurs and six part-time chauffeurs are all employees. The move caused his office overhead to fall to $10,000 per month compared to $33,000 per month last year. Dhillon does not have an accounting department, an affiliate manager, or a sales team. He strategically keeps his fleet at 30 vehicles. "You need to have the right balance and right people around you." Overall, his $5 million revenue company grosses a 30% EBITDA profit margin, with a net profit of 20%, Dhillon says. "I started seeing numbers differently," he says. "Our profitability has gone up by not growing and I cut down expenses. When I had to spend more time out of my personal life to make a few hundred dollars more per day, I asked why and for what?" All-Around Luxury Fleet: For his fleet, Dhillon runs a variety of luxury vehicles to appeal to various client segments. His makes and models include three Cadillac Escalades, a Ford Expedition, two Lincoln Navigators, three Lincoln-Continentals, two BMW 7 Series, two Mercedes-Benz S Class sedans, five Lincoln MKTs, two Cadillac CT6 sedans, and an all Grech Motors fleet of three Sprinter vans and six minibuses ranging from 20-50 passengers. Ecko does about $1.5 million annually in farm-out business worldwide. About 10% of his client volume consists of farm-ins. "I've gotten the best value from Ford and Lincoln, and was among the first to have the new Navigator in the market," Dhillon says. "Often clients prefer SUVs because of the Navigator. It's unique with a fresh design and good inside layout." Ecko gets more requests for SUVs than sedans, and the SUVs on average can command higher rate per trip. Since 2015, Dhillon has bought four local companies to expand his client reach, but he does not want to grow too fast. "You cannot be an absentee owner and think your quality and brand can be sustained," he says. "I'd rather have it at a higher level and manage it by running with more technology and using more manpower in India." Running a luxury transportation service in the heart of Silicon Valley and the regional home of Uber and Lyft gives Dhillon a special perspective on how to succeed in the home base for transportation network companies (TNCs). You should offer a level of service clients must have and are willing to pay for, he says. "It's not common among them to be consistent. We don't run our company in a rat race." — Martin@LCTmag.com 2019 LINCOLN NAVIGATOR L Ford/Lincoln Limousine & Livery Vehicles (www.fleet.ford.com/showroom/limo-livery-and- funeral/) still has 2019 MY Navigators available for luxury ground transportation operators. Here are some key features and details: Navigator L — Select (200A) Any Navigator L with a Livery FIN qualifies for livery Available 4x2 and 4x4 3.5L V6 engine Available Technology Package (66T) • Active park assist (auto park) • Adaptive cruise control (ACC) with stop- and-go • Advanced heads-up display (AHUD) • Auto high beams • Lane keeping system Driver alert system Lane keeping system Lane keeping alert Pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection Active breaking Autonomous emergency breaking (AEB) Distance alert/distance indication (DA/DI) Forward collision warning (FCW) Fuel tank: 27 gallons Power illuminated running boards – painted ebony Available panoramic vista roof with power sunshade Available second row heated 40/20/20 split- bench with power fold Drive Modes • Personal profiles can be set up to the Key Fob to customize the vehicle for driving comfort. • Head-up display – brighter than any other display in its class. • Available tiered cargo management system with shelf mode. Driver-Assist Technology 360-degree camera with front/rear camera wash Warranty Informaton 4/150 PremiumCare See your dealer for current incentives Claims • The 2019 Lincoln Navigator L has best-In- class 1st row hip / shoulder room, 2nd row hip / shoulder room • The 2019 Lincoln Navigator L has best-In- class 3rd row shoulder room • The 2019 Lincoln Navigator L has unsurpassed 2nd row head room The Navigator plays right into Harry Dhillon's more profitable customer demand for SUVs.

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