Luxury Coach & Transportation

April 2015

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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34 LIMOUSINE, CHARTER & TOUR APRIL 2015 WWW.LCTMAG.COM MANAGEMENT & LEADERSHIP Three 50 Largest Fleets operators discuss how to reach the top. By Tom Halligan, LCT East Coast editor E ach August, LCT Magazine publishes the "50 Largest Fleets," a comprehensive roundup of the industry's biggest companies with 2014 feet sizes ranging from 70 to 1,700 vehicles. That's quite a spread. However, considering the overall median in- dustry feet size is 10 vehicles, cracking the Top 50 list is quite an achievement. So what does it take to get to the upper echelon in the indus- try? How did they do it? Most importantly, what do the top opera- tors focus on year after year to run a large operation — and keep growing? In this third installment of a con- tinuing series focused on how to grow your business, three highly successful and longtime Top 50 operators in the middle of the pack (96-171 vehicles) share advice, strategies and practical tips on how to grow operations into the top tier. Moving People A 30-year industry vet- eran, Reliable Limousine and Bus Service Presi- dent Paul Rodberg re- calls when he launched his company in 1983. "I bought the biggest ad in the phone book to grow the business. Well, that doesn't work anymore," he says. "But what I learned early on is that by focusing on meeting cus- tomers' expectations, being honest and acknowledging mistakes, my business grew by word-of-mouth." Rodberg is well aware that his prin- ciples are more important today than ever because reviews on consumer websites, social media and blogs have upped the ante to make every ride a Note To Readers: This is the third part of a series focusing on how small, midsize and large operators can grow their businesses. The series examines making the jump from small- to mid-size fleet operations, from mid-size to large, and large to top-tier. positive experience. "Negative reviews nowadays go viral and spread faster than a positive re- view because somebody wasn't happy about something and alerts 10 friends," he explains. Rodberg, like other successful opera- tors interviewed for this article, reiter- ates that creating and exceeding cus- tomer expectations should be a given. What sets them apart and puts them on the growth curve early on is the entre- preneurial drive to look for new mar- kets and examine operations, adapt to change, and seize new opportunities. For example, Rodberg's expansion over the years started early when he provided vehicles for funerals and then jumped into groups and events. "I'm in the people moving business. We do lots of group meetings and events, and today we work with 46 funeral homes. He started with one hearse in 1988 and LCT RANKING: 32 RELIABLE LIMOUSINE AND BUS SERVICE, SILVER SPRING, MD. FLEET SIZE: 96 STRETCH LIMOS (SEDANS & SUVS): 16 SEDANS/MKTS: 25 SUVS: 9 VANS/SPRINTERS: 9 LIMO BUSES: 2 SHUTTLE MINI-BUSES: 24 MOTORCOACHES: 2 OTHER (FUNERAL, VINTAGE, ETC): 9 , p t h M A C E Paul Rodberg

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