Luxury Coach & Transportation

January 2017

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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Page 36 of 93

LIMOUSINE, CHARTER & TOUR JANUARY 2017 33 800-571-3900 • New and used vehicle financing and leasing • Equipment and software financing • Working Capital • Repair and refurbishment loans • Great rates, unparalleled service WE'RE BACK AND BETTTER THAN EVER! This diminishes the value of party buses equipped with entertainment poles, enhanced sound systems, and custom lighting. Many operators re- port their insurance carriers refuse to include party buses on policies ren- dering them useless. If they do cover them, the insurance premiums are so high the cost exceeds a tolerable hourly charter rate. Group Participation Benefits By participating in focus groups, opera- tors gain more information about the is- sues they face and realize they are not alone. They learn new ideas and form stronger affiliate bonds by getting to know each other. Operators swap tips about fuel programs, GPS systems, soft- ware systems, and just about every as- pect and nuance associated with running a ground transportation company in a competitive marketplace. — Disclosure: Contributing editor Jim Luff, who ran a limousine company for 25 years, is a part-time group facilitator for Driving Results. other specialty vehicles TNCs lack. These vehicles require specialized li- censes to operate. CDL drivers are in such demand they command salaries of $70,000 or more to start. To add more frustration, many operators report their insurance companies won't allow them to hire CDL drivers without a minimum of two years of prior experience. This means even if an operator asked the placement coordinator of a commercial driving school, a recent graduate could not be hired. 5. The Insurance Challenges Insurance represents the biggest op- erating expense today. The costs of vehicle insurance, worker's compen- sation, and liability insurance are suf- focating operators everywhere. Many carriers who once provided coverage for the industry have bailed out. This has created a haven for the remaining carriers to gouge operators with lim- ited options for shopping. The insur- ance companies dictate the way com- panies run and insist operators with party buses force people to sit down while the vehicle is moving. become a "now" society. We want to buy laundry detergent online at 3 a.m. if that's convenient. TNCs have created a convenience by being ready at any time. For operators trying to keep up, this means having staff on-call around the clock at great expense hoping an order will come in, or developing a ro- bust system of independent operators spread across a metro region such as New York City ready to go on a mo- ment's notice. For operators who es- tablished their businesses years ago on a pre-arranged basis, the challenge of adapting to on-demand has been a struggle. Combine this with the lack of qualified chauffeurs to hire, the chal- lenge is a painful one to most opera- tors trying to run with the pack. 4. The CDL Challenge Hiring a chauffeur with a basic driv- er's license is tough. Hiring one with a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) is even harder. Operators in focus groups have shared frustrations as they seek to differentiate themselves from TNCs by modifying their fleets to include shuttle buses, limo buses, charter buses, and

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