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5 Ways to cut the cost (but not service) for your limo business

Posted on: January 23rd, 2017 by Neil

It’s no secret that a fleet of limousines are expensive to buy, maintain, insure, and keep up with so, of course, the costs of running a limousine business can start to add up. Savvy business owners are always looking for ways to cut costs while maintaining the same high levels of service to their clients as before. Here are four tips to keep your customers satisfied while increasing the profit margin. It’s a win/win for everyone.

1) Reduce Your Fleet Size

Do you need every limo in your fleet? If every limo is not regularly used, it might be possible to cut a few vehicles which could save you up to $5,000 a year and you’ll recoup additional costs in the sale price of the vehicle. While that does mean increased wear and tear on your new smaller fleet, just think of all the costs you can cut from just selling one vehicle – maintenance costs, repair costs, permits, and insurance, just to name a few.

2) Aim For Fuel Efficiency

While gas prices aren’t sky high like they used to be, it is still a significant cost for limo businesses. In the limos you do decide to keep, take a few steps to encourage fuel efficiency. These steps can include: changing the air flow sensors, checking the spark plugs, changing the air filters, regular oil changes, keeping the tire pressure maintained at optimum levels, and requiring your drivers to drive no faster than the speed limit.

3) Keep Your Fleet Maintained

Regular maintenance services can seem like a real drag on the checkbook, so it might be tempting to cut corners here and there, but keeping your fleet of limos up to snuff will decrease the likelihood of expensive breakdowns. Regular oil changes are especially important to make sure that your limo engines are running smoothly and fuel costs stay low.

4) Invest in Limo Software

This might seem counterproductive at first, but investing in limo booking software can decrease office costs. Cut down on the cost of administrative assistants by investing in limo software so your clients can book reservations online all the time. Consider the Booking Tool, a low-cost monthly software option that works for limo companies of all sizes. Booking software like the Booking Tool can offer instant quotes, online reservations, payment processing, automated email updates, and more to your clients to keep them in the loop and keep your office staff free to do other tasks.

PCI DSS Compliance and You: What It is, Why It Matters, and How You Can Protect Your Business

Posted on: September 18th, 2016 by Neil

PCI DSS Compliance and You: What It is, Why It Matters, and How You Can Protect Your Business

There is nothing that affects the entire buying cycle quite like the theft or a potential breach of credit cardholder data. It leaves businesses faltering in the wake of lost customer trust and, likely, business, as well as subjecting the business in question to potential financial liabilities and losses.

This is where PCI DSS compliance comes in to protect consumers and businesses.

The potential threat of this spans every industry, including the limousine and car rental businesses that might accept payment for limo or car rental reservations online through a third-party application.

What is PCI DSS?

PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. The PCI Security Standards Council set the standards that merchants are required to follow to be compliant regarding data security.

The most important thing to know is that PCI DSS compliance is always changing and can be very complex depending on the type of business you have. If you’re a large brick-and-mortar retailer that keeps its clients’ credit card information on file, you’ll have more requirements to meet than a smaller e-tailer that uses a third-party payment site.

What Needs to Be Secure?

Items that fall under the umbrella of PCI DSS compliance regulations include anywhere cardholder data is captured from the point of sale through the payment system. This can include, but is not limited to: card readers, point of sale systems, store networks and wireless access routers, payment card data storage and transmission, payment card data stored in paper-based records, and online payment applications and shopping carts.

Potential Consequences of PCI DSS Non-Compliance

  • Losing client’s trust
  • Loss of sales and revenue
  • Fraudulent losses
  • Higher costs to become compliant
  • Legal fees, settlement payouts, and judgment costs
  • Fines and penalties
  • Restriction from ability to accept credit card payments
  • Terminations of responsible employees
  • Bankruptcy and going out of business

Small Vendors and PCI DSS Compliance

Fortunately, if you’re a relatively small vendor that does not store clients’ credit card information, then the requirements for you to be PCI DSS compliant are much easier to meet. For vendors that accept payments online through a third-party application, the process is handled by that application. For anyone in the limousine or car rental industry, an all-in-one booking and payment tool that is PCI DSS compliant is The Booking Tool.

For more information about PCI DSS compliance, refer to the Quick Reference Guide and for more information about the PCI DSS complaint The Booking Tool, visit our website.

Uber vs Lyft vs Limousines

Posted on: June 19th, 2016 by Neil

There are a few new disruptive businesses in the transportation industry these days, but just because they’re new doesn’t mean they’re better. Here’s an in-depth look at Uber, Lyft, and a traditional limousine service so you can decide for yourself.

 

UBER & LYFT PROS

  • Now passengers can hail a car from the comfort of their home, an office, or somewhere else and have a car to them in minutes.
  • Third-party intermediary. Both Uber and Lyft remove the need for money to exchange hands and give both the passenger and driver peace of mind.
  • With a much quicker vetting process and an influx of new drivers, more people on the outskirts of major metropolitan areas and suburbs have greater access.

 

UBER & LYFT CONS

  • Surge pricing. Roundly criticized, “surge pricing” or “primetime” pricing is the practice of increasing the fair during high-volume periods with prices sometimes doubling or even tripling and making them effectively unaffordable.
  • Trip cancellations. This can lead to a schedule disruption for passengers, which can lead to missed flights, etc.
  • There are have some news articles that have called into question the safety of these services, like the shootings in Michigan by an Uber driver that killed six people.
  • While service might have expanded outside of large metro areas, if you’re in a rural area, you still might not have access to Uber or Lyft.
  • Questionable business tactics. Both Uber and Lyft have been in the news a lot for their disruption of the taxi industry, but have also come under fire for some aggressive hiring practices, driver lawsuits, and more.

 

LIMOUSINE SERVICE PROS

  • Experienced drivers. Limousine drivers are highly trained, experienced service industry professionals that can assure a safe, enjoyable night out.
  • Riding in a limousine can help set a mood and make an experience unforgettable.
  • Scheduled pickups. A limo can be booked beforehand to have a driver waiting for you.
  • Depending upon the number of passengers, a limo ride can actually be more cost-effective than Uber or Lyft.
  • Limousine services require their drivers to be registered and licensed. The drivers will clean their car after each passenger and can ensure a consistent experience each ride.

 

LIMOUSINE SERVICE CONS

  • If you’d prefer to get from Point A to Point B without any interest, a limo might be too conspicuous and draw too much attention. Stretch limousines with tinted windows especially draw attention from onlookers.
  • Plan ahead. Getting a limousine on demand can be hard, which means you’ll likely need to book ahead, but the other side of the coin is that they’re extremely reliable. If you have a limousine scheduled, you do not need to worry that your ride will be cancelled.

 

Let us know in the comments which option you prefer!

6 Marketing Techniques to Grow Your Business

Posted on: February 16th, 2016 by Neil

6 Marketing Techniques to Grow Your Business

When you have a small business, sometimes the marketing budget that goes with it is also small. That doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea of implementing an effective marketing campaign. No way! Sometimes the best marketing ideas are simplest and inexpensive solutions. Marketing doesn’t always have to be an expensive undertaking when you throw in a little creativity. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  1. Utilize Social Media

Pros of social media: it’s easy and free. Doesn’t get much better than that. Marketing is no longer a one-way street. Social media is a great way to start a conversation with your clients and keep them up to date in new developments in your company and become a brand they trust. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, and even Instagram can help drive traffic to your website if used correctly.

  1. That Includes LinkedIn!

A seriously underused marketing avenue is LinkedIn. Don’t limit LinkedIn to just creating a profile and linking with professional associates. LinkedIn launched long-form posts, which function like blog posts. Oftentimes, because of the platform, the long-form posts might see more traffic than the same content posted to your own blog. LinkedIn can be a great place to share content, promote your company, and make friends and potential clients.

  1. Launch a “Word of Mouth” Campaign

Offer existing clients a perk to refer their friends to your company. This tactic doesn’t have to cost you any upfront money. You could offer a free perk, service, or product for referring new customers.

  1. Find an Industry Partnership

You don’t want to look to join with a direct competitor, but find a company in a related industry to join forces with for a joint project. Whether your project is offline and local, or designed to be a viral online campaign, by choosing a company in a related industry, you’ll be increasing your marketing field and introducing your company to a new niche audience.

  1. Revamp Your Business Cards

Consider redesigning your business cards to be engaging, impactful, and memorable, and then commit to always having a few with you. You never know when you might bump into someone that might need your service.

  1. In-Kind Sponsorship of a Non-Profit

Another good way to get your company’s name out there is to sponsor a non-profit organization. While a sponsorship usually equates to money, an in-kind sponsorship is the donation of time or services. It can help expand your company’s reach and connect with more potential customers.