Towing a limousine
Feb 05

Tips For Towing A Stretch Limousine

Limo Business Corner

Despite our best maintenance program and our best intentions, sometimes a stretch limo simply breaks down.  Here’s a good article we’d found from a Memphis towing service firm about the proper method of transportation should a breakdown occur.

Although they may look fancy and impervious to breaking down, stretch limos do, in fact, break down, and because of their weight-to-power ration, are much more inclined to get stuck during inclement weather.  Suffice to say, towing a stretch limousine is not the same as a regular car, so for a towing service, it pay to understand the nuances of towing a longer vehicle like a stretch limousine.

So today we’ll be share some key tips for towing a stretch limousine safely and without damage.

1) Hitch From Behind

The first thing to note is you are going to be hitching it from behind.  This is the most secure way to do this and is going to ensure balance is maintained for as long as you have it hitched. If you do it from any other angle, you are taking a real risk as to how things are going to be set up. You have to focus on this as soon as you can.

It is the only way to go for those who want to tow a stretch limousine in the modern age.  It is going to be secure as long as you go from behind.

2) Use A Wheel Lift

Wheel Lift Tow Truck
Wheel Lift Tow Truck

It would be great if you could fit a stretch limo on a Flat Bed tow truck, it’s far and away the least intrusive mode of towing.  The problem is:  most stretch limos are way too long to fit safely on the flat bed.  The next best thing is a fixture called a Wheel Lift.  Tow trucks equipped with a wheel lift have a metal yoke that fits underneath either the front or rear wheels of the vehicle to be towed. They also use a hydraulic lift system to hoist the vehicle’s front or rear end off the ground. The remaining two wheels run along the roadway while the vehicle is being towed.

Wheel lift towing is a major advance over traditional hookandchain towing. Instead of wrapping chains around the axles of the car, the metal yoke lifts the vehicle by its tires. This method is less likely to cause damage to the car’s frame and bumper.

3) Raise Properly

The #1 rule in towing is:  Don’t damage the vehicle your towing.  With this in mind, it makes sense to slowly raise the limousine to ensure that none of the fenders or body is touching the road.  The ONLY thing that should be touching the road should be the front tires.

Unless you want to be in and out of the tow truck as you raise it, it definitely helps to have a spotter as you raise the limousine into position.

4) Limit Back Turns

Maneuvering a long limousine is not for the faint of heart.  Turns need to be limited if possible and backing up should be done very slowly.  Any backing turns will articulate and will require your to have a good idea of the landscape in back of you and some experience in driving articulated loads.

Again, the key here is SLOW.  As with raising the limousine, it helps to have a spotter handy for any backing articulated turns.

Conclusion

While not an exhausting list, these are the primary considerations to take when it comes to towing a stretch limousine. Those who are hoping to nail things down and make sure it is towed the right way will know it has to start here. This is the only way to see real results and feel confident about the value you are getting. The moment it is hitched the wrong way, you are going to have a lot of trouble on your hands and that is not worth it.

Using Technology In The Limousine Business
Feb 05

5 Tips For Using Tech To Grow Your Limo Business in 2018

Limo Business Corner

If you own a limousine business in 2018, you’re probably aware that the game has changed dramatically from a mere 5 years ago.  Long gone are the days where all that was needed was to buy a stretch limousine, hang up a shingle in the yellow pages, and viola:  instant limo business!

With an increasingly savvy customer base, and strong competition from the likes of Uber or Lyft,  it literally pays to understand the current technology landscape so you can stay competitive and get the best ROI for your investment dollars.
So with that in mind, we’ll be investigating what’s working in 2018 and share some sage evergreen advice that’s worked for our limo service in San Antonio.

Set The Foundation

Before spending a single dollar on technology, you’ll need to develop a strong understanding about who you are, and what you want to BE.  There’s really no point using technology to market your business if your service stinks.

Set some quality standards, develop a mission and vision statement, and make sure everyone one of your employees understand what these mean and how to apply them in their job.

Clarity is key!

Our mission statement is:  “We treat every client like they’re the most important person in the world

That’s a strong statement, but its one that sticks in the mind of our team as we go about our business.

Next, take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself,  “Are we living up to our mission statement?”  That means examining every customer touch point to determine if you’re measuring up.

Remember:  this is the limousine business.  You’re not some fly-by-night Uber driver doing it for extra grocery money.  That means that customer expectation is HIGH, right off the bat.

So make sure that every potential customer experience with your company, from your vehicles to your service staff, is top-notch.

Okay, now we’re ready to talk tech…

Google Is Your Best Friend

Nevermind Bing, Yahoo, or Yelp.  In the limo business, Google is still the king on the block when it comes to ways in which your customers are searching for you.  While other search venues can’t hurt your business, I wouldn’t focus on them until you’ve made Google happy.

So how exactly do you make Google happy?  While Google is famously tight lipped about how their search algorithm works, Google makes some thing plain on their My Business resource page.

Here’s the basics rundown of what Google likes:

  • A mobile-friendly website
  • A website with well-written pages, about your services
  • A verified website
  • Lots of citations (Not sure what this means? Read more about it here
  • Good reviews
  • Good pictures of your vehicles, drivers and place of business (Google loves business pics)
  • *Extra Credit* Upload a Virtual Tour of one of your vehicles (Google loves Virtual Tours!)

Get Social

Social Media

There’s an old marketing paradigm that states, “Be where the eyeballs are.”, and when it comes to eyeballs, they most definitely are on social media in 2018.   As a business you simply can’t afford to not be out in front of the competition in this space.

Like it or not, most people in the developed world are on social media in one aspect or another. According to stat site Statista, some 241 million people in the United States alone have a Facebook account and spend a ridiculous amount of time there – over two hours a day – and growing!

While there’s tons of Social Media options out there for you to choose from as a business, we recommend concentrating on two platforms, 3 at most. Our favorite at present is Facebook and Instagram. Twitter is a distant third. While we can’t possibly get into all the unique aspects of each platform, we strong suggest that you learn each one inside and out.

At this point you’ve got a solid foundation to spend to grow on. Your service quality is high, you’ve made Google happy, and it looks like you’ve got it going on in the social media websphere.

Hopefully your getting some clients at this point – let’s keep them interested in your business…

Keeping Your Customers Engaged

Now that you’re online, you want to make your customers (and the search engines) believe that your a business that’s intimately involved in the limo industry. You want to make them think that there’s only ONE viable solution for limo services in your town, and that’s YOU.

How exactly do you do that?

By putting out frequent, consistent, industry-specific content, that your customers love consuming. Other wise known as Content Marketing, “content” here includes, videos, press releases, email campaigns, and regular updates on social media.

How much content is enough? That’s tougher to answer, but in general, more than the competition.

If the top-hitter in the search results is posting on their blog every other week, you should one-up them and post every week. If your competition is posting on Facebook every other day, post twice a day.

Videos are a must nowadays, so if Jim Bob’s Limos has got 5 videos on YouTube, you better at least have 6. This may sound like alot of work – and it is – but it’s all foundational things any limo business should be doing in 2018 to keep their customers informed and engaged.

The Follow Up

Email is oldest form of communication on the internet, and yet despite it’s age it’s still the most important methods of communication in terms of customer relationship management.

Why? Just about everyone knows how to use email, and (let’s be honest) it’s hard to ignore that unopened email sitting in your inbox.

And since you can personalize emails, nothing beats the personal touch that email provides.

Maintain that personal touch for each one of you 1500 email contacts is the hard part. So unless you want to manually put together a massive email campaign only to have your customer’s email accounts kick them to the spam can, you’ll need some robust email marketing automation tools. Companies like ActiveCampaign, Mailchimp, and AWeber allow it’s users to create personalized email campaigns that can be adapt to the way your customer interact with the emails you send.  For example if your customer opens certain links in an email, you can classify this customer in a certain group.

Additionally most have great analytics so you can discover which campaigns are working, and which one’s aren’t, and tweak from there.

Taking It To The Next Steps With Tech

Everything described above resides squarely in the MUST category. While not super technical, if done right, you should be well on your way to naturally attracting new customer and retaining the old ones. You’re business should be growing. NOW is the time for truly harnessing the power of technology.

What’s the next step?

We recommend fleet software.

Fleet Software, or Fleet Management Software (FMS) automates many of the work intensive processes that Livery Service owners of mid-to-large size fleets need to do in order to run a well-oiled business.

From basic information like vehicle locations and reservations, to more complex operations like dispatching drivers for jobs, customer database emails, and even payroll – fleet software is the next foundational step that a growing limo business needs to become a strong business. Most FMS companies in 2018 are moving toward cloud-based offerings (meaning that you can access the application online), and utilize per-vehicle GPS and a relational database to track your fleet’s vehicle’s service and registration intervals.

While costs can be prohibitive for smaller firms with only a few vehicles, it becomes a untenable (in our opinion) for a service with more than 5 vehicles to do many of these processes manually. Trust us, it’s no fun trying to schedule rides, time off, and reservations on an Excel spreadsheet. For our money, its been well worth the cost of investment.

Conclusion

Well there you are. Truth be told, the limousine industry is not super techie, but at the risk of sounding repetitive, all of the above describes foundational efforts any limo business should be employing to stabilize and grow their business. If you’re starting from scratch, that’s okay. Just realize this is something that will take time and consistent effort to develop.

Thanks for stopping by!