3 hiring tips to get you through the busy holiday season

The holiday season is right around the corner, which means people all over the country are making their travel plans for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and other seasonal get-togethers. For you and your company, it means that you’ll likely need to consider bringing on some additional help to ensure that you can keep up with the demand from all of the season’s festive travelers.

But when it comes to hiring, especially for an expected rush period, remember that quantity isn’t nearly as important as quality. You want to bring on the best candidates to help your business through the busy period, which can be difficult during the time of year when seasonal hiring is at an all-time high. Here are three tips for maximizing the effectiveness of your hiring strategy.

1) Be clear
There’s a simple formula: If you want applicants who are ready and able to take on the tasks working at your company would present to them, you need to ensure that they know what to expect. This means that you must craft your job postings to be as informative to potential new hires as possible.

It’s a common trend in the HR world to produce job listings that forego plain language and no-nonsense discussion of expectations for buzzword slinging and vague noncommittal discussion of your business’s mission statement. Fast Company noted that you should nix this type of talk for brass-tacks discussion of what exactly the role entails and how it fits in with the rest of the company. Remember that the role you’re trying to fill isn’t just about performing a set number of tasks, but rather about helping the organization as a whole meet its objectives. For that to happen, both you and your candidates need to be on the same page.

2) Look at more than just the resume
A candidate’s skills and experience are important, but they’re not the sole indicators of how well the person will perform on the job. In fact, in many instances, personal or cultural fit can be even stronger factors in whether a new hire sinks or swims. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine personality factors that could influence whether or not an applicant will be a good cultural fit, since unlike questions of experience, there aren’t simple answers. Instead, model your interview in such a way as to determine not just what a person has done, but how. A candidate’s motivations for performing given tasks can be just as enlightening as the tasks themselves.

3) Think outside the box
Did you know that more candidates are using social media for job-seeking purposes? That means that if you aren’t jumping on board with this new trend, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage in terms of finding the best talent out there. It may feel awkward trying to recruit over sites like LinkedIn or even Twitter, but expanding into these new spaces is crucial for the success of your business in the online age.


 

Communication strategies for the limo business manager

Ever feel like you talk and no one listens at work? As the manager or owner of a limo company, this is not only incredibly frustrating, but it’s also detrimental to your business’ success. But before you blame your employees, consider whether the way you’re communicating is contributing to the problem. Sometimes it may not be that your staff was ignoring what you asked of them, but rather that they simply didn’t understand the expectations that you had.

To ensure that your business is as successful as possible, make sure that you’re communicating clearly with your employees while on the job.

Be direct and specific
As a manager, one of the most important ways you can increase the effectiveness of your communication with employees is to be direct and specific. According to Forbes magazine, vagueness is all too common in the workplace. If you need your employees to do something by the end of the day, don’t just ask them to do it when they have a chance. Tell them what the task is, how you want it done and give them the specific time you need it accomplished by. Being clear when you communicate will eliminate a lot of frustration for everyone involved.

Ask for a summary
If you aren’t sure that your employee understood what you said – or was even listening in the first place – ask him or her to give a summary of what you just said. That way you’ll be sure that your point was communicated and received effectively. This strategy works both ways. If an employee tells you something and you aren’t entirely sure you understood what he or she said, give a recap of the conversation and ask if what you said was accurate.

When you give an employee a task, make sure he or she fully understands the responsibility.

When you give an employee a task, make sure he or she fully understands the responsibility.

Don’t forget to listen 
While clear communication is important, so is listening. To be a good manager, you need to give your employees a voice as well. According to U.S. News & World Report, people are often too busy preparing their own response or interrupting to really listen to what the other person is saying. Give your staff the courtesy of listening well to their concerns and contributions and they will likely do the same when you speak.


 

Three steps to impressing your limo clients

Building your client base is a critical part of running a successful business. But according to Forbes, a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses report revealed that 31 percent of small business owners said finding and keeping customers is the top challenge that they face. One way to address this problem is to create a customer experience that’s sure to impress.

As the manager of a limousine business, you know the importance of making an impression. Just as your service allows clients to impress others when showing up to a business meeting or event, you should be doing the same with your own customers. Following these three steps will set you on the right path to creating a black car experience that will help to attract and retain clients.

1. Hire outstanding employees

In a limo business, your employees will make or break the customer experience. The chauffeurs are the ones that your clients will interact with, creating a lasting impression. As your drivers tend to be the face of your business, make sure that you hire only the best.

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According to Limousine, Charter & Tour magazine, true chauffeurs separate themselves from ordinary drivers by valuing safety, having a strong knowledge of the city they serve in and exhibiting strong customer service skills. Be sure that you hire someone who will treat your customers with courtesy, respect and professionalism.

2. Nail the first impression

According to CBS, it’s almost impossible to overcome a bad first impression. So whether you’re headed to an in-person meeting or sending a black car to pick up a first-time client, make sure that you pay attention to the details to impress from the start. When interacting with customers, you and your employees should be well-groomed and appropriately dressed. Greet clients with a firm handshake and warm smile. Ensure that your vehicles are in top condition and impeccably clean both inside and out.

Perhaps most importantly, as we all know, it is critical to pick up your customer on time.

3. Provide online solutions

Impress your clients by providing the option to communicate with your business and arrange rides online. The convenience is sure to set your business apart from the competition. With an increasing number of companies providing services online, customers are coming to expect the option of making orders via the Internet, even when it comes to transportation. Stay on the cutting edge of customer service by creating a user-friendly website and using limo software that allows customers to request rides from their computer or smartphone.


 

Five ways to grow your limo business

In the limo industry, holding your small business to a high standard is critical. As you look to grow your company, promoting your brand and incorporating technology into your strategy will help you provide a better customer experience and grow your customer base.

Create your brand

According to the U.S. Small Business Association, one of the most important things that small business owners can do to grow their businesses is to build a strong brand. A brand is more than just the visual logo or marketing strategies used by your company. It is the values, services and people that make your business what it is. Create a vision for your company and figure out how to set it apart from the competition. Once you know where you’re going and what you want your business to represent, promote that brand to build trust and credibility with your audience.

Build an online presence

While there was a time when people chose a company based solely on word-of-mouth or print ads, an increasing number of consumers are using the Internet to search for products. Make sure that you have an online presence so that your company comes up under limo searches in your area.

Take advantage of limo software

A simple way to grow your business is to use software to increase efficiency. Find an online limousine program that will allow you to manage administrative tasks more effectively and make your business more appealing to your audience. Using technology like this will decrease the time you spend on menial tasks, allowing you to dedicate more energy to growing your business.

Make connections

Despite advances in technology, there is still great value in putting a face or voice with a name. Attend limo conferences and small business meetings in your area to make connections and create a presence in your industry while you promote your brand.

Limo Conferences

Attending limo industry conferences will keep you in the know about new business strategies and connect you with other leaders in the field.

Listen to your customers

One of the best ways to attract more business is to listen to what your customers are saying. Consider using social media platforms to connect with your audience and get feedback on the services that you provide. By creating a Facebook or Twitter account, for example, you can post content and ask your followers to share their opinions.


 

Five ways to better protect your limo business from cyber threats

Don’t let the fear of cyber threats keep you from taking your limo business to the next level. These helpful tips can protect your company as you operate your business online.

1) Take passwords seriously

One of the easiest ways to protect your business is to create a strong password. It requires minimal effort on your part and is a line of defense against anyone trying to steal your information. Choose something that will be difficult to guess, is an appropriate length, and make sure to use letters, numbers and special characters. Business Insider also cautioned against using the same password for multiple services. If you do that, a hacker who gets one password gets them all.

2) Lock down equipment 

If you think that all cyber thieves attack through the Internet, think again. Entrepreneur magazine reported that some businesses that are hacked actually have hard drives physically stolen from the premises. While security systems and cameras are good deterrents, you should also consider physically locking your computer to the desk by running a cable through the metal loop found on most desktop devices and laptops. Place any company cellphones or mobile devices in a safe before you leave for the day.

3) Monitor your employees

Educating your employees is a huge part of protecting your business. According to the IBM Security Services 2014 Cyber Security Intelligence Index, 95 percent of all the security incidents examined involved human error. That means that the vast majority could have been avoided if everyone followed proper procedure. Even if you’re extremely careful about online security, make sure that you talk to your employees about the guidelines that they need to abide by as well.

4) Don’t send information via e-mail

While it can be convenient to send credit card numbers and other important information through an email, this dramatically increases risk. Hackers can intercept the message and access any sensitive information that the email contained.

5) Keep your systems up to date

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security reported that an important way to protect yourself from cyber risks is to make sure that your operating system, anti-virus and other software are up-to-date. Many companies frequently send out updates to their users for free. Take advantage of the upgrades, as they often fix bugs and other problems that could make the programs more vulnerable to cyber threats.


 

How millennials are changing the limo industry

Millennials are emerging as a powerful consumer force. The largest generation in U.S. and world history, the demographic is expected to spend $200 billion annually by 2017, according to Forbes.

At the LCT Summit in May, a panel of young industry leaders discussed how understanding this demographic can help limo operators make changes to accommodate the needs of millennials and grow their businesses.

The panel was composed of Raphael Sousa, President and Founder of SF Limo Express, Rick Versace Jr., an executive at A1A Limo, Robert Xavier, President and Founder of Legend Limousine, and Ryan Hilberth, CEO of Rental Limo. These representatives focused on four main ways that millennials are changing the limo industry game.

Texting

For millennials, texting is a normal means of communication. In 2012, Time Magazine reported that the average American between the ages of 18 and 29 sent about 88 text messages per day, and that habit hasn’t gone away. Incorporating texting in your business will help create appeal for younger customers. Sousa shared that he uses Limo Anywhere to send texts to customers giving their chauffeur’s name, contact information and estimated arrival time.

Online Reservations

In the same vein, millennials like being able to complete tasks online. While the majority of your customers may still prefer to schedule their rides over the phone, the up-and-coming generation will likely be more attracted to your business if you offer an online option that integrates with your limo software.

Social Media

According to Entrepreneur Magazine, 71 percent of millennials are on social media daily. That means if you aren’t taking advantage of social media platforms for your business, you’re missing out on an opportunity to connect with potential consumers. The LCT panel emphasized that whether you outsource your social media channels to another company or do it yourself, it’s important to have a clear campaign, post regularly – at least once a day – and share content posted online from major hotels, airlines and other companies that cater to travelers in your area.

Website Analytics

Whatever kind of online presence you have, Xavier emphasized that it’s important to monitor your website traffic. Xavier said that he used analytics to figure out what keywords users were typing into searches that led them to his website. By better understanding the online habits of millennials, you can more effectively reach the demographic.


 

Five questions to ask your payment processing provider

Payment processing can be a complex, bewildering marketplace. It’s a difficult-to-understand product sold primarily by thousands of independent sales organizations (ISOs), who are sponsored by banks as the effective sales and support arms of their merchant services divisions. As a result of this highly fragmented marketplace, service offerings are often unstandardized, and a solid understanding of the product, your ISO’s policies, and the agreement you are entering are of paramount importance. To help you through this process, below are five questions that any business should ask its current or prospective payment processing provider.

1) What’s my processing cost as a percentage of my revenue (the effective rate)?

Payment processors charge direct processing fees, payment gateway fees, and often additional monthly fees, which should all be added together every month to understand your true, effective rate. As a general rule, asking for interchange plus pricing (meaning the standard fees credit card companies charge, or interchange, plus a markup to your merchant services provider) will give you the most transparency and lowest rates. Regardless, ensure when you’re comparing providers that you’re making the apples-to-apples comparison, which is your effective processing rate.

2) How quickly can I get my funds?

In small, growth businesses, cash is king. Check around to see if you can get next-day funding, meaning if you process your payments the night before, the cash will hit your account the next day. If not, two-day funding is a common option as well.

3) Is your gateway integrated with my back office software and/or online shopping cart?

There are few worse productivity drains than processing payments manually outside of your existing technology solutions. If you’re using Limo Anywhere but not processing on our system, be sure to ask us for one of our preferred payments partners, or if not, check to ensure we are integrated with the gateway of the payment processor you’re planning to use.

4) Who is my point of contact?

Customer support – for technical problems, chargebacks, or other issues – is an important part of your decision. When your access to cash depends on it, make sure you’ve got a 24/7 point of contact if and when issues arise.

5) How much is the setup and/or cancellation cost?

Cancellation fees are common in the industry, not unlike cell phone contracts, because the cost of acquiring new business in a competitive marketplace like payment processing is very high (meaning it takes several months for the ISO to break-even on your account). If you’re signing a contract, check to make sure the cancellation fee is reasonable – $500 or less. As for that setup fee? Make sure you’re shopping that fee and/or negotiating to have it removed.

Many Limo Anywhere customers process payments through our software, and as a result, we have close knowledge of the payment processing industry, as well as qualified, preferred partners with whom we work closely. If you need help finding a good payment processing solution, don’t hesitate to contact us.


 

Who is Limo Anywhere, and why are we “getting social”?

Hello, and welcome to Limo Anywhere’s first blog post!

With our first trip into the written spotlight, we thought it would be helpful to give everyone a little bit of insight into where we came from, who we are today, and the value we hope this blog will bring to our customers.

Founded in 2004 with one employee out of Dallas, Texas, Limo Anywhere started as a small side project for a friend. Ten years later, with a staff of nearly thirty and a presence in six cities, we have transformed into a complete software solution helping 3,500 operators perform nearly 10 million rides per year. The core mission of Limo Anywhere has always been a simple one: to offer small and mid-sized operators affordable access to the same technology platform and toolkit as the largest companies in the industry. Given how rapidly technology is changing the way ground transportation services are consumed, we are even more convinced today that a great software platform is one of the strongest tools available to any limo operator.

So, why have we decided to start a blog? We’ve picked up quite a bit of knowledge about the way limo businesses operate over the years, courtesy of daily conversations with operators ranging in size from one car to hundreds. We don’t pretend to know the industry as well as our customers, but we do hope that we can use our platform to engage in broad knowledge-sharing on a range of topics. With that goal in mind, you’ll see blog posts and social media activity from us on everything from SEM tips to affiliate management insights, with input from some of the most successful and well-known operators in this industry. And of course, we’ll keep you up-to-date on all of the relevant Limo Anywhere news and updates.

Our newly-formed social presence is only one new venture on deck for Limo Anywhere, though perhaps the most public one. Our exciting line of planned initiatives range from product improvements to support process changes to partnerships that will bring both cost savings and revenue generation opportunities for our customers, all part of our commitment to continually improving the Limo Anywhere customer experience.

We’re ten years in, but we’ve got a long way to go. We’re glad you’ve decided to join us for the ride.