What’s It Really Like in the Los Angeles Limo Industry?
An Interview with Adir Katzin, Owner of A&E Worldwide Limo.
Q: How did you get started in this business?
A: This is a second generation family business. I worked in the business for 8 years learning the ropes, pursued a career in emergency medicine and eventually fell back into the luxury chauffeured transportation service, which was my original passion.
Q: What do you enjoy about it?
A: I enjoy working with and speaking to my clients and the satisfaction of seeing a job well done. I love 99.9% of all my clients. You have to have the “heart of a servant” and love customer service in order to do this work day in and day out. I care deeply about their satisfaction and safety and there’s a certain gratification in seeing a happy customer. Of course I do enjoy most everything else that comes with the daily grind…the nonstop challenge of dealing with logistics, traffic, airport delays and flight changes. It’s all a nonstop 24/7 challenge that constantly keeps me on my toes so there’s never a dull moment. I really enjoy the hustle of it. I also enjoy flipping the vehicles every few seasons and choosing new models based upon vehicle performance and client demand. There’s really a chance to “geek out” on the newest tech trends and development. But, at the end of the day every choice I make is geared towards client satisfaction.
Q: How do you compare to your competitors in your area?
A: At the end of the day, it comes down to consistent performance. I can proudly say that we have one of the highest client retention rates in the industry. That boils down to margin of error. Our margin of error on trip to trip is VERY small, and it’s due in large part to the team of people I surround myself with highly qualified staff and the equipment and technology we use. Needles to say most people also appreciate a “customer first” attitude, clean, well-maintained vehicles, superior back-end office support and professional and punctual drivers who have great people skills.
Q. What makes your limo service different?
A: We are considered a “personal boutique service.” What this means is that we strive to treat each and every client as if they’re our only one. That’s how it started for us and that’s the way we’ve continued to behave. The problem with some larger brand names in this industry is that they’ve forgotten about their customers. I try and make sure that EVERY detail on every ride is flawless. Even with perfect execution, with occasional goof ups do occur. What makes us different is that we care. If there’s ever an incident or complaint, I do everything in my power to make it right.
Q: Do you only serve LA/Sherman Oaks area?
A: We also provide the same level of service in over 350 cities worldwide. It’s taken us 38 years to develop our worldwide affiliate network, but it’s a well oiled machine that we’re very proud of. We consider our service a one stop shop for all your transportation needs
Q. You must be some interesting characters and cool people. Can you share a few?
A: The clients that are most memorable to me are the movers and shakers; individual giants that drive the modern industry. Also it’s really neat to meet people whose work I have always had a personal interest in. From the CEO of Twitter to the CEO of Discovery Communications, I have had the chance to meet and work with some of the most influential people in the western world. We also do alot of small family accounts and major corporate travel for companies such as Chevron and Amgen. I am also a huge horror film buff and once had the chance to drive the Director of the horror movie “Hostel.” That was a huge nerdy moment for me and I had to try my hardest not to geek out when meeting him
Q: What keeps you going everyday?
I can liken it to the excitement of show business. The action stress and spotlight are part of the excitement. When we’ve completed group transportation for a large event or award show for example and all the working pieces have come together perfectly there’s a certain satisfaction to it. That’s ultimately what keeps me going. I would also like to build this business into an asset that I can eventually pass on to my kids and see where they take it.
Q: What’s new and coming in your industry?
A: The discontinuation of the former industry standard. The Executive Lincoln Town Car has a left a vacuum in vehicle choice. Right now we’re excited about new changes and have our eyes on the New 2016 Lincoln Continental, as well as the 2016 Cadillac CT6 with extended wheel base. We are always in attendance at the trade shows and will be keeping our eyes peeled. While we are certainly acutely aware of the pull and attraction of On Demand Apps for transportation. We are holding out to make sure that we make the wisest investment in reservation and booking apps, so that we can find one that both integrates seamlessly into our back-end admin system and that also works for our clients
Q: What’s your vehicle selection like?
A: We have recently made some significant investments in three new Cadillac Escalade platinum edition SUVs…a very nice option for small groups with luggage We are also starting to carve out a niche in the Mercedes Benz Sprinter Market and have purchased 3 new vans that can accommodate anywhere from 11 to 18 passengers. Each model of Sprinter really has it’s own personality and can really be tricked out. We of course stock the standard Lincoln, Cadillac and Mercedes sedans as well as high end mini coaches for large group work.
Q: How do you compete with the car-sharing companies like Uber?
A: One word…Service.
Most Uber users are not using them because they want to. It’s a question of price and convenience. But, ultimately I always know who is driving my car and my clients. And I am able to trust them with my own family. Without spending too much time mulling over the whole Uber debate, I can tell you that I invest a lot of my money and time in personnel, and that there is a distinct difference between a driver and a chauffeur. We deliver a flawless service to our clients, that’s our promise. Ultimately, Uber has upped the ante with response time and new Whiz bang technology. While we certainly cannot and will not compete with them on pricing, we have crunched our lead times to 1 hour, almost anywhere in LA and are currently looking into a streamlined consumer end app that does everything Uber does, but even better.
Other things to consider is that Uber cannot take advance reservations of weeks or days beforehand where this is a standard option for A&E Worldwide Limo clients. Uber also does not have a phone number and we always have our phone lines and emails open to our clients. This is where caliber service starts.