A disreputable contractor and a lull in client calls enable Georgia Berg to do more networking.
Well all I have to say is Thank God Spring has started! The official first day of Spring was 01-09-10. (That’s September 01, 2010. For some reason the Aussies write their dates backwards).
Not only was the cold weather an issue but bookings for August went down almost 49% and September is about 35% behind last year's figures. In speaking to other operators we found they were experiencing the same decline in sales. It seemed like everything came to a halt at the beginning of June. Fortunately for us, we went into winter and the new year with a decent cash reserve and had advance bookings that saw us through this very slow period.
We also had another huge set back over the winter involving the upgrade to our website. The company we decided to go with in May promised a working site within four weeks of hire. Their “in house design team” turned out to be an outsourced independent contracting web design firm. After having paid a 50% deposit upfront, the end of July came around and we still didn’t even have a viable sample of a home page. Fortunately, we went overboard on our due diligence and had the contracted company put everything in writing (which by the way was the only thing that saved us). The only reason we managed to get our money back was because I had insisted the sales department put in writing the exact process that would transpire once we contracted their services. During our phone and email correspondence, I specifically asked if they had their own design team or outsourced the work, and they clearly misrepresented themselves by stating they had their own design department. The good news is we were issued a complete refund. The bad new is we had to start from scratch and we are seven weeks behind on our advertising plan we had mapped out.
This lull in calls has allowed us to really focus on person-to-person networking. Through referrals and word of mouth, we attracted the attention of Earl Cole with Gonna Get Married, a non-profit wedding resource organization. We were interviewed and voted in by their panel to be Western Australia's Expert Contributor for Limousine Service. Brides and grooms-to-be are encouraged to visit this site where they will receive all the tools and expert advice needed to plan the perfect wedding. The Gonna Get Married panel did consider other operators who had larger fleets, but we were chosen because of our customer service and overall reputation for providing professional, quality service. It's not always about who has the most cars or the latest gadgets. If you do not build your core foundation on customer service, it won't matter how many toys you have in your shed if no one wants to play with them.
We have lot of "irons in the fire" as they say. I'm excited to see how everything plays out. Keep your fingers crossed for us and stay tuned!
— Georgia Berg, LIMOUSINE EXCURSIONS, Perth, Australia
| posted on Friday, October 29, 2010 10:23 AM