2015 Ford Transit:

An American Brand Gone Global Comes Home

Watch Your Step(s)

10 Steps to Control Workers’ Compensation Costs

Mind Your Manners

Social Media Etiquette: 4 Things You Need To Know

Grassroots:

The Basics of Lobbying for Better Regulations

Myth Busted:

GPS Tracking Software is Not Too Expensive

>

Saturday, June 27, 2015

How to Lower Insurance Costs for Your Fleet

Insurance Costs


One of the areas where the modern limo business needs to look into cutting costs is insurance. Insurance costs can quickly raise overall operating costs, but a few changes and tweaks can help lower that expense and make insurance more affordable. When you are ensuring a fleet of vehicles, this is a valuable change to make.

Keep Tabs on Claims
Automotive insurance providers will typically lower insurance rates if a customer does not make many claims over the course of a year. However, this may not happen automatically. Chron.com recommends that you meet with your insurance agent once per year to review the number and types of claims that your fleet has had. If you do not have many, or any at all, you may be able to request a discount for your fleet. If you notice a trend in problems with your fleet or your drivers, you can make changes to avoid these problems and position yourself for a reduced claim down the road.

Use Fleet Tracking
Fleet tracking can earn you a significant discount, depending on your insurance provider, with nothing other than having the system installed. Insurance providers understand that fleets utilizing GPS tracking technology are less of a risk. There are two reasons for this:

First, GPS tracking makes it easier to recover any stolen limos. Unfortunately, commercial vehicles are not on the top of the list for most law enforcement officials, so your insurance company will most likely be left holding the bill if your vehicle is stolen. If you have GPS tracking, you can report the last known whereabouts, making it easier for law enforcement officials and increasing the chances of recovery.

Not only is it easier to get stolen assets back, but second, you also have more driver accountability, and drivers tend to drive more safely when they know their activities are monitored and reported. Limiting unsafe driving practices, like speeding or braking suddenly, can make your drivers and your vehicles less of a risk. If you can show safe driving practices using your fleet tracking technology, you may be able to request a discount. Performing a GPS audit of your drivers' behavior can earn you a significant drop in your insurance rates.

Ensure Proper Driver Training and Qualifications
A bad driver can boost your insurance rates quickly, and put your customers at risk as well. Perform a thorough background check on any drivers you hire, and ensure that the drivers have a clear driving record. Being able to report this to the insurance provider may earn you a discounted rate as well.

Having experienced drivers can also help. As you are making hiring decisions, look not just at driving records, but also at commercial driving experience. Progressive, for instance, offers a discount of up to 20 percent for experienced CDL drivers on commercial fleets.

Pay in Full Each Year
Commercial vehicle insurance can be a large expense, but whenever possible, try to budget so you can pay it in full each year. Most insurance providers give a paid-in-full discount to companies that will pay once a year rather than entering into a monthly payment plan.

Discount for Commercial Business Experience
If your limo service has been around for a while, with at least three years of experience, ask your insurance provider if it offers a commercial business experience discount. Unique to commercial auto insurance policies, this discount rewards companies that have been in business for several years, as insurance providers have realized this means the company represents a lower risk. Your past success is a prediction of future success, and you therefore have the potential to be a long-term policyholder. To ensure they get your business, insurance providers may offer a discount, according to DMV.org.
Going without insurance for your limo fleet is not only irresponsible, but it is also illegal in most areas. If you are finding the costs are a bit higher than you like, consider if you are taking advantage of all of these money-saving options. Sometimes, all it takes to get a discount is a small change, and those discounts can add up significantly.

************************************************************************************************************************


Robert J. Hall
Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck,
a leader in GPS vehicle tracking systems
and software for small and midsized companies.

Hashtagging Your Way To Social Media Relevance

Hashtagging


Not so many years ago, many people probably paid little attention to that pound sign on the computer keyboard.
You know, the one that looks like this: #. Then along came Twitter and what we have come to call the “hashtag,” and social media marketing was changed forever.

Yet not everyone takes advantage of hashtags the way they should, and that’s unfortunate because if you are not using hashtags you are missing out on exposure for you and your brand. When you are on social media sites such as Twitter or Instagram, your goal should be to become part of the conversation. The hashtag allows more people to find your contributions to that conversation.

Without them, you miss out on lots of eyes that could be viewing your content. For example, let’s say 1,000 people follow you on Twitter. Not counting re-tweets, only 1,000 people will see your posts if you don’t use a hashtag. Add the hashtag, though, and you start picking up momentum because the post has the potential of being seen by, and re-tweeted by, any number of people. A common hashtag, such as #love, can position your post to be seen by potentially millions of people. But be warned. While there are great benefits to hashtags, there also are pitfalls.

Hashtags don’t come with exclusivity. Anyone can use them, so a hashtag can become a weapon that works both for you and against you. Critics of your brand, or just the usual assortment of Internet trolls, may attempt to hijack your hashtag, putting you or your business in a bad light. A prime example of a hijacked hashtag happened a few years ago when McDonald’s, apparently hoping for a flattering conversation about the restaurant chain, introduced #McDStories on Twitter. #McDStories went viral, but not in a good way as the Twitter world had a field day tweeting unflattering tales of their alleged bad experiences with the restaurant. Don’t let such cautionary tales deter you, though.

March boldly into hashtagging, but as you do keep in mind these suggestions for getting the most out of your efforts:
  • Use proprietary hashtags. One of the advantages to a proprietary hashtag, such as “Orange is the New Black’s” hashtag #OITNB, is that it is linked directly to your brand. These hashtags typically are not used as widely as a more generic hashtag, but the goal is to brand yourself through the hashtag with the hope it could go viral.
  • Don’t overdo it. A post littered with too many hashtags can be difficult to read, so your message might become obscured as your followers see what appears to be gibberish. Perhaps you saw the skit Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon once performed in which they spoofed the device’s overuse by lacing their spoken conversation with seemingly endless hashtags. It was hilarious and annoying all at the same time. Twitter itself suggests using no more than two hashtags per Tweet. Certainly, three should be the very maximum on Twitter. A different etiquette exists on Instagram, though, and most Instagram followers will tolerate excess hashtags. Meanwhile, although hashtags can be used on Facebook, there’s little reason to include even one. That’s not the way people use that social media site.
  • Think geographically. If you are a local company that depends mainly on local clientele, a hashtag that links to your location works well. Hashtags such as #Seattle or #Bangor drop you into numerous conversations about your hometown.

Since social media has become such a vital element of any comprehensive marketing strategy, understanding all of the nuances is critical. A hashtag may not look like much, but it’s really a powerful tool that is a double-edged sword. If used correctly it can greatly bolster your marketing reach. Used incorrectly, it can have adverse effects or unintended consequences. With social media, your hashtag is your brand, so use it wisely.

************************************************************************************************************************


Jay York, senior digital marketing strategist for EMSI Public Relations
Jay York, senior digital marketing strategist for EMSI Public Relations (http://emsincorporated.com/), is an internet marketing expert with extensive experience in social media marketing dating back to the early days of MySpace and LiveJournal.

Since graduating from the University of South Florida Business School, Jay has worked as marketing coordinator for an international IT training company; business development and branding manager for a startup restaurant management group; and CEO of his own social media management firm.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The 4 Keys to Building Rapport: Tearing Down the WALL


Emily, a sales manager in a large organization, was having significant challenges with her team.


Communication with team members was inconsistent, and she continually struggled to motivate them. Her team was regularly missing their monthly objectives, and failed to provide meaningful status updates.

The core issue Emily faced is all too common. Anytime you are communicating with people, your ability to create rapport is key to your success. Emily did not realize that there is a WALL between her and the team, and her responsibility to take the WALL down as quickly as possible.

Two simple questions helped Emily realize she had not built rapport, or developed any form of relationship with her team members:
1) Have you spent time building a relationship with your team members?
2) Do you know what they like, want, and need at home and at work?

In Emily’s case, the answer to both of these questions was no. She was attempting to manage people with whom she had no relationship other than being “the boss”.

Establishing strong rapport does not mean learning everything about your customer or employee’s private lives, but rather, showing them that you care about them and what is important to them.

Taking the WALL Down

The wall between you and other people can be removed by developing your skills and maintaining focus on four key concepts:

W- Watch
A – Ask
L – Listen
L – Learn

1) W - Watch
Observe any master of rapport, and you will see a person who has a keen awareness of their surroundings including other people and how they react.

What to watch for before the first word is spoken: When you enter into a rapport building situation, your observation skills will help you determine good starting points for your conversation.

Before the first words are said, take a few seconds to take stock of the surroundings.

If you are meeting someone in their home or office look for conversation starters or anything that might create common ground.

You might look for:
  • Any item that is given a place of prominence
  • What is on their desk and side tables
  • Pictures
  • Awards, memorabilia, or collectibles
If they are coming into your office you will have fewer clues so pay close attention to what they are looking at. When you notice that they are paying special attention to something, it may be a sign of a potential conversation starter.

Once engaged in a rapport-building conversation, your skill at observing the reactions of the other person will help you guide the conversation in the most productive direction.

Pay close attention to:
  • Their eyes
  • Their body positioning
  • Their gestures
  • What they look at during the conversation
When you are observing people as part of rapport-building, never make an assessment based on a single “sign”.

Caution:  People are called “individuals” for a reason and each will respond in their own way. Look for combinations of signs and signals, and changes over the course of the conversation to understand more accurately how they are responding to you.

2) A - Ask
Asking powerful questions will provide you the most reliable way to create rapport. Beyond just asking powerful questions, having a strategy with preplanned questions frees you to focus more intently on the other person.

As you consider the questions you will use to build rapport, choose questions that will:
  • Show you taking an interest in them
  • Build a relationship based on the needs of the other person
  • Show your understanding of your area of expertise
  • Gather important information to direct the conversation
By asking questions that show a genuine interest in the other person’s wants, needs, and interests, they are more likely to open up to you.

If you have similar rapport-building situations on a regular basis, to take the time to develop a question library that you draw from when building rapport.

Caution:  During the rapport-building segment of a conversation, it is easy to slip into the “I” mode, telling the other person everything about what you do. Your objective is to get them into “I” mode.

Keep the rapport-building about them. They should be doing most of the talking.

3) L - Listen
You have asked your powerful questions and now it is time to employ the most important rapport-building skill – listening.

So many professionals ask all the right questions, but they don't listen to the answers they are given. These professionals assume they are building rapport, but they forget to really listen:
  • Intently to the words 
  • For changes in tone, volume, or speed
  • Vocal cues for emotions like excited, contemplative, annoyed
  • For vocal cue and body language changes
  • Watch for changes and correlations between words/vocal/body to establish base line responses
In addition to paying close attention to what the other is saying, become an expert at listening to what is not being said in your rapport building discussion.

There are two specific situations to be aware of: 1) the one word answers and 2) intentional omissions and avoidance.

If you're asking powerful questions and all you're getting back is one word answers, odds are you're going down a track that the other person is not interested in pursuing.

In addition to single words answers, it is not unusual for the other person to provide partial answers as they omit the details in an attempt to avoid complete disclosure. In many cases, the omitted information is exactly what you want to learn, but they are not yet comfortable sharing. Make a quick mental note and find a way to come back to that point later in the discussion.

Caution:  Rapport building should never feel like an interrogation. Remember that your objective is to get to know as much about them by letting them know and feel that you care about what is in their best interest.

By asking questions that show a genuine interest in the other person’s wants, needs, and interests, they are more likely to open up to you.


4) L - Learn
Learning how to build rapport is about trying things, watching and listening, observing the end result and learning from it so that you adjust your approach the next time.

There's no one right way, or a magic process to building rapport so it is important to learn what works for you and the situations you work in.

Become an ACTIVE student of rapport building:
  • Learn what works for you with different people and different situations
  • Become more aware of how others react to you
  • Try new approaches when encountering roadblocks
  • After each attempt at rapport building do a critical assessment
  • Watch how others build rapport
Less than one month after Emily began focusing on removing the WALL with her team, people who were distant became engaged both personally and professionally, and overall team performance began to improve.

Become a student of building rapport and over time you will see your ability to generate rapport will develop quickly and your success rate skyrocket.

************************************************************************************************************************

Mark A. Vickers
Mark A. Vickers is a Certified Professional Coach, a Gitomer Certified Advisor, and Certified World Class Speaking Coach. 
Mark is a communications consultant focused on helping you
and your organization achieve Excellence through improved communication and speaking skills.  He is known for creating and delivering specialized and innovative programs to help his clients.  For more information about Mark and his workshops, consulting, certification programs, please visit: http://speakingisselling.com/

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Premiere #1 Limousine Service Adds 56-Passenger Motorcoach

 56-Passenger Motorcoach

Premiere #1 Limousine Service recently purchased their first 56-passenger motorcoach, which brings Premiere’s fleet of sedans, limousines, SUVs, mini-buses, motorcoaches, and party buses to more than 45 vehicles.

“Over the last 2 years, Premiere #1 Limousine Service added five 40 and 48 passenger mini-buses. These mini-buses have been great additions, but they have their limitations. The addition of our first 56 passenger motorcoach was a natural progression” said Douglas Rydbom, Sr. Member of Premiere #1 Limousine Service.

The new 2015 model year Volvo 9700 motorcoach was bought from Prevost dealer David Schmidt in New Jersey. Premiere #1 Limousine Service is located in a region that ranks fourth among 49 destination marketing areas in Pennsylvania for total visitor spending. 657 million of the total 2.33 billion in visitor spending is spent on transportation.

Rydbom says the demand for motorcoach transportation in the Hershey/Harrisburg region is strong. “I experience the demand first-hand on a daily basis. I don’t like having to turn away guests, but the supply in our fleet and our affiliate’s fleet doesn’t exist. We hope that by gradually adding additional motorcoaches, we can service this market adequately.”

*********************************************************************************

About Premier #1 Limousine Service
Premiere #1 Limousine Service has provided luxury transportation services in Central PA for 14 years. In March 2009, a new owner acquired the business and has since expanded the fleet to include S and E class Mercedes, SUVs, passenger vans, corporate limousines, minibuses and luxury motor coaches. With a combined total of 35+ years in the transportation industry, the principals have a highly capable and experienced management team in place. Our discerning, upscale clients demand safety, quality, and exceptional value, which we consistently deliver. For more info go to Premiere1Limousine.com, or call 717-616-8995.

TLC & Council Speaker Mark Viverito Join to Launch Video Message

Video Refusal
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC), with the invaluable assistance of NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and NYC Media, today launched a public service announcement (PSA) to highlight the issue of service refusal by drivers of both yellow medallion taxicabs and Street Hail Liveries (green "Boro Cabs", or SHLs). The PSA will be seen and heard throughout the city's fleet of more than 20,000 yellow and green cabs, and will also be available through the TLC's web site and on the agency's YouTube channel. Speaker Mark Viverito provided voiceover narration for the PSA.

The goal of the PSA is to raise awareness of passengers' rights with respect to service refusal, and it visually portrays examples of certain refusal types, while encouraging viewers to report any instances of service refusal they may experience. New York City law provides that medallion taxicabs and Boro Cabs must transport ALL passengers to any mandatory destinations. For yellow cabs, that is within the five boroughs, Nassau and Westchester Counties, or the three regional airports. For Boro Cabs, the areas in Manhattan south of East 96th Street and West 110th Street, or JFK or LGA airports, are excluded for street hail service, but they, too, must transport passengers to all mandatory taxi destinations as described above.

"Taxi service is for all New Yorkers," said TLC Commissioner and Chair Meera Joshi. "There are few violations more viscerally hurtful and offensive than service refusal. This PSA will highlight the issue by showing what a refusal looks like and encouraging people to report it so that we can take action. I would like to thank NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito for giving voice to this important effort. Thanks also to Council Member Jumaane Williams, for his strong advocacy on this issue."

"Every borough, neighborhood, and community in our great city has something unique to offer," said Council Speaker Mark Viverito, "and taxis should always be ready to help take you there. We want to remind all passengers that drivers cannot refuse fares based destination - and if they do, to report the incident to 311. Taxis are one of the best ways to experience the Big Apple, and I thank the Taxi and Limousine Commission for its efforts to ensure that New Yorkers can rely on taxis for transport to any zip code in New York City."

"In order to ensure taxi and for-hire drivers provide the services required, we must first make sure that citizens know their rights," said City Council Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez. "With this PSA, we will educate every New Yorker of the protections the City has given them and give them the mechanism to report violations. With more New Yorkers reporting violations, drivers will think twice before they refuse a passenger because of their race gender or ethnicity."

After demonstrating several service refusal experiences, the PSA concludes with a description of the different methods for contacting 311 and the vital information necessary to file a complaint. Once a refusal complaint is filed with 311, the TLC investigates and, using data collected via the vehicle's
 GPS-enabled technology systems, determines if the driver's actions were in fact a service refusal.

To view the Passenger Refusal PSA, visit here: http://www.nyc.gov/taxi, or more directly at

*********************************************************************************

About the NYC TLC:

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) was created in 1971, and is the agency responsible for the regulation and licensing of over 200,000 yellow medallion taxicabs and for-hire vehicles, their drivers, and the businesses that operate and support their industries. It is recognized as the largest and most active taxi and limousine regulatory body in the United States. To find out more about the TLC, or to review its rules and procedures, we encourage you to visit our official Web site at www.nyc.gov/taxi<http://www.nyc.gov/taxi> or contact 311/311 Online.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Registration For the 2015 TLPA Mid-Year International Leadership Conference is Now Open

Registration is open for this year's TLPA (Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association) Mid-Year International Leadership Conference, scheduled for July 15 - 18, 2015 in the beautiful land of Relentless Sun, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii. To access the online registration form click here. This year attendees will be treated to our Welcome Cocktail Reception on Wednesday evening, breakfast on Thursday, AND on Thursday evening, an authentic luau banquet.

Please remember to make your hotel reservations soon before the TLPA room block is sold out. The room rate is $263 per day, plus taxes and resort fee. Click here to go to the TLPA website for instructions on how to make your hotel reservation, and to see everything that is covered in your resort fee.

Attached is a copy of the current agenda and the conference registration form for your convenience.

For more details and to register for the conference, please visit the TLPA website (www.tlpa.org)
or contact Michelle Jasper, Manager of Meetings at mjasper@tlpa.org or (301) 984-5700.

Meridian Specialty Vehicles, Inc. Announces Availability of its SkyVue™ Convertible Glass Top Tour Buses

Meridian Specialty Vehicles, Inc.
Meridian Specialty Vehicles, Inc., a Mercedes-Benz® Preferred bus manufacturer of Las Vegas, NV, today announced availability of its long awaited SkyVue glass-top convertible Mercedes-Benz Sprinter bus designed specifically for the sightseeing and tour industries.

The patented and proprietary SkyVue glass top convertible bus will be available in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean on the 170”-Extended wheelbase 3500 model Sprinter in several 16 to 20 passenger configurations. The glass roof system, which replaces the factory upper walls and roof converts a bus into a mobile panoramic touring machine like no other. The roof system replaces the factory structure, opens and retracts with the touch of a button and incorporates several safety features to prevent injury or damage to the system. The roof can be fully opened or closed in about 30 seconds and is completely water and air tight when closed so sudden weather or temperature changes are never an issue.

“Since announcing the product in March we have been inundated by inquiries from operators throughout North America with an incredibly diverse range of applications”, says David Ronsen, President and CEO of Meridian, “The experience of riding in a Sprinter fitted with the SkyVue glass top - open or closed - is truly exhilarating. The SkyVue bus literally creates new markets in the tour and other transportation industries that simply were not in reach before now. From New York City to the Grand Canyon and wine country to New England “leaf peepers” applications, tour companies will now have a platform from which they can distinguish themselves from their competition and provide a one of a kind touring experience for the masses or for their most exclusive VIP clientele and in any climate, season or weather condition.”

Included in the 100+ available options are several oversized air conditioner and heater options to ensure passenger comfort in virtually any climate. The system has been tested extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East and is now being made available in North America.

SkyVue buses will be available through select Meridian dealers. MSRP for the M716, 16 passenger model is $145,550.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Winston Transportation Celebrates 42nd Year in Business

Winston Transportation Group

In this competitive transportation service industry, it can be difficult to stay ahead of the rest.

This is not the case for family owned-and-operated Winston Transportation, who is delighted to be celebrating their 42nd year in business this July.

Servicing the Long Island and New York area since 1973, Winston holds the high honor of being America’s first door-to-door shared ride airport service. Winston’s founder Martin Laschever took a leap of faith with his idea when he sold his small taxi service “Tootsie Taxi” to start his new business. Many people were going to the airport by taxis (private service), but his was a revolutionary new concept, never before thought of. “To be the first organization in United States to provide shared ride, door-to-door service to the airport is a badge of honor that Winston is proud of and does not take lightly,” says Michael Laschever, Martin’s son and the President of the company.

Today, Winston Transportation Group is the premier transportation company in the New York Metropolitan area, offering quality service at reasonable rates. Winston services the LaGuardia, JFK, Newark and Islip Airports as well as the Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Bayonne cruiseports. Winston also does corporate work for three Fortune 500 companies and event service for weddings and wine tours.

Winston has accumulated one of the largest fleet of vehicles in the region, including black sedans, stretch limousines, buses/motorcoaches, and passenger vans, and every guest is driven by a trained, professional chauffeur. Winston has also been a member of the GO Transportation Group for seven years now.

To learn more about Winston Transportation or to book a reservation, visit their website or call 631-924-1200.

Macquarie Group to Acquire Transportation Finance Firm Advantage Funding

Advantage Funding


Macquarie Group Limited (ASX: MQG; ADR: MQBKY) today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Advantage Funding Management Co., Inc (Advantage Funding) from Marubeni America Corporation. Under the agreement, Advantage Funding will become a fully owned subsidiary of Macquarie’s Corporate and Asset Finance group (CAF).

Advantage Funding is a leading provider of transportation financing and leasing solutions servicing commercial and vehicle operators, dealers and manufacturers. Their solutions allow for the acquisition of tow trucks, ambulances, para-transit vehicles, coaches, limousines and vocational trucks across municipal and industrial operations.

CAF Group Head Garry Farrell said: “This transaction complements our existing leasing portfolio with a commercial vehicle finance platform in the US. Advantage Funding has a demonstrated track record of client satisfaction and strong operational performance. The acquisition builds on the strong growth of CAF’s global leasing business.”

Advantage Funding’s Chief Executive Officer, Al Damiani, said: “We look forward to working with Macquarie to provide our customers with a broader range of transportation financing solutions and product capacity. Macquarie’s complementary leasing and financing expertise will help us expand our service in US markets and position us to further support our clients’ continued growth.”

The transaction is expected to close in mid 2015, subject to customary closing conditions.

*********************************************************************************

About Macquarie
Macquarie Group Limited (Macquarie) is a global provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and funds management services. Founded in 1969, Macquarie operates in more than 28 countries and employs more than 14,000 people. Assets under management total approximately $A486.3 billion as of March 31, 2015.

Corporate and Asset Finance (CAF) Group engages Macquarie Bank Limited's balance sheet to provide tailored finance and asset management solutions. As of March 31, 2015 CAF had $A28.7 billion globally in loans and leases under management across a range of sectors including motor vehicles, commercial aircraft, mining equipment, technology equipment and corporate and real estate lending.

About Advantage Funding
Advantage Funding, based in Lake Success, New York, founded in 1997, is dedicated to providing equipment financing and leasing solutions for ground transportation to support vehicle dealers, distributors, manufacturers, and end users nationwide. The funder also provides debt financing for established Buy Here Pay Here/Lease Here Pay Here dealers.

Featured Ad

The Latest

Association and Event Calendar