Wendy Kleefisch, owner of Brevard Executive Limousine, has steadily grown her successful chauffeured transportation company over the past seven years.
Based in Melbourne, FL, this blossoming female-owned company is committed to delivering a highly personalized service that exceeds the expectations of every client. Wendy recently let us pick her brain about her journey, her business strategies, and her many industry insights.
Tell us about your company.
Brevard Executive Limousine specializes in corporate accounts, and proudly serves the Space and Treasure Coasts of the Central Florida region. The company was established in 2006 with one Town Car L sedan, and has grown into a small six-vehicle fleet, adding one vehicle per year.
What brought you to Florida?
I’m originally from Honolulu, HI, and I am a graduate of the University of Hawaii with an Associate’s degree in Business Management. From Hawaii, I traveled to the East Coast to be closer to my mom and check out the Sunshine State, and I just fell in love with the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s a very rewarding feeling to wake up every morning and know you will be working for yourself. It’s incredibly empowering, and I encourage any woman who is wondering if she can start her own business to believe in herself.
What industry background did you have?
In the late 1990s, I was working part-time for a company called All Occasion Limousine. They are no longer in business, but I learned a lot from their general manager, and decided during my time there that I really enjoyed driving people. After seven years of working for other companies, I decided to believe in myself and my passion: beautiful black cars, and my own limousine company.
What strengths did you bring to the company?
Growing up in Hawaii is where I learned a lot about hospitality, being a greeter at the airport. I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I went back to school to study for a Criminal Justice degree. I worked in a variety of industries, from law enforcement, to detail jobs, security jobs, and eventually limousine jobs. After working for All Occasion for many years, and deciding it was time for me to open my own business, I brought with me the knowledge of how to turn a one-time client into a lifelong client, which was a definite advantage as I opened my own doors! It’s a very simple concept: treat clients the way you would like to be treated—everyone is a VIP, no exceptions.
What challenges does your location present?
Well, in such a small town—it’s only one mile long—it is incredibly important to network, and you really need to get your company name out there to help you do that. If you are in a location with similar challenges, I highly recommend you join the National Limousine Association (NLA), as well as your state association and your local association if you have one. The Florida Limousine Association (FLA) and Greater Orlando Livery Association (GOLA) have helped us enormously. They provide us with up to date information on regulation changes and DOT news, and offer us the best networking opportunities in the business.
What was your launch and marketing strategy in the early days?
In addition to joining and participating in the associations, as I’ve already mentioned, not growing too big too fast has helped keep me in business, and definitely remains a winning strategy as we navigate through these tough economic times. Social media is also huge for Brevard Executive Limousine. You can find us on Linked In, Facebook, and Twitter—these are all free search engines to help market your company on a tight budget.
What do you think separates you from the competition?
Brevard Executive has a diverse fleet of late-model sedans, SUVs and stretch limousines, so we have a vehicle for any occasion. We offer transportation to Orlando International Airport (MCO), Melbourne International Airport (MLB), and Port Canaveral. Our uniformed chauffeurs are licensed, permitted and trained to make sure you have a flawless experience every time, whether you’re an executive or a tourist.
Since you started in this industry, what has surprised you the most about the industry?
One of the most surprising obstacles I’ve encountered since opening was my company name. The word “limousine” is somewhat taboo in the corporate world of transportation, so I immediately filed a DBA as Brevard Executive Transportation to secure my government contracts.
Any words of wisdom or advice for other women in the industry?
It’s a very rewarding feeling to wake up every morning and know you will be working for yourself. It’s incredibly empowering, and I encourage any woman who is wondering if she can start her own business to believe in herself. //LD
About Brevard Executive Limousine
LOCATION: Melbourne, FL
SERVING: Melbourne, Port Canaveral, Orlando
FLEET: L Series Sedans, SUVs, and stretches.
An active member of the National Limousine Association, Florida Limousine Association and the Greater Orlando Livery Association.