When I lived in Charlottesville, Virginia, and worked as the director of nonprofit focused on advancing green transportation solutions, I remember a local guy starting up a “green chauffeur” service. He was basically just using Toyota Prii, since they were one of the most efficient cars around at the time. (This was before the Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt, and every other plug-in car on the market.) I thought the idea was fairly cool — if people were going to use chauffeur services, they may as well be green!
I talked with the guy on a few occasions and learned a bit about his ideas, his approach to the whole thing, and some of the business challenges. Someone recently reached out to us about writing a story on this topic, and all of this came rushing back to me. In the vein of sister site Ecopreneurist’s “Green Business Ideas” series, I figured I’d run down a short list of some key tips for a green chauffeur service.
1) It’s got to be a plug-in.
A Prius may have been considered green back in 2007, but that doesn’t fly these days. All of the most-efficient cars on the market are plug-in cars. 100% electrics top the list, of course, but right behind them are plug-in hybrid electric cars. The EPA actually now has a separate list for most fuel-efficient non-electric cars. To put it in a little more perspective, the Toyota Prius tops that non-electric list with 50 MPG, while the top of the overall list is the Chevy Spark EV with a MPGe rating of 119! #10 on the overall list is the plug-in hybrid electric Chevy Volt at 62 MPGe.
2) You’ve got to show people you’re special.
The chauffeur service business is not the easiest to break into. There’s plenty of competition, and a lot of people have their go-to service that they stick with for years. You really have to differentiate yourself in order to come into the market these days and do well. Of course, with a super-efficient, green, plug-in car, you can market yourself based on your environmental benefits. That’s certainly useful to an extent, but I think more useful would be emphasizing the futuristic, quiet, smooth drive of your Nissan LEAF, Tesla Model S, BMW i3, Ford Fusion Energi, Mercedes B-Class Electric, etc. (Of course, the Model S would be most attractive if you want to aim at the luxury segment.)
3) Money matters.
Being green and cool doesn’t cut it for a lot of people — a lot of people want a low price. With the fuel efficiency of a plug-in car, however, and given that your cars would likely see a lot of miles, your fleet’s lifetime costs would likely come in lower than a gasmobile’s. Crunch the numbers and pass on some of those savings to your customers so that you can underbid your competitors.
There’s a reason I’m convinced an electric revolution is on its way, and one of those is that electric vehicles are more cost-efficient… while also offering a nicer ride.
4) Get your insurance in order.
That’s the fun stuff, but you also have to manage some nuts and bolts issues related to such a business. Aside from typical stuff related to setting up shop, one important thing to keep in mind is that you’re going to need a more advanced insurance policy than what you have for normal personal driving.
Chauffeur insurance policies aren’t cheap, and that makes it imperative for you to find out means of mitigating these costs. From what I’ve read, technology can actually help with that as well. You can apparently land some savings on chauffeur insurance policies simply by using gadgets that insurance companies value. State-of-the art security technology are especially beneficial here.
I’m told that even a small fleet of about 50 vehicles can expect to pay $100,000 less in insurance premiums per year just by installing a certain camera device in each vehicle! Considering that these savings will repeat for several years, the financial sense of opting for such tech solutions for your vehicles can’t be questioned. Moreover, there are gadgets such as GPS trackers that can take the insurance prices further down the value ladder. Apart from the decreased expenses of insurance policies, a chauffeur service can of course benefit a lot form such gadgets in terms of reduced accidents, lower chances you will have your vehicles stolen, and mitigated chances of chauffeurs deliberately bumping the vehicles to benefit from personal injury claims.
As with all things, online comparison shopping can help you to find the best insurance policies. A chauffeur service company really has to be living in a world from decades back on the timeline if it still doesn’t compare policy premiums online before finalizing an insurance service provider. There is so much competition in the insurance market, across all product categories, that there is pretty much always a great deal waiting around the corner. A chauffeured cars business is a huge client for any insurance form, and that lands the power of negotiation with the former. Check out policy rate comparison websites, but also don’t forget the old-fashioned business of haggling/negotiation.
Sponsored content provided by Plan Insurance UK.
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