Paul Arcediano was selling ads for a radio station in Austin, Texas when his mother told him about a new, successful party bus company that had opened up back home in Baton Rouge, La. Realizing that Austin had nothing like that, Arcediano got an SBA loan from a banker in his Rotary Club and transformed two school buses into disco-themed party buses with karaoke. He named his new venture Rockin Ride, which has since evolved into R&R Limousine and Bus.
In 2005, Arcediano partnered with a large limo company in Austin to help manage his operations. He realized over time that the company wasn’t focused on customer service and took back the operation in September 2007. In November, he bought several minibuses for corporate accounts and event planners. By December, he met with a bus company going out of business with the intent of learning about their mistakes so he could avoid them. He ended up buying its phone number and saw his call volume shoot up from 10 to 100 calls per day. He discovered later that the business did just about $2 million in revenue before its demise.
Right place, right number
Arcediano went on a buying spree to meet the new demand and grew from three buses to 15 vehicles in less than a year. He acknowledges that he was in the right place at the right time to receive the phone number, but believes that if he hadn’t learned his lessons about poor customer service and vehicle maintenance and how the lack thereof can cripple a business, his company wouldn’t be around today.
“Our staff works tirelessly to provide prompt quote responses, honest communication, competitive prices, and detailed reservation information,” he says. “Our vehicles are clean, safe and well-maintained, and our chauffeurs look and act professional, arrive at pick-up locations on time, and know where they’re going.”
R&R Limousine and Bus has grown to more than 70 vehicles to help serve its client base of DMCs, event planners, hotels, corporations, affiliates and retail customers. Because Austin is a high-tech town, the company focuses on Internet advertising.
Buy new, not used
Arcediano says he also learned to buy new vehicles instead of fixing up old ones. The three minibuses he bought in 2007 were 2001 models. During an event at Dell Inc. founder Michael Dell’s house, the buses could not make it up the hill, so the passengers had to get out and walk up. “The next day I traded them in, bought new ones and haven’t bought a used bus since,” he says.
R&R Limousine and Bus expanded with a shared-ride airport shuttle division and has been chosen as the preferred airport van service for South by Southwest, or SXSW, an international film, emerging technology and music festival held in Austin that attracts about 200,000 people annually. R&R will add 10 to 20 vehicles this year specifically for that business. The company also has purchased 6.5 acres by the Austin Airport with hopes of moving in by December, and it recently selected Livery Coach as its software of choice.
With the help of the NLA, Arcediano was able to start the Central Limousine Association, the first association in the central Texas region. “We are adding new members each month and it’s been a great experience,” Arcediano says.
Read More: LCTMag