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In NYC it's a black car. In LA it's....

Town Car Service Los Angeles

What’s the difference between an black car service and a town car service?

The only difference is where the person talking about it is from. New Yorkers have used the term “black car service” for many years. Somehow, the trend naver made it to the west coast. Californians really have no unified terms for what we do. There is an assumption that a limo service is just one thing. This is patently not true. There are many types of limo companies that bet bulked in to the same terms and people just assume we are all the same.

Some companies have fleets of sedans and SUVs while others have fleets solely comprised of stretch limos and party buses. Still others have fleets comprised solely of Mercedes Sprinter vans and some have more of a variation of all of the above. We would consider these full service limo companies.

The other big variation in the types of companies that offer liveried transportation (the actual term) is whether the do retail service or wholesale service. HTCL has always been a retail service. That means we are in direct contact with our clients and potential clients and do client acquisition on our own through many different avenues including our website and pages like this one. 

Other vendors are more wholesale or ‘fulfillment’ companies that have vehicles and drivers but no marketing arm. Their service may bas as good or better than some retail companies but they solely take trips as what we in the limo business call “farm in”. This means that they deal only with retail limo companies and provide fulfilment for any trips that the retailers can’t cover on their own.

 

What are the different sizes of livery companies?

Within the terms we have outlined above, there are also several sizes of limo company. Some may be retailers and some may be wholesalers. Here is a short list of the types of companies we have run across in our time in the industry:

  • Dispatch Service Provider “DSP”
    A DSP is a company with no vehicles or drivers. The simply aggregate business and use other, licensed TCP companies for fulfillment. Most states including California do not allow this type of service although one could get around that by owning and maintaining at least one commercial vehicle with a TCP number.
  • Owner Operator or “OO”
    These are small companies with one car and one driver. 
  • Independent Operator or “IO”
    These are also small companies but they usually have a few different vehicles and a small number of drivers. 
  • Small Fleet Companies
    This title speaks for itself. The sweet spot for this type of company is about 5 vehicles. If the operator is smart, these can be incredibly profitable enterprises especially if they continue to maintain a small fleet and use IOs or OOs for overflow. What usually happens is these companies want to be larger and their overhead kills them.
  • Medium Fleet Companies
    Running from around 10 to 15 vehicles, these companies can have a tough time of things as they need a lot of staff to maintain thier business. At this lever you must have a dispatch office with staff, a parking lot big enough to house your entire fleet and in-house vehicle maintenance staff.
  • Large Fleet Companies
    These larger companies are heavily invested and have 20 cars and up. Some have as many as 50 or 100 vehicles and all of the ancillary infrastructure to support their business as well as a corporate management team and an outside sales team that works on commission. These companies will usually be quite expensive for the end user as their overhead is so high.
  • National or International Companies
    These are the big players in livery such as Empire CLS, Carey International, Boston Coach etc. They have offices or large affiliate offices in majopr cities in the US and around the world. Some are better than others but they all have very high rates to support thier massive operations.

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