Starting 30 years ago as a part-time chauffeur with O’Hare-Midway Limousine Service, I have had the good fortune to see the limousine industry mature from a few different angles.
Early in my career, I drove Cadillac “factory stretches” that – in some cases – were probably held together by the multiple layers of paint used to hold back rust. Demand for limousines far exceeded supply, so there was never a shortage of customers or hours behind the wheel.
As time passed, O’Hare-Midway changed ownership and the long and expensive process of upgrading the fleet began. Around this time, policies were instituted to reduce the amount of hours chauffeurs spent behind the wheel. Our position went from “customers as a source of revenue” to “clients as a valued commodity”. Our clientele began to change as well. When I started, people didn’t expect much, mostly just a ride to their destination. But as we got into the late 80’s, the desire for high-quality service prompted limousine companies to upgrade everything from chauffeurs to procedures. Those that didn’t were left in the dust.
Being a premier company within our industry isn’t something we’ve ever taken for granted, which is why we have never settled for easy fixes. The owners and management of OML have always made it a point to weigh decisions carefully, not for their success in the short term, but rather…how they will impact our business and clients in the future. We could have made a lot more money with those old, beat up rust buckets. However, we realized that a more sustainable option was to create a company that people were comfortable with. We incorporated a culture of “client first” to ensure the most positive customer experience, with a strong customer support and retention philosophy in the event something went wrong. We continue to follow this path today, and do so for years to come.
O’Hare-Midway has been successful in the Chicagoland limousine market for 57 years…and counting. If that’s not a marathon, I don’t know what is.
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