Farming Out

Many companies have guarantees they are known for. Costco lets you return anything, anytime. Dawn dishwashing liquid gives you double your money back if you are unhappy with their product. Nordstrom offers free shipping and free returns. And in the ground transportation industry, we have an unwritten, unspoken guarantee: we will never turn down a trip.

Sometimes, however, this guarantee is a goal, not a practice. No one wants to turn down business, but what do you do when it’s last minute and all your chauffeurs are booked? Or if the trip is outside your service area? And even if you as the owner want to say yes to all trips, sometimes your overnight dispatcher says no to the client. It’s just too hard to reschedule everything that has been carefully mapped out for tomorrow.

Fortunately, there is a solution: farm out your overflow trips. Our industry is unique in that competitors often have to rely on each other—it’s the rare company that can cover every trip, in every location, in any kind of vehicle. Even with this option, some operators are hesitant to farm out, for these reasons:

  1. They don’t have a reliable stable of companies they feel comfortable farming out to.

This is a real concern—you don’t want to put your clients in irresponsible hands. Attend industry events to cultivate trusted affiliate partners, and join a reputable affiliate network.

  • They are worried they may end up losing money.

It is possible you might lose money on a single run you farm out, but if you participate freely, other times you will be on the receiving end.

  • They are concerned that they might lose clients to the affiliate.

First, if you turn down the ride, you are more likely to lose the client—probably to an app that can send them a ride in 10 minutes. Second, if the affiliate offers better service than you do, it can be a motivation to raise your game.

We are fortunate to have a culture of farming out in our industry. Most companies don’t have that luxury—if McDonald’s runs out of burgers, Wendy’s is not going to loan them any. Take advantage of this practice to retain your clients and build goodwill with your ground transportation colleagues.

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