After 27 years of managing a successful ground transportation business, Gary Day has acquired valued relationships with customers, partners and financing providers. In this digital age of fast efficiency, caring about people is the key reason American Limousines keeps growing. It is also why Day continues to enjoy his work.
Day launched his company in 1990, with one sedan, and now has a meticulously maintained fleet of 40 vehicles along with motor coaches for groups and out-of-town trips with 80 to 100 drivers primarily serving the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. corridor.
He relies on three key things: “great drivers, great customers and the ability to fill everyone’s needs.”
Over the years, American Limousines also has relied upon Madison Capital to finance its on-site car wash as well as a variety of limousines and buses.
“They contacted us about 12-13 years ago; and, we didn’t know who Madison was, but I discovered we used the same lawyer,” said Day. “We did a loan and then at some point I met Nancy (Pistorio, now president), he adds. “We became kindred spirits. She’ll ask my opinion about cars; and, I’ll call her on things I know she can help me with.”
They meet at industry shows, such as the recent Chauffeur Driven event in Orlando, and when American Limousines has extra Baltimore Orioles baseball tickets, Day will share them with Pistorio. In turn, Madison Capital frequently calls on American Limousines for its own transportation needs.
Day also prefers to do business with other local companies as a way of contributing to the local economy. “I saw a number of competitors go out of business because their service was limited to special events, which were trimmed by both consumers and businesses during the recession.” A turning point for American Limousines was when a local hospital was under reconstruction and needed to provide transportation for its employees who had to park remotely during that time. Day responded by increasing his coach bus capacity which helped spark another line of business.
At 58, Day reflects on how things have changed. One change he notices is how often people book transportation at the last minute, whereas before the Internet it seemed his customers were more methodical in advance planning. He sometimes feels annoyed when drivers overly rely on GPS and may fail to realize alternative routes because they don’t have the same awareness as drivers who read maps in earlier days.
A typical business day involves getting people to and from airports, to school sports teams events, and managing ground transportation for weddings, cruise ships and special occasions. Over the years, American Limousines has enjoyed serving celebrities and also has responded to emergencies, such as the time when a Jet Blue airplane with mechanical problems needed a bus to quickly transport passengers from Baltimore to JFK in New York for connections.
“We’ll never say no unless it’s impossible,” he said.
Day was first introduced to limousines when he reached legal drinking age and his mother stressed the importance of getting transportation for any drinking occasions. His sister had been killed by a drunk driver so even at this young age he didn’t take his mother’s warning lightly. Day said the limo passenger services he and his friends used back then were so varied that he decided to strive for consistency. He began his company to ensure customers would have a clean, professional and friendly experience.
“It’s all about treating everyone like they are your best friend,” he said, adding this is what he likes about his relationship with Madison Capital as well. “They are small enough to give you that personalized service, yet sophisticated and big enough for e-documents and good pricing that make transactions easy.”