It is no secret that the COVID-19 epidemic has had a huge impact on the world of business, with companies of all sizes and industries needing to be resilient and adapt in order to survive. However, no industry has been hit harder than private hire, with limo hire and chauffeur car journeys understandably not deemed ‘essential travel’.

Where many businesses in the sector will have no choice but to fold, others are using lockdown as a way to exercise their creativity, creating opportunities out of these strange times.

Below, we look at several firms and the ways in which they are modifying their business models in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.

James Limousines

James Limousines is a popular limo hire provider that boasts locations in Williamsburg and Newport News. Known for offering high-end chauffeur services for business trips, airport transfers and weddings, business for them has ground to a halt. While used to conducting 75 trips a day, the company is down to just 2; something that is having a huge impact on income.

“I would say 80 percent of our business is corporate business which has come to a halt right now,” said Hope Newcomb, partner and CEO of the firm.

“That’s kind of a wait and see game,” Newcomb said. “It’s hitting the wedding industry as well pretty hard. We have 42 drivers, had to go down to 39. We had to lay off all of our office staff.”

With the extra time the business now finds itself with, it has decided to hold virtual sales seminars as well as clean up their vehicles and conduct maintenance work. For the trips that they are still running, they are providing hand sanitiser to passengers and sanitising the cars themselves.

“You have to take it day by day because so much is evolving and changing and there’s so much that’s unknown,” Newcomb said. “That’s the hard part because there is so much that is unknown.”

“We’re trying to stay strong, we’ll be here when we all come out of this.”

VA Executive Sedan and Limousine Service

Operating from Virginia Beach, VA Executive and Sedan Limousine Service also finds itself with a rapid decline in business, with March and April usually being the busiest months of the year for the company.

In order to combat these challenging times, the business has had no choice but to cut its workforce with the hope to bring them back once business has picked up post-lockdown.

“It’s gotten us where it hurts” says Abdou Brahim; the business owner.

“Obviously everyone gets hit by this, but different businesses have different effects than others. Even if people wanted to rent a limo for a birthday or something, where are they going to go?”

In order to adapt, the business is hiring out more of its stretched limos and larger cars, allowing there to be space between passengers who want to social distance but still need to get around and travel.

How are you adapting?

If you have a hire business that is effectively navigating itself through lockdown, we would love to hear your story. Leave your comments below!

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