David Ramos of Limo Plus on life on the road

For David and Jo-Ann Ramos, es­tab­lish­ing Limo Plus, has been one long jour­ney of drive and am­bi­tion – and yes, sac­ri­fice. And they’re not done yet.

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It takes an ex­traor­di­nary com­bi­na­tion of gump­tion, good tim­ing and the abil­ity to spot an op­por­tu­nity when they see one to be­come a suc­cess. For David Ramos, one half of the duo that es­tab­lished Limo Plus, things fell into place 21 years ago when he had a “light­bulb mo­ment”, as he calls it.

He was be­tween jobs and work­ing free­lance as a chauf­feur for a friend’s boyfriend’s com­pany. “Within a very short space of time I could see how un­re­li­able and un­pro­fes­sional the in­dus­try was,” he re­calls. “I was shocked and dis­ap­pointed that pas­sen­gers ac­cepted late, dirty cars and chauf­feurs didn’t re­spect the job, them­selves or the pas­sen­gers.”

A few months into the job, he came to a re­al­i­sa­tion: “I re­mem­bered some­thing the great Richard Bran­son said. ‘Fol­low in the foot­steps of those who are suc­cess­ful, and you will suc­ceed’. This guy I was work­ing for was suc­cess­ful and was do­ing it so wrong.” Long story short, Limo Plus was born.

The road trip be­gins

It wasn’t easy, of course. One thing the cou­ple had go­ing was a fear­less­ness and a can-do at­ti­tude.

“I worked as a sub-con­trac­tor for var­i­ous chauf­feur com­pa­nies. I said yes to ev­ery job I could do and worked hard at build­ing a re­li­able rep­u­ta­tion to the point where pas­sen­gers were re­quest­ing me by name to drive them. It was hard work but ex­cit­ing. The big­gest re­ward was be­ing able to take Jo-Ann out for din­ner and not wor­ry­ing about the bill for the first time.”

Within three months Limo Plus had their first client – the hote­lier Ken McCul­loch of Mal­mai­son and Dakota ho­tel chains. “He’s still a client to­day and a very dear friend. He has seen us go from strength to strength and gave us guid­ance and sup­port dur­ing the hard and dif­fi­cult times.”

The lit­tle firm that could

From that hum­ble be­gin­ning, Limo Plus flour­ished. The firm now has a small fleet of lux­ury cars and chauf­feurs in Lon­don and ma­jor cities world­wide. The Limo Plus fleet in­cludes the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, S-Class and V-Class cars, Range Rover, Bent­ley and lux­u­ri­ous minibuses and coaches for large par­ties, all of which give clients the air-con­di­tioned lux­ury and com­fort they ex­pect. The suc­cess of the com­pany meant that Jo-Ann could quit her job and de­vote time to the busi­ness. Sat­is­fied clients led to more re­fer­rals, un­til they even­tu­ally man­aged to pen­e­trate the pri­vate jet in­dus­try.

“In 1999, I had a meet­ing with one of the ex­ec­u­tives at Flex­jet and they agreed to try us and that was a very suc­cess­ful re­la­tion­ship,” re­calls Ramos. “Through the jet in­dus­try I met the owner of a pre­mier pri­vate eq­uity and credit in­vest­ment firm who in­sisted we work with his of­fice and team in Lon­don. That was in 2001 and we are still work­ing with them to­day.”

Team­work

Limo Plus now cov­ers 115 cities around the world, with an ex­pe­ri­enced and ded­i­cated op­er­a­tions team in Lon­don de­liv­er­ing a per­son­alised and pri­vate ser­vice. “With JoAnn by my side we were able to build and grow the busi­ness to a level where we were able to in­tro­duce our ser­vices in parts of Europe through a net­work of part­ners.”

Ramos cred­its the com­pany’s suc­cess to the per­son­alised ser­vice they of­fer. “We work to­gether in an open of­fice along­side our great op­er­a­tions team, in­clud­ing pro­ject man­agers and event co­or­di­na­tors. All are spe­cial­ists in their field and are well versed in han­dling un­planned even­tu­al­i­ties. When you call Limo Plus you will al­ways speak with a friendly and fa­mil­iar mem­ber of the team who knows you. And any­one want­ing a ser­vice like ours can find us at www.limo­plus.co.uk.” All these fac­tors have given the com­pany the high­est suc­cess rate in the in­dus­try.

As a chauf­feur ser­vice, Limo Plus cov­ers com­mer­cial and pri­vate jet air­port trans­fers, fi­nan­cial road­shows, spe­cial events, day and evening hires, wed­dings and other oc­ca­sions clients might need their ser­vices for.

Go­ing the ex­tra mile

But the chauf­feur ser­vice is only the first part of their name. “The per­sonal part of our ser­vice and the Plus in Limo Plus is all about what we can do for the client out­side of the nor­mal,” he re­veals. And just how out­ra­geous do the re­quests get? “We have picked up a pet ea­gle from a coun­try es­tate to take to an­other coun­try es­tate. Only a few days ago we had to buy a six pack of salt and vine­gar McCoys crisps and get them on a pri­vate jet over to Paris for one of our very fa­mous clients. When Her­mes brought out the Birkin we had to source hand­bags and have them de­liv­ered to a client’s wife in Mi­lan. We have ar­ranged tick­ets to sold out shows, looked af­ter client’s apart­ments, dog sat and even drove a client’s wed­ding dress from Lon­don to Geneva.” The list goes on.

Tak­ing to the skies?

So what’s next for Limo Plus? “We never ex­pected to be where we are to­day,” re­flects Ramos. “It has been a jour­ney and taken us in a di­rec­tion we never imag­ined. We have the most amaz­ing clients, and some have be­come great friends. It has given us a priv­i­leged life com­pared to where we started.” On sec­ond thought, though, per­haps Limo Plus may be go­ing off-road. “If I was to think about it I would like to in­tro­duce jet and yacht char­ter to our ser­vices. We have ar­ranged jets and yacht char­ters for our clients be­fore as a one-off but would very much like to of­fer it along­side our chauf­feur ser­vice.” Jet Plus, any­one?

Im­ages cour­tesy of Limo­Plus

LIMO PLUS’ flEET of lux­u­ri­ous and TOP-OF-THE-LINE AU­TO­MO­BILES ARE JUST ONE OF THE MANY REA­SONS THE COM­PANY IS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE BUSI­NESS

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