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.
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.”
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?
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