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Executive Transportation Drives through Crisis with SBA-backed Programs

Situation:

Executive Transportation provides premium business class limousine and luxury car services to customers across the country. It also manages holiday tours, weddings, etc. Owner Gus Ortis explained that, “COVID hit us pretty hard.  We are a luxury service and that is the first thing to go. Plus corporate travel was really limited at the time of extreme uncertainty.”

With revenues down significantly, the company went from growing and profitable to being in trouble almost overnight. The drop from 100 reservations a day to 10 during the worst of the crisis forced them to lay off 33 of their staff of 44.

Solution:

To help weather the storm, Ortis reached out for help from the SBA. He received funding from the Payroll Protection Program and used the knowledge and connections he acquired from SBA’s Emerging Leaders Program in 2019. Importantly, Ortis created a culture in his company where staff feel heard and are empowered to create meaningful and profitable change.

Ortis also credits the relationship he developed during the class with his local banker as being a key element that helped him pull through the crisis. His relationship, preparation, and active communications led him to be the first business his bank provided a PPP loan to.

Outcome:

As soon as it received the PPP loan, Executive Transportation hired everyone back. Some employees needed accommodations to work from home, which led to some shifted staff roles, but everyone was extremely happy to come back onboard.

Even though it did not have the business to bring everyone back to work, following advice from advisors the company used the staff hours to get out in the community and give back. Staff delivered groceries to nursing homes, helping customers with gardening projects, and more.  “I used the time to bring community and life to what we were doing and give back to the business,” explained Ortis.

“Additionally, the PPP brought my marketing and control team back to find ways to pivot the business to take advantage of the current market.”  The company has added additional venue streams through those pivots, streams that are keeping his business going while others in his industry are really struggling. “Thanks to the help, my staff is hyped up, they’re all still with me and this is a great new direction for the future of our company when the other business does come back.”