Gaining Experience From A Taxi Seat
Seeking greater freedom and opportunity, Fred Sadeghi left his native Iran in the late 1980s and settled in Arizona. It was here that he continued his education at Arizona State University as well as finding a part-time job. His search for the latter landed him in a taxi driver’s seat in 1990. It was a unique experience for a person not quite sure of his new surroundings, according to Sadeghi.
“There was not much training involved in being a taxi driver. Basically, I received a car and started driving. The experience forced me to learn the job very quickly,” Sadeghi said. “I then started driving for a limousine company. It was VIP black car-type of work.”
Not long after becoming a chauffeur, Sadeghi began exploring the possibility of starting his own transportation business. He found the work not only interesting, but profitable and rewarding. Sadeghi took a large part of his savings to purchase his first car and named the fledgling business Transtyle.
Success quickly followed to the point that within approximately nine months, Sadeghi had purchased seven cars and was employing drivers.
“I began servicing corporate transportation clients. All my vehicles were black town cars, and my drivers started wearing a black suit, white shirt and a name tag,” Sadeghi said. “I made sure all of my drivers were very clean and professional looking, and that our vehicles stayed in good condition. Through very hard work it all started to pay off, helping Transtyle grow.”
Sadeghi’s big break came when he was able to convince a general manager of a large, five-star hotel in the Phoenix area to use Transtyle for curbside and destination services. The general manager was impressed with the clean apparence of Transtyle’s drivers and equipment.
“This led to future growth. Within seven or eight months, I received calls from over 35 hotels in the area to provide similar service. I began to see great potential for this type of transportation offering,” Sadeghi said. “We grew fast, and my drivers started working as a team. I kept teaching them about the value of taking care of every single customer.”
Today, Sadeghi said his company has established itself as a preferred ground transportation provider for many respected hospitality establishments in the Phoenix area. The company provides similar services to prominent individuals and corporations in the same location.
“We understand that clients expect to be catered to in a manner conforming to their lifestyles. Each and every service provided by Transtyle reflects these needs,” Sadeghi said.
As the company’s town car service grew, so did its need for vans and larger equipment.
“I began to question why we were farming out this type of work and began purchasing limousines, vans and minibuses,” Sadeghi said.
By 1997, Transtyle’s fleet consisted of 5 minibuses, 5 vans, 5 limousines and over 250 sedans and SUVs. It wasn’t long before requests for full-size motorcoaches started coming in from different customer groups.
“Prior to purchasing our first motorcoaches, we relied on other companies to provide this service for our customers. Unfortunately, I felt this service was not always up to our standards. I sometimes had to make sure these companies were on time, etc.,” Sadeghi said. “I begin to see the potential of purchasing motorcoaches, which led to further growth.”
This move has proven beneficial for Transtyle in more ways than one, as the business climate has changed somewhat regarding sedan transportation. Sadeghi said Uber-like services have taken a bite out of this type of work.
“We are still strong in the sedan side of our business, due to our work with area hotels, but our focus as a company has turned further toward motorcoach transportation,” he said. “This has helped us generate additional revenue.”
Transtyle provides both charter and tour transportation when it comes to motorcoach travel. This had led to a working relationship with many tour agents. They have learned to trust Transtyle’s commitment to high-end equipment and service.
“In the summer, we started focusing on tour transportation to other states to grow our overall business. Summer is normally the off-season in Arizona,” Sadeghi said. “This type of work also allows our name to be seen by more people on the road. It’s great free advertising. These tours can last 7, 10, 15 days. We take tour groups anywhere they want to go in the United States.
“Tour agents set up the tours and give us the itineraries. We make sure to provide a fair rate and solid customer service. Many companies setting up these tours provide surveys to their customers, trying to determine how well their experiences were while on these tours. It’s our job, as the transportation provider, to make sure all customers are treated with respect, and that the driver is properly doing his/her job. There is so much involved when trying to make a customer comfortable. This includes the driver’s performance and the quality of the vehicle.”