The Chkifati brothers had been working as independent contractors for another luxury car booker in Brooklyn and saw a business they thought they could improve upon. So they saved their earnings and took a chance, striking out on their own to found Luxor Limos with just one car in 2006.
The problem with many of the more than 200 luxury car providers in the city, the brothers said, is that most hire out jobs to independent contractors who are required to maintain their own vehicles.
As a result, there’s no guarantee the vehicle will be on time, clean and in good repair. Likewise, the drivers themselves often have little sense of loyalty to the brand they’re representing, said Shlomo.
“At a lot of companies, the drivers switch every few months,” he explained. “With us, it’s all crystal clear. All the drivers are happy. They’re all employees here.”
A well-maintained fleet with happy drivers is what helps Luxor maintain a service record so clean that they only recall one instance of a disgruntled customer that wanted a free ride due to an inconvenience, they said. Their service guarantee is for all rides to be on time, and any ride that doesn’t show up within fifteen minutes of the scheduled arrival is free.
The Chkifatis admit life in the luxury car business is not all glitz and glamor behind the scenes. But with a lot of hard work, they’ve been able to grow their company every year since they opened their doors (and yours).
In fact, for the past two years, they have been able to achieve between 100 and 150 percent year-over-year growth, pulling in $3 million in the 2012 to 2013 fiscal year.
The Luxor fleet of 33 vehicles currently consists almost entirely of 2013 and 2014 model year cars, including Cadillac Escalade SUVs, Lincoln MKT sedans and stretches, Mercedes Swift vans, and Hummer and Escalade stretches. They also recently purchased a Swift stretch limo van.
The brothers credit their success to hard work and their choice to reinvest every dollar back into the company immediately for as long as it took to turn a profit.
“We didn’t come from a rich family,” Albert said. “We started from our own capital, from our own earnings and hard work. But for the first five, maybe six years, we didn’t take a salary. We’d take a couple dollars here and there just to get by.”
Shlomo agreed with Albert, and said that any other young people looking to open their own business should be aware that their story, though unique in its own way, is common among entrepreneurs.
“At the beginning of every business, you have sacrificing,” Shlomo said. “No one’s going to tell you what to do, there’s no script to follow.”
Albert also believes another part of their success is that both have maintained a life-long passion for working with and around cars.
In the near term, Shlomo said they are focused on perfecting their new online booking service – which set them back over $100,000 – and using those lessons learned to build an app as a complement to their booking services portfolio. They also plan to add a Rolls Royce – one the two of them restored together – to the lineup.
“We got an antique 1947 Rolls Royce and we restored that. It took about a year,” Albert said. “It runs, but it needs a couple upgrades before we can send it out.”
In the long term, the Chkifati brothers said they are planning for continued growth and expansion.
“We’re looking to purchase a larger warehouse for the company and continue our growth of 100 to 200 percent, maybe even merge or buy out other companies,” Shlomo said.