Star Limousine Service, Inc. - Mars, PA
Robert DeLucia isn’t a man who knows how to quit. Or stop, it seems. While many are content to start one business and watch it grow, DeLucia is the president of four transportation-service related companies, each one applying its own innovative approach to business.
DeLucia has spent most of his life working for himself in one manner or another. When he was 10 years old, he had a window and wall washing business which lasted until he was 19 when joined the Army in 1966.
“Coming from an underprivileged family, I became a business owner out of necessity,” DeLucia said.
While serving as an MP in the Army, DeLucia learned many of the skills that have helped him in the business world.
“I acquired organizational skills, learned to work as a team player and to value hard work,” DeLucia said. “In the military, you know what it means to be dedicated to a cause and to continually persevere.”
After an honorable discharge in 1968, DeLucia returned to business for himself, purchasing a tractor trailer and traveling across country hauling heavy equipment and steel. In 1982, after the decline in the steel industry in his native Pennsylvania, DeLucia shifted from moving commodities to moving passengers.
“I never liked the idea of having a 9 to 5 job,” DeLucia said. “In reality, I’m always working, always planning, always thinking. I like the prospect of achieving things that are difficult, and when and where there’s a challenge, I rise to the occasion. By having a business, I challenge myself on a daily basis. I also challenge others – I like to help motivate people to do their best.”
DeLucia has managed to provide himself with four opportunities to challenge himself in the form of four transportation companies based in Mars, Pa. The longest running and most lucrative of these companies is Star Limousine Service.
Star Limousine provides luxury transportation in stretch limos, luxury sedans, corporate vans and specially converted limo buses. After starting with just one limousine in 1985, Star Limousine now has a fleet of 35 vehicles, 40 drivers and grossed over $1.2 million in 2006. Most of the company’s business comes from corporate America, but Star Limousine does occasionally conduct business with the government and other veterans as well.
“I have been a driver to the stars,” DeLucia said. “Star Limousine was created and named Star because of our initial contract with the Civic Arena (in Pittsburgh) to provide transportation for concerts and entertainers.”
DeLucia attributes Star Limousine’s success to being sensitive to the needs of the market and responding accordingly. Customers can select from various styles, makes and models to accommodate their needs and personalities.
Star Limousine isn’t the only company catering to the stars. Another of DeLucia’s companies, Classy Cab Company Inc., regularly chauffeurs professional athletes with its spacious cabs.
“Classy Cab regularly drives the Pittsburgh Pirates and out of town baseball teams,” DeLucia said. “Recently, we have started a program with the Pittsburgh Steelers players to provide transportation to different destinations because of the roominess of our cabs. This is very exciting. People love the concept and love our cabs.”
Founded in 2005, Classy Cab offers specially converted taxi cabs that have been stretched 6 to 40 inches with uniformed and drug-tested drivers providing upscale taxi service at metered rates. The company has 32 employees and grossed over $384,000 in the 2006 fiscal year.
“As a reservation-based business, Star Limousine has several corporate clients,” DeLucia said. “Historically, however, the cab business does not have corporate clients… it has individuals as customers, some of whom may be executives. Classy Cab is going to change all that. We are going to be targeting the corporations directly and setting up corporate accounts.”
DeLucia designed Classy Cab in response to complaints about the level of cab service in Pittsburgh, such as there were too few cabs and too many were substandard. Instead of typical taxicab companies which utilize independent contractors who lease the cabs as drivers – thereby having no control over the level of service – Classy Cab employs drivers directly, thereby giving back to the community in terms of payroll taxes and worker’s compensation.
A NEW WAY OF BUSINESS
“This is a new way of doing business for the taxi industry,” DeLucia said. “We are going to try different methods as this is all new. We initially will be trying direct mail aimed at corporations with branches in other cities. So only time will tell if we’ll be successful in the corporate marketplace.”
“Star Limousine is a mature company, so a steady growth is expected,” DeLucia said. “As for Classy Cab, we want to add 100 cars in Pittsburgh and take this concept across the country and hopefully franchise this concept to as many vets as possible.”
Classy Cab isn’t the only taxi company DeLucia has set up, nor the first. Cranberry Taxi Service Inc. provides standard cab service, as opposed to Classy Cab’s more luxurious standards and corporate aims. Founded in 1990, the company employs eight independent drivers and grossed over $170,000 in 2006.
STAR-LEVEL SERVICE TO THE SKY
DeLucia’s companies don’t stop at ground transportation. His newest company, Air Star Transportation and Limousine Service Inc., takes star-level service to the sky. The company provides alternative flight programs, offering environmentally-friendly, hybrid vehicles with the latest technology. Air Star provides service for trips within a 400 mile radius of Pittsburgh.
For now, DeLucia aims to continue pushing the growth of Air Star and Classy Cab by means of researching some new technology and equipping new cabs so they are handicapped accessible. He hopes to hire as many veterans as possible and to partner with as many businesses that support veteran-owned businesses.
“The key to staying on top is to differentiate ourselves from our competitors,” DeLucia said. “To let it be known how and why we are different and better.”
Written by Michael Crawford