<p>Robert Gaskill (R), co-founder and CEO of MOTEV in Los Angeles, and Tiffany Hinton, chief administrative officer, accept the 2019 LCT Operator of the Year Award on March 26, 2019 during the International LCT Show in Las Vegas. (LCT file photo)</p>

[This is the fourth episode in a recurring series of educational videos by LCT editors Martin Romjue, Lexi Tucker, and Jim Luff].

LOS ANGELES — Chauffeur-turned-business partner Robert Gaskill learned the industry the hard way. Celebrities may evoke images of ease, glamour, and comfort, but for the hired help driving them, the customer service lessons can be raw and invaluable.

“Coming from the film and TV world and actually spending two and three months worth of time with a particular A-list celebrity, you really do get to establish much more of an intimate relationship with these individuals,” says Gaskill co-founder and CEO of MOTEV in Los Angeles. “You really are more one-on-one with them. Because I was a chauffeur and a bodyguard together, I found these individuals need to trust you at a higher level.”

You can’t deliver top VIP service without perceptive communication and knowing how to read people.

“One of the things I learned the most was they have to be honest with you about what their needs and wants are, and then you need to be honest about what you can deliver for them,” he says. “We, of course, in this industry understand depending on the type of celebrity, some of these asks and wants can be outrageous, such as the elephant with the yellow tutu to be delivered at two in the morning.”

Robert Gaskill LCT video here

Mostly, though, the celebrities want the same specifics as other clients, such as a particular type of water, Starbucks coffee, and a newspaper.

“Some are a little bit more demanding than others. Just like a good owner and operator, you can get a read from these people just off of their body language and energy. That's something I've learned over the 25 years in that industry, that I've been able to pull over to MOTEV to train my chauffeurs and deliver that better duty of care for our affiliates and other people in the industry.”

An operator finds true success when learning from celebrities and then handling all other clients the same.

“It doesn't matter if it's a celebrity or if it's a young person going to the prom, they deserve the same level of duty of care because they're paying the same price,” Gaskill says. “It doesn't matter who it is; if they're in that backseat, they are number one for your company. They're a paying customer and they're all my favorite.”

Tying into that celebrity experience, MOTEV has distinguished itself in the competitive luxury chauffeured market of Los Angeles with a fleet full of Tesla vehicles.

“When we started MOTEV, we didn't want to just open up another livery service in the Los Angeles market,” Gaskill says. “You really needed to come up with something that was the new Apple product or the new must-have thing in order to get you to shine and be different than all the other companies in the industry. So, my business partner and I came up with, ‘Well, Tesla is the new Apple product with wheels, so why don't we try that?’ And it was an instant hit.”

Los Angeles produces a client base that has that green image mentality in a state known for its environmental progressivism, he says. They enjoy the stature and the pomp and circumstance of showing up in electric luxury vehicles.

“When the Teslas roll up to some of these red-carpet events, you've got the BMWs, Mercedes, Bentleys, and stuff like that. Those are cars a lot of people have been using to for many, many years showing up at the red carpet. But when that Tesla Model X shows up and the Falcon wing doors open up, everybody turns and looks there. It doesn't matter if you're an A, B, or C level celebrity, or any person coming out, everybody wants that attention.”

Related: 2019 LCT Video Educational Series

About the author
Martin Romjue

Martin Romjue

Managing Editor of Fleet Group, Charged Fleet Editor, Vehicle Remarketing Editor

Martin Romjue is the managing editor of the Fleet Trucking & Transportation Group, where he is also editor of Charged Fleet and Vehicle Remarketing digital brands. He previously worked as lead editor of Bobit-owned Luxury, Coach & Transportation (LCT) Magazine and LCTmag.com from 2008-2020.

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