SEATTLE, Wash. ─ Guri Rajput, CEO of Seattle Royal Town Car, discovered his passion for customer service after starting small with jobs as a pizza deliverer and gas station manager. As he began to understand what he could bring to the luxury ground transportation industry, his love for easing hassles and stress for clients showed through and helped him grow.
Discovering A Passion
Rajput grew up in India and emigrated to the U.S. back in 2010, where his mother's siblings and parents were already living. In India, his family owns one of the largest bus companies in Punjab: Malwa Bus Transportation.
“My nickname back in India was Malwa, because everyone knew I was the grandson of the owner,” he says. As a child, he would run to the office and demand to work with his grandpa, Nirmal Singh, and father, Surinder Singh, and the staff.
“I loved handing out tickets and helping. To this day, we are still one of the largest operators in Punjab.”
When he came to the U.S., he had to start all over. “In India, we had everything we ever wanted. In the U.S., I worked several jobs; I delivered pizza and helped manage a gas station. My love for vehicles and customer service grew,” he recalls. He was running a successful Chevron gas station in 2015 when he wanted to return to his roots and try a unique line of work instead of the same daily routine. He bought a Chrysler 300c and started Seattle Royal Town Car.
“I started gaining customers, who eventually wanted to travel with their families. Three months later in 2015, I bought my first SUV: A GMC Yukon Denali. From that moment, there was no looking back.” He now has a fleet of seven and is growing.
When choosing vehicles to add to his fleet, Rajput wanted to purchase a distinct make and model that would allow him to stand out from other companies in the area; that’s why he runs a Tesla Model X SUV.
“Seattle provides a unique opportunity to go after tech companies who want to be greener. I also love the gull wing doors because I’m a car guy,” he says. He believes it’s easier to maintain, and because superchargers are becoming more prevalent in his area, it saves a lot of money on gas. The vehicle is in high demand for clients who attend proms and weddings and want to roll up to their event in something different.
He also recently bought a Mercedes-Benz S Class sedan because he wanted to spring for a newer vehicle to please affiliates and wow clients.
“I really want them to get what they pay for.” In his fleet of seven, he also has a Cadillac CT6 and Escalade, Ford Transit, and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van.
Newcomer No More
During his short time in the industry, he’s discovered trust matters most. “I learned a lot by asking questions of the bigger companies my area, and that’s something you should never be afraid of doing.” Also, in terms of affiliate work, if you don’t have a specific vehicle, don’t lie and say you do.
Success depends on building relationships with clients and affiliates. Never be too good to show your face to your clients. This helps you maintain a personal touch and proves to them although you are the owner, you still care a great deal about their experiences in your vehicles.
As a younger operator, he was surprised at the hard work, but he knew doing everything by the books would help him build the foundation of a strong business. “Building your name and reputation is worth the difficulty in going about things the right way.”
He asks more experienced operators to give industry newcomers a chance before judging them. “Please don’t just write them off because they are new and young; we’ll be there for you when you need us.”
Planning For The Future
Rajput is proud of the work he has done in growing his company from one car and just trying to “make it,” to creating great affiliate relationships and increasing the number of vehicles in his fleet. He credits attending the industry tradeshows and events with helping him being able to provide rides worldwide. “I have met affiliate partners who will make sure my clients are serviced by a company that will take care of them the same way we do here in Seattle.
“I don’t want to be the biggest, just the best, and grow my fleet with models not everyone has,” he adds. He wants to stay unique, attend more tradeshows, and learn about new tech that will enhance his clients’ experience.
Originally posted on LCT Magazine