James Albion has been in the advertising & marketing industry since he started selling advertising in his high school newspaper back in 1978. He’s worked in radio and newspapers, and has owned and operated his own ad agency, ZMJ Advertising & Marketing, since 1992. He has also had his hand in the ownership and operations of a small developmental record label and a self-storage facility (still family owned and operated by his sister). Albion’s ad agency has worked with more than 200 small and midsized business clients in 10 states over the past 18 years.
Albion lives in Dover, NH with his wife Michele, and four children. He continues to run his ad agency, and will integrate his agency and marketing experience into the growth and further development of Racing Limos America.
Interview With The President, May 2010
Q1. What type of business do you have, and what are your objectives?
This is a franchise business of race car themed stretch limousines with mobile advertising. We have and will continue to sell franchise locations throughout the U.S. My objective for the future of this company is to create more emphasis on the advertising and mobile marketing partnerships, having the limo ride revenues become the supplemental revenues instead of the other way around. I want each Racing Limo to become a premiere interactive mobile marketing center.
Q2. What is the purpose of this business?
Racing Limos sells franchises to individuals and groups who want to become entrepreneurs and control their own destiny, financially, and in life. Our job is to teach them the business basics and to help them thrive regardless of external economic conditions. I want every franchisee to appreciate the freedom of controlling their own destiny, to truly control their own income and way of life for themselves and their families. The purpose of the business is to provide a unique and fun experience to the guest, and develop a professional marketing partnership with clients. It is also designed to generate money to various charities.
Q3. What is the key message or phrase to describe your business in one sentence?
To help franchisees build financial freedom, provide professional and profitable marketing partnerships, and provide a unique, exciting, and fun experience for the rider.
Q4. What is your reason for starting your own business?
I have owned and operated my own business for almost 20 years. My family comes from an entrepreneurial background. The reason for owning my own business is to control my own destiny, create my own financial freedom, and have the ability and resources to give back to the communities that make this the greatest country on earth.
Q5. What is your product or service?
The product is stretch limousines designed to look like race cars. Vehicles utilized are the Toyota Camry, Dodge Charger, Chevy Monte Carlo, Chevy Impala, and the Pontiac Grand Prix. For the Racing Limos Truck Series, we are utilizing the Ford 150, Chevy Silverado, Dodge Crew Cab and the Toyota Tundra. The Racing Limos are painted, numbered and lettered by the same companies that do many of NASCAR®'s top cars.
The service is predominantly marketing and advertising, along with specialty transportation.
Q6. What is the product application?
Primarily, as a marketing service, our job is to get in front of as many people as possible. This includes participating in parades, events, fairs, static displays, promotions, and more. We also are available for destination packages, weddings, anniversaries, and other special events.
Q7. What led you to develop your product?
The development of the race car theme comes from the previous owner and Founder, Bryan Pease. His background in transportation services was the initial concept. I came along, ironically, after being hired as an ad agency to help a franchisee better market the service. I saw the limos, then thought about all the logos on race cars, and thought, "wow, look at all that space for advertising!"
Q8. Who is your competition?
There in no similar product. The closest competitor might be something along the line of a truck putting an ad on its side, or a limo service. We have found no business out there that combines the two.
Q9. How is your product differentiated from that of your competition?
The car is race themed. The car exterior features include custom racecar graphics designed by a supplier to NASCAR® race teams, wind rails, window clamps and an aggressive rear spoiler. The interior features die cast cars of the top NASCAR drivers, a black and white interior and accent lighting representing all the different race flag colors.
Q10. What is the pricing of your product versus your competition?
We offer suggested pricing, but ultimately, each franchisee determines his pricing strategy, whether to market it at a lower price point than traditional limousines or to position it at a higher level due to the uniqueness of it compared to other operators in the market. The national average for a standard limousine is about $80.00 per hour plus 20% driver gratuity.
In terms of the franchise business, we are somewhat different than most franchise companies who require you to do it there way or nothing. We have certain universal requirements, as does any multi-location business, but we also allow a franchisee the freedom to mold the business plan and marketing strategy based on your local knowledge. We believe that what is right for Tulsa, Oklahoma may not be the same as Queens, New York. We don't micro-manage your business but provide you with the tools and support toward your success.
As for franchise pricing, the best thing to do is check the website or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org