How Driverseat president Luke Bazely’s quest for growth is helping to fuel the brand’s success
It’s ironic that a man who runs a driving franchise has as much drive leftover to commit to brainstorming solutions for the world’s lack of diplomacy, but Luke Bazely finds a way.
Driverseat provides group charter transportation for businesses, government agencies, and even consumers, with shuttle services for weddings, tours, airports, and other events. The brand recently won the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) Gold Award of Excellence in the non-traditional category at the CFA’s 2023 National Convention and has received the Franchisees’ Choice Designation for the past seven years in a row.
When he’s not running the chartering franchise, president and CEO Luke Bazely puts his ambition toward pursuing life’s great joys, whether that means exploring his passion for public speaking, sharing a meal with the people he loves, or simply practicing mindfulness and staying present in the moment.
Here, Bazely shares insight into the building blocks of success, the Canadian franchise community, and the importance of operating with optimism.
The most interesting thing I’ve done recently is… Launch a public speaking adventure focused on leadership, entrepreneurship, and franchising. My focus areas are conferences, seminars, and podcasts.
In its best form, work is… Meaningful effort that has a positive impact. I like my work to leave things better than they were found.
A good franchisee… Commits wholeheartedly to their craft and operates with optimism and vulnerability. They have incredible discipline in following the recipe, and they understand that providing a memorable experience is the key to success.
A good franchisor… Meets franchisees where they are and adapts their coaching appropriately. They understand that starting and running a successful business is difficult, comes with unique challenges and stress, and that the franchisee has often invested their savings into the brand.
My top advice for prospective franchisees is… Invest in a business that you can afford, that you can embrace, and that you can be passionate about. Follow the recipe with discipline and precision, understanding that you have an obligation to the brand and your fellow franchise partners to be successful.
My top advice for new franchisors is… Fully understand the relationship between franchisor and franchisee. We have an obligation to provide a proven recipe, effective systems, and coaching. We also manage relationships, expectations, and the range of emotions that come with being a small business owner in a franchise system.
The most important thing in life is… The pursuit of joy. It comes in many forms and means something different for everyone, but completely captures the essence of life. You may not always experience joy but should always be in its pursuit.
One of the most enjoyable things to do is… Share a meal with people you love. Growing up in a large family, meals were a time to share, invite people into our home, and reconnect. I now love to share a meal with people I care about.
The hardest thing for me to do is… Stay present. I’m guilty of living inside of my head and my thoughts too much, sometimes missing the important moments that are happening in real time.
My favourite drink is… Beer. I love a great lager or pilsner, but don’t quite understand the love of IPAs.
If I could change one thing… I would restore or introduce diplomacy back into the world. Combined with a true appreciation for diversity and inclusion, diplomacy would allow us to cohabitate, appreciate each culture, and get better aligned to fixing the global issues that are plaguing us.
If I could meet anyone… I would meet the CEO of Ford and force him to build more vans to support our growth.
The person who has had the most positive influence on me as a businessperson is… Stephen Covey. He was one of the first thought leaders I engaged with early in my career, and I was a facilitator of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People program in my 20s. Covey’s work shows up in the work of so many other influential people today.
Canadian franchising is… A vibrant community of wonderful people who are willing to share and lift each other up. Franchisors, franchisees, vendors, suppliers, lawyers, and the Canadian Franchise Association come together around a common business model with the philosophy that the rising tide lifts all ships.
My franchise system began because… My partner and I wanted to launch a new venture together. We decided first, before even landing on a business model, that we wanted to be franchisors because of the incredible opportunities for scale and growth.
The most positive influence on my life as a person is… My mother. She was bold enough to give birth to 10 children and adopt two more in the process. She opened up our home and dinner table to anyone who needed it, baked all of our bread each week, made a lot of our clothes and bedding, and still found time to volunteer in the community. At 93 years old, she still loves to party and drink white wine, and she travels out of the country at least once a year.
The key to success is… First to understand what the goal or milestone being pursued is. To say a person or business “is successful” lends credibility to the Instagram culture of things always being perfect, which of course is not reality.
I’d like my friends to describe me as… An authentic and loyal person who creates an environment of safety, clarity, transparency, and vulnerability where people can truly be themselves without judgement.
The accomplishment I look forward to the most is… Having 100 franchise partners in my system who are massively profitable and living great lives. This is the point when we have achieved something that not a lot of franchise systems achieve in North America, and aligns with one of our core focuses.
My personal motto is… Be the hardest-working person in the room.
One necessary item on my life’s “to do” list is… Go skydiving.