July/August 2023Previous IssuesSponsored Content

Promoted Story: On the Road to Franchise Success

Driverseat offers franchisees a unique niche in the transportation industry

In 2012, Driverseat was launched as a new driver-for-hire service, where chauffeurs transport clients in their own vehicles. In 2021, the brand pivoted to a full-scale shuttle and charter service, resulting in significant growth for the company and its franchise partners.

“We are committed to creating a franchise opportunity that has a low startup cost, low overhead and tremendous growth potential.” says Luke Bazely, president. “We have emerged as an innovator and leader in the public transportation space and have a model that is also unique in franchising.”

Today, Driverseat is the largest franchise in North America that specializes in leisure and corporate passenger transportation. With a focus on group transportation, and a fleet that can transport up to 24 passengers, Driverseat fills a gap in the transportation market. Its services include airport ground transportation, group charters for sporting events, wine tours, and wedding shuttles. Additionally, it provides corporate services, including employee commuter shuttles, micro-transit, and executive travel services on a contract basis, which creates recurring revenue for its franchise partners.

While most operators focus on specific areas, Driverseat offers a wide range of services using a versatile fleet of passenger vehicles without limiting itself to any particular niche. “A Driverseat bus may start the day transporting employees to work, then move on to a group charter to a baseball game, and finish the day shuttling guests from a wedding,” describes Bazely. “Driverseat is the only franchise of its kind in North America.”

The Driverseat advantage

As for what gives Driverseat its competitive edge, Bazely says it’s the franchisor’s experience, knowledge, and guidance. “Our coaching, tech stack, deep understanding of our cost model, and experience give us a competitive advantage that is extremely difficult to duplicate in this industry,” he says. “We provide unwavering support, industry-leading coaching, innovative software and technology, and we understand the unique challenges of starting a new business.”

According to Bazely, franchisees (or franchise partners) play a crucial role in Driverseat’s success. They fully integrate into the company’s ongoing initiatives to expand the brand, develop new tools, and refine processes. “As a franchisor, we are invested in the success of our partners,” says Bazely.

Driverseat has established several channels for franchise partners to communicate with the head office to ensure open communication and collaboration. The Franchise Advisory Council, a group of franchise partners elected by their peers, has a mandate to cultivate profitability for the franchisor and the partners. Coaching sessions and franchise partner video meetings are conducted weekly, offering opportunities to share thoughts, ideas, and experiences. The annual conference brings together franchisees from across the network and provides an opportunity for franchisees to connect with the Driverseat community, build relationships, and stay inspired.

Driverseat highly values the input received from its franchise partners. “These suggestions and feedback are often integrated into the process, policy, and training revisions,” explains Bazely.

“At Driverseat, we provide industry-leading support, tools, guidance, and resources and we are laser focused on profitability,” states Bazely, adding that the franchise has developed a proven system that helps franchisees scale their business while keeping costs down and managing their capital investment. “The Driverseat Proven Process focuses on healthy margins through revenue growth and cost management in an industry that is growing significantly each year.”

To ensure the franchisor/franchisee relationship is a true partnership, Driverseat has established some core guiding principles:

  • Take ownership and be accountable to your team, brand, and family.
  • Be bold, ambitious, and be prepared to operate outside of your comfort zone.
  • Appreciate, value, and celebrate diversity. Create an environment where unique ideas are encouraged, and innovation and creativity can grow.
  • Eliminate transactional interactions and form lasting bonds: Relationships are critical in our mission to out-care the competition.
  • Stop at nothing to ensure the success of others: “Driverseat is successful when our corporate team, franchisees, and clients are successful. Measure your performance by the impact you have on others,” says Bazely.

Training and support

Driverseat offers comprehensive training and ongoing support for its new franchisees to ensure their success, starting with 160 to 240 hours of online training. Following the online training, new franchisees attend one week of in-person training at Driverseat’s head office. This in-person training provides hands-on experience and further enhances the knowledge gained during the online training.

On an ongoing basis, Driverseat provides additional online and in-person training to ensure that franchisees stay up to date with industry trends, best practices, and Driverseat’s evolving business strategies. Franchise partners also benefit from weekly webinars, where they can engage with other franchisees and industry experts.

As for ongoing support, Driverseat provides communication tools for timely assistance, enabling franchisees to reach out to the support team whenever they need help.

Driverseat also offers up to two weekly personalized business coaching sessions, where franchisees can get support tailored to their specific needs and challenges. In addition to coaching, Driverseat conducts monthly and quarterly business reviews with franchisees to help them stay on track toward achieving their business goals.

Fitting the Driverseat mould

The ideal Driverseat franchisee possesses a strong work ethic, a focused mindset, and a willingness to learn, demonstrating a dedication to putting in the necessary effort and time required to build a successful business. These individuals are seeking the autonomy and independence that entrepreneurship offers. They prioritize their work/life balance and share Driverseat’s strong values, including a focus on sustainable growth and a commitment to positively impacting their local communities.

As for his advice for prospective franchisees, Bazely says, “The benefit of a franchise model is that there is already a process developed for running your business. Make sure you understand the depth of support, what resources are available, and what other tools are accessible.”

Bazely also urges franchisees to think carefully about joining a franchise system at every stage, advising them to be honest about their strengths and weaknesses, and always with a realistic understanding of the business and the financial investment required to maintain it. He says, “Each interaction will give you insight into the organization.” By carefully assessing your financial situation and the franchise system you’re considering, you’ll be well-positioned to make the right decision when it comes to your best franchise fit.