Prior to founding Chicago Classic Coach LLC, President Richard L. Hausman resurrected another local company, making it a major market player. One evening, he went to dinner with another industry veteran to discuss possibly buying that company. Within an hour, his colleague’s wife told him that he should just start up his own company. That being a dream of his for the past ten years, he started Chicago Classic Coach. “It turned out to be a pretty good piece of advice,” recalls Hausman.
The Mount Prospect, Ill.-based operation’s top management team collectively has approximately 100 years of experience in the motorcoach industry. The company began operating in February 2006 after taking delivery of its first two coaches. Starting with a five-year plan to acquire 25 coaches, they currently have a 22-coach fleet.
The team, with its numerous years of industry experience, knew they had to foster relationships with customers by offering attentiveness, flexibility and reliability, as well as by developing agreements with other industry professionals in order to be successful.
Providing service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Chicago Classic strives to be available to customers through flexibility.
Its visibility further ensures that the company maintains solid relationships with customers, as well as with their own drivers. For some jobs, Hausman or his operations staff go to the site and double-check that the buses are lined up properly and the drivers know how to get to their destination. “Doing this makes us very visible with customers,” says Hausman. “When we send operations staff out, our drivers feel like we’re all part of this.”
In less than two years of being in business, Chicago Classic has hired more drivers and invested in four more buses that will run daily to accommodate an extended casino contract agreement.
Another alliance the company has created enables them to easily handle jobs requiring many buses. “Sometimes if we get a job that requires more buses than we have, we partner with another company and use their buses. Some companies we partner with are Coach USA, Midwest Motorcoach and Mid America. Companies know that even if they have a 35-bus run, we can handle it,” Hausman says.
The operation’s efforts to reach out to customers also include emphasis on green and safety issues. Recently Chicago Classic received four MCI J4500 coaches; making the operator the first in the area to add the clean-diesel, low-emission luxury coaches to their fleet. “Our corporate partners are very interested in offering green services to their customers. We are telling people about the advantages of motorcoaches, such as getting 56 people off the road.” The company is also ordering a new hybrid vehicle to use for safety and training courses, and will have a monitor out on the road to review driver performance.
Chicago Classic uses a unique maintenance program. When the business was started, they looked to MCI to lease their first ten buses. They now have an ongoing agreement with MCI to perform their required maintenance, including all scheduled inspections, ensuring the coaches stay in top shape for daily operation. “The model works; it’s a mutually rewarding relationship,” Hausman says. “The crux of the whole operation has been that our staff has so much experience in this business. They’ve seen the ups and downs of it, and we’re all working together.”
At a Glance
Motorcoaches: 20 and two 21-passenger Krystal minibuses
Fleet mix: MCI, Krystal
Service area: Greater Chicagoland area (but will travel anywhere in the U.S.)
Services: Conventions, destination management companies, schools, universities, corporate work and contract work to casinos
Annual mileage: 1.1 million
Year started: 2006
President: Richard L.Hausman