Photo by Dimitri Halkidis
Orange County has its fair share of entrepreneurial success stories from the real estate giants and star chefs to coastal quaint boutique owners and home-based bosses. Clear opportunities to make it big exist for anyone with a strong drive and a willing spirit, something that Your Car Our Driver President and CEO, Josef Wojtkow knows first-hand.
Originally from Akron, Ohio, where he was raised on a 30 acre apple farm, Wojtkow started his own limousine service when he was only 20 years old. While most young adults his age were still going to classes and getting their feet wet with their first jobs, Josef was busy growing his business from one car to a 25 car fleet and 40 member staff in just six years.
Building on his experience in the chauffeur business, he started Your Car Our Driver in 2007 to offer a more private and exclusive chauffeur experience to clients in Southern California. Customers can enjoy the perks of having a personal driver without the expense and commitment of hiring one full-time. Riding in the comfort and privacy of one’s own car with the peace of mind from having a reliable driver behind the wheel has proven to be a winning approach that continues to drive Wojtkow’s business success. He took some time to answer a few questions about running his own company, some of the challenges he faces and what he thinks is the secret of his success.
Can you tell us a little about your company and service?
I created YCOD in May of 2007 and offers private chauffeurs to drive our clients in their privately owned vehicles.
How did you first get the idea for your business?
I worked for a The Private Chauffeur in Los Angeles in 2006 that provided similar services.
What were the biggest challenges with starting your business and being an entrepreneur in Orange County?
Initially, getting a website up and finding proper insurance was another issue.
What are the biggest challenges on a day to day basis?
Advertising is one of the biggest challenges I face, just figuring out the best way to advertise for our type of client.
What kind of advice can you offer others who might be thinking of starting a business of their own?
Having a financial backer can be helpful, and one should always have an advertising budget. Otherwise, forget about it.
What is the clientele that predominantly uses your service?
Most of our clients use our service to enjoy an evening out on the town where they have the privacy of their own car with the dependable service that we provide.
When would your service be useful to someone? What is the number one request that you get?
We get many requests to go into Los Angeles County. Many go to concerts and basketball games at the Staples Center. We have many business type of clients that love to use our service for meetings in Los Angeles. They use the drive time to be productive and conduct business or prepare for their upcoming appointments.
What do you think are the biggest advantages of using YOUR CAR OUR DRIVER?
The privacy of your own vehicle. It’s very cost effective compared to a CAR and Driver type of service. We are typically half the cost.
How do you select your drivers?
All the drivers must have 2 years prior chauffeur experience. They have perfect driving records and are properly screened for anything in their background. They all go through a 3 hour interview with me before I accept them.
Can you tell us about a memorable experience or client that you came across?
We all have a confidential agreement with our clients not to disclose any of their activities. What happens in the car stays in the car. One of the most frequent memorable experiences is when our driver drives up to a D.U.I checkpoint and the clients are grateful that our driver is behind the wheel and not them.
Name one thing you learned after ten years of being in business.
Customer service is the most important thing every company should have. We believe in treating clients with the highest degree of respect, attentiveness and commitment.
What would you say is the secret of your success and how do you motivate yourself?
Having a “no matter what” attitude, that you will make it no matter what. I love the feeling that I am creating jobs for our employees and we save lives at the same time. It’s a win win for everyone.
What are your plans/goals for 2017?
It’s to continue developing the Orange County market and expansion in the greater Palm Springs area, which is a market where many of our clients own second homes.
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Your Car Our Driver (949) 283-0863