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WorkinCT: From one car to an international limo business

When Michael Lindsey was in school, he thought he was going to be a stockbroker. However, just as he passed all his tests, Black Monday hit in 1987. “You couldn...

When Michael Lindsey was in school, he thought he was going to be a stockbroker. However, just as he passed all his tests, Black Monday hit in 1987.

“You couldn’t sell a mutual fund to your mother, and it was like, now what am I going to do? I had been driving, and I really enjoyed it, and I thought let’s come back to Manchester, and do, you know, I really thought I could do it and do it better than who was here,” said Michael Lindsey, President and CEO of Lindsey Limousine.

He set up shop in his dad’s real estate office and started taking reservations in 1989.

“I started with one white car and I just drove 24/7 it almost seemed like, taking reservations on a cell phone in the front seat of the car and doing all that,” said Lindsey.

Fast forward 30 years, and that one car turned into a fleet of 60 vehicles including buses, housed in two different buildings in Windsor. Lindsey says the industry has changed. It used to be all about weddings and special events. Now, Lindsey says corporate accounts make up the majority of his business.

We asked how business has changed with companies like Uber and Lyft competing in the marketplace.

“Common question right? So that’s like the first thing, people find out I’m in the limousine business and oh my goodness, Uber. If you’ve ever used that business, and don’t say whether or not you have, it’s a whole different animal. We liken it to cyber hitchhiking,” said Lindsey.

He says it’s a different type of service and level of service. Lindsey Limo is prearranged and prescheduled travel with drivers he says have been thoroughly vetted. Lindsey says he’s also a bit of a techie, so he has implemented the latest technology in software for his drivers and reservation systems.

“Some of the things that we have now that I guess we never would have dreamt of, is all the drivers have iPads, so they’ll come in here, they’ll get an iPad, there’s no paperwork. We try to go paperless and environmentally friendly as well. They’ll come in, they’ll log into any iPad, it knows who they are, which car they have, which job they’re supposed to drive. We can make changes on the fly and electronically send them messages, so they know they have a new job after the one that they’re finishing,” said Lindsey.

There are cameras in the cars to monitor the drivers and GPS to look at speed. Lindsey prides himself on providing safe and reliable transportation for his customers.

“We go that extra mile, and all those things cost money. I think the biggest message is when you’re looking at a service like this, you can’t assume that the guy that’s charging more is just making more money, that’s not how it works. There’s a lot of expense to do it the right way,” said Lindsey.

Lindsey says that’s the way he was raised.

The company is broadening its reach throughout the United States and the world. Lindsey bought airportlimo.com. As of January, travelers can book airport transportation at national and international airports.