Call-a-cab: a decade-long Cordic customer who started with just five cars

Company profile

Call-a-cab: They started with just five cars on block & board, now brothers' Julian & Daniel fleet is 7x the national average, read more about their story below

Based in Eastbourne, call-a-cab has been a Cordic client for over a decade. The following interview was originally given to, and published by, the PHTM Magazine in December 2020

In August 2008, we started with just five cars and currently have 100 vehicles, 90 of which are private hire and ten hackney drivers and is owned and run by brothers Julian and Daniel Ledger. We cover the Eastbourne and local areas, and Eastbourne-Lewes Council licenses us.

We also use the Cordic National Gateway, so if a driver drops at Heathrow, they can get overspill work from other companies and work in London. 

The Cordic National Gateway also helps in those situations where our passenger has forgotten to book an airport collection and needs a ride ASAP. The Gateway allows us to get a car to the customer very quickly. 

Weekly job figures at the moment are between 4000 and 4500, and when not in a pandemic are between 8,000 and 10,000.

Account work is around 30% - predominantly Local Authority work. However, in the summer months, we have a large overseas student population to whom we provide transfers from Airports/London etc. for the student organisations.

I have used other booking and despatch systems and have found Cordic to be the most comprehensive and easiest to use and the helpline is fantastic Daniel Ledger

When we started, we were using block & board, and the drivers had radios in their cars, but after six months we invested in the Cordic Despatch System and an Avaya phone system provided by Vale. 

We took credit cards from day one of having Cordic installed, and card payments account for 35% of bookings. I have used other booking and despatch systems and have found Cordic to be the most comprehensive and most straightforward to use, plus the helpline is fantastic. Luckily we went onto the Cordic cloud earlier this year and, coupled with Vale Communications’ help we now have some operators able to work from home.

We have around 15 E Class Mercedes and therefore provide an Executive service, although we are now seeing our usual executive customer using standard cars for their journeys. We also have wheelchair accessible vehicles (E7, Ford Tourneo, VW Kudos), a PH and Hackney mixture. All our drivers are self-employed owner-drivers. We don’t have any drivers share vehicles, and we have 17 multi-seaters (6 – 8 passengers). The rest is split into saloons and estate cars and Hybrids. We used the Cordic fare meter (Hackney vehicles have physical meters).

In June this year, we stopped charging our drivers a fixed weekly rent and went to a percentage model; hence, they don’t pay anything if they don’t work. This model has helped us retain drivers, and they see it as a fairer payment model. 

App Bookings

We used to have free-phone, but we prefer that customers book journeys via our apps, either the in-house Cordic app or the aggregator app Cabguru, because app bookings are much more efficient for both customers and us.

Interactive Voice Responder

We have 12 office staff, a mixture of full-time and part-time, and we use the IVR system, which takes on a lot of the work. We were initially sceptical of using the IVR for various reasons, but it works very well with a very low rate of ‘no-jobs’. We also use the IVR to advertise our booking app and to warn of longer waits as peak times.

We have 12 office staff, a mixture of full-time and part-time, and we use the IVR system, which takes on a lot of the work. We were initially sceptical of using the IVR for various reasons, but it works very well with a very low rate of ‘no-jobs’. We also use the IVR to advertise our booking app and to warn of longer waits as peak times. Daniel Ledger

We use Facebook and find it the most cost-effective way of engaging with our customers/potential customers.

The future? I’m very optimistic about where our business and trade, in general, will be 12 months from today. Obviously, at the moment our job figures are well down. Still, I generally believe there are opportunities to be had in the new year. A potential vaccine's news is a positive our industry and the broader business community needs.

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