House of Revenue™ Radio

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Episode 9: From Lifestyle Business to Legitimate Scale

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Meet Guests, Ryan and Roman Romero

Ryan and Roman Romero are the owners of Drives at Mile High. They specialize in luxury, sports, and exotic car rental and bring phenomenal experience to clients and customers wanting to fulfill their dream of driving an exotic car and driving in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Ryan grew up as a car enthusiast and collected matchbox cars and micro machines while Roman loves being outdoors, active in the community and has a growing passion for these beautiful cars.

   

Don't Have Time to Listen, Read The Full Transcription.

Mary Grothe (Host) (00:00):

Welcome to the House of Revenue. I'm Mary Grothe, Founder and CEO. I love scaling companies to their first 5 million, then 10, 15, and 20. If you've reached a revenue plateau and aren't sure how to get past it, you're in the right place. Listen in as we interview CEOs and solve their most pressing revenue challenges. If you want to be on our show or want to learn more connect with us at houseofrevenue.com. I get the pleasure of interviewing CEOs every week and this week, ooh, this one's different. And it's going to be exciting. We've met with CEOs and various types of industries and businesses. Most of them being in the B2B professional world with their product or service. This one's a little bit different. It's a little bit more fun. I'm excited about this. We have the executives of Drives at Mile High, Ryan and Roman Romero. They happen to be related. One of them looks like walking Phoenix. So I'm thoroughly enjoying myself as I'm sitting here today to record I and share this with you. There's a uniqueness to this business that I think is going to resonate with a lot of people whose businesses were heavily impacted by COVID. There have been stories that we've brought forth for traditional businesses, where we've been able to help them recover quickly, or they found their stride and just shifting a few things in the way they do their work. But today's a little bit different because this is a business that is very seasonal and was really heavily impacted by the COVID shutdown. So we're going to talk today about the history of this company. We're going to welcome Ryan and Roman to the show. And we're going to hear about the last few years as they took ownership of this business, what they do, how they're diversifying, how they made it through COVID. And as we look forward, we're going to discuss revenue scaling strategies that they can walk away with and implement today. And my hope is that you all find a takeaway here as well. Ryan, Roman, welcome to the show.

Ryan and Roman Romero (Guests) (02:16):

Thank you for having us. Yeah. Thanks for having us over here.

Mary Grothe (Host) (02:19):

Gotta hear this story Drives at Mile High. What is it that you do?

Ryan and Roman Romero (Guests) (02:23):

Drives at Mile High. We specialize in the experience of driving sports, exotics, overland, really just exploring Colorado in a really unique way with cool cars. Yeah. We, have a unique approach, how we're putting vehicles out there that may be somebody's dream car, maybe somebody's, you know, next vehicle purchase and they want to have a nice test drive or you know, a vehicle that will make event be. At a birthday party, be it, you know, an anniversary. Hey, you know, it's my husband's 50th. And, you know, we're going to take him out for a drive in the mountains. And you know, when we first acquired the business, I remember my brother invited me to do a tour. It was me and my father. And, one of the experiences was I noticed everybody who got out of the car, whatever car they were in, always had a smile on their face and my background's financial services, I did that for 18 years and I thought to myself, this is something that I can do because you know that you're dealing with people who are just getting off a thrill, you know, an experience that they're going to talk about for months, years to come. They're going to repeat that, they're going to come back. We have a variety of vehicles for them to choose from. And, you know, we just thought that there were ways to improve that. When we first looked at the company and we went for it. Yeah. I mean, it's just not limited to rentals for events. Like as Roman mentioned, we have weddings, people take a ton of photos with the cars for their wedding, my favorite are music videos. I've had so many rap videos, but by local artists, aspiring artists done in our shop, even, you know. And working with companies and really getting these cars out and get in the exposure and having people come back with, as Roman said, a big smile on their face and coming back for more, they want to try every other car. They become our family. I mean, they're personal with us at this point in time. I do hear a lot of stories, a lot of things. And, you know, we welcome everybody to share that. I was going to share when we first were talking to the previous owner, you know, my first question to him because it is a different market. This is not, you know, an LA or a Miami or Las Vegas where you have, you know, one of these types of rental companies, you know, over on the next block, if you will. And they're competing with each other price wise and, you know, different tourism and different tourism here in this state really to capitalize on. But I asked the previous owner, I said, why Denver, why here? And he pointed to the front range and he said, why not? Look at what you have here. And he was right. That was one of the one things that I really appreciated. And that hit me and I took grasp of that as a way of saying, you know, he's right. And honestly, that's kind of what we put out there as far as an experience and until we actually did that ourselves. Right. You know, it was really hard to really understand what it was because we have so many great places here that are a short drive away. Be it Aspen, be it Veil, be it Steamboat, be it, you know, even if you go a little further on down, you know, you have scenery here and to enjoy it and experience it in a luxury or an exotic automobile, it's just an unreal experience. So I think we have an advantage where the attraction is something that, you know, you can fall color change is big for us, you know, different, you know, we want destination, setups that we're working on right now, where you can drive into Telluride and, or Steamboat and have a stay or an overnight stay and drive back.

Ryan and Roman Romero (Guests) (06:26):

And those are some things that we've done ourselves, you know, we mentioned on the corporate side, there was a very prominent magazine owner from Monterrey, Mexico, and he does a luxury tour weekend for his high-end clients. And he contacted us, on, and, you know, we were, I don't want to say we were unprepared, but I was hoping that we had the vehicle selection for him, which we did. And he took our Lamborghini out. He took a poor shout-out. He took a Ferrari, the Ferrari, and he wanted the Corvette, which was really cool. , and four of his, executives that he took for a four day, luxury weekend ride in Aspen, Colorado. And, you know, he said, you know, I do this about four times a year. And, he works out of the little nail out of Aspen and, you know, we got to brainstorming and talking with him and, you know, he said that we were looking for a company like you guys to do something like this. And I think he really kind of wanted to test our customer service skills because, I got a call from him, Saturday morning at like six 30. And, he's like, you know, we're ready to do another write-up. He goes, but I'm not sure about the conditions of the, the condition of the tires on this porch. And we go over the cars in detail. So I knew it was fine. They were fine. They were fine. They were fine. And I said, well, Here's what I can do is I can exchange if you're okay with taking the GTR. And he's like, can you be here by 11? You said, it's a GTR. I was like, I can, yeah. Okay. I go, it's now, you know, cause we played a little phone tag back and forth. I was like at seven 30, I'll do my best to get there. And , you know, I told my girlfriend, I said, Hey, you want to go to Aspen today? So, now we're leaving out. And I was trying to accommodate, cause I didn't really know. I thought maybe the tires were bad or something and you know, so I was looking to get those replaced in Carbondale and I was like, well, let's just go this route. I took a route, taking [inaudible], dropping into Leadville and then taking independence pass, going right into Aspen is one of the most beautiful, scenic routes that I had seen, and experienced in a car like that. , it, we made it there in no time. We did the exchange in Snowmass village and I, you know, I said, there's nothing wrong with these Porsche tires. Let's continue on, on a ride. So we went back through independence and we went down into blended Vista. I have, a good friend who had a cabin in Cotopaxi. I said, let's go there. We stayed the night there. And then we took highway nine all the way back. It was an experience that, you know, I'm, as I'm telling you now, I remember it vividly. And for me to share that with some of our incoming clients and customers, they're like, wow, that's pretty cool. So it gave us the idea to come up with some of these routes that you'll see on our website and those routes, you know, be it, you know, a Colorado winery tour or, you know, take this independence pass route or, you know, Steamboat or even tell you right there, broad, more broad. There's so many places to visit here. We did partner up with, Colorado tourism.org and , some of the other, tourism, websites and companies to not only put our company on there because we do get a lot of out-of-town folks that call us and they're like, Hey, I'm coming into town for the weekend. And you know, I want to rent a car and what do you have? And you know, we'll guide them through the website and we'll do those things for them. And then the very next question is where can we go? What is there to do? And you know, one of our go tos is always the route up into central city or black Hawk. And it's the peak to peak

Ryan and Roman Romero (Guests) (10:06):

It's right at the foothills. I mean, you get a nice drive up highway six, drive back, Idaho Springs is beautiful. Yeah. And it's kind of booming with, now that everything's opening up, you can sit down and have a nice, lunch or dinner, but it's not too far from Denver. And it, it completes a nice tour and event for somebody. So yeah, I think, yeah, as Roman said, the market is different here. , other exotic car rental companies, such as Las Vegas or LA or Miami, they just want to show off in a car. Yeah. We provide that experience of actually driving the car through what Colorado has to offer, whether you're going through downtown, which downtown is booming right now. Or if you want to get away from downtown, you have that experience and why not in a cool car, why not? In an Audi R eight, you get to enjoy the curvature of the roads, the scene, the scenic views, the fall color changes. You know, our smers, our Springs, our fall are our beautiful next up, you know, the big one is how do we figure out winter and winter is the biggest one. You know, you don't want to take an Audi out to Aspen. You want to get something where you could load up your skis or snowboard go camping and figure that out and go, just enjoy the mountain towns. Yeah. Yeah. You get a lot of people that are sleeping in the vehicles resorts. So if you have a vehicle that can accommodate some sleeping arrangements, they'll ski in, sleeping in the back and you know, they're good for a couple of weekends in the it and you'll outfit it so they can cook and do those types of things too. But it's a vehicle that's equipped for that. , we have, a sprinter van vehicle that's outfitted with, you know, winch the four by four, things like that. So they can go out and have that experience. And then the Overland market is one of our, new or, solutions as far as an industry. That's very big out here by the way for COVID because of COVID people want to get out, they want to do things. These campgrounds are absolutely packed, but if you can go a little bit off road or, you know, take it a little bit higher up and have some vehicles that are equipped with camping gear, you know, equipment to cook, things like that. People will take that adventure all day long and they love it. We've had some people fly in just wanting to, tour some national parks and this was in January. So it wasn't, it's not the warmest, but they took our, Jeep Badlands vehicle equipped with a camper and a sleeper in inside. And, you know, he and everything and they, they loved it. I mean, it was amazing. Yeah.

Mary Grothe (Host) (12:46):

I think that's exactly how you battle the seasonality of it is you look at who your clientele is. The beautiful thing out here too, is we know the weather for the most part. You can look out 10 days. You may not know exactly how much snow we're getting, but how often in a November, December, January, and February, do we have these amazing 60 degree days? And I think that there are ways to capitalize on your marketing strategies. So that's what we talk about on this show is we want to figure out, okay, how do we scale this for the types of buyers that you're appealing to? There are several different types of buyers. So I think step nber one is to create your ICPCs, which is ideal client profile, and then figure out who the buyer is in each of those ICP. So just off the top of my head, you have, I mean, I wrote some notes, you've already shared it. You have so many is you can get into special events like weddings, birthday graduation. Let's put all that in one lp category within that you have very unique buyers. And each of those buyers cares about the experience and how they're made to feel during that event. And I know that you can figure out the messaging to cater to that when you have that. And so that's a conser buys. You have that B to C buy, you have weddings, birthdays, and graduations as our first bucket here, then you need to dissect who those buyers are. You could flourish with a targeted ad campaign, whether it's paid social, especially through Instagram or through PPC. And you're targeting a local buyer, who's researching creative ideas for a birthday party, or, how to make graduation special or looking at these long tail key phrases. And you buy those key phrases. You can also write content on your website. So I think one of the areas on your website, so that you have a place when you drive traffic, where do these people go in order to emotionally connect with your brand and your service and make a buying decision, you have to make that seamless and super easy for them. And so on your website, it's creating landing pages for all of these unique buyers. So a landing page for weddings, with the most beautiful imagery, get a bride and groom and have them in this car, in this gorgeous Colorado landscape with the sun setting and the wind blowing the veil and whatever you're going to sell that every time then wedding specifically, you can find key partnerships like with the knot.com get on the wedding directories. You can have a targeted campaign that goes just to wedding planners and have wedding planners know that you exist and that you can provide the service here locally, or for those destination weddings that happen to be in our mountain towns here in Colorado for birthdays and anniversaries, or, looking at like graduations and these other special events you should for SEO purposes. And then also to have a landing page for any targeted ads that you do, or even targeted social posts or email campaigns or advertising, you should have a landing page and you need to have multiple for each of these because that buyer who's looking for that specific thing. If you make them come up with their own idea and interpret what you have on the website and say, well, I guess this could work for a birthday. Like please do the heavy lifting for them, have a page dedicated to birthdays. They young the old and everybody in between. And I mean, I, I, I said before the show that I could see this for my son turning five, to have a real race card, I said, find me your most lightning McQueen ASCA car, but I know my husband as well. Like he loves Corvettes and he loves and Oh gosh, Mustangs. And I'm sure there's something that even for his birthday, how much fun would it be that I could surprise him. So hopefully he's not listening to this, but I can surprise him and just show up and say, this is your ride for the next four hours. And by the way, here's where we are going, right? So there's something so special about creating that experience, but you have all the opportunity in the world through landing pages to create an emotional experience specifically for that buyer. I think your conversions are going to be through the roof in that. And then you can get very targeted on your campaigns. Then when you look at budding artists and rap videos, and those that are in the world of production and producing how many video producers are there in our community, that would love to know that they can get this type of car as a prop or a focal point for their videos.

Mary Grothe (Host) (17:24):

That's an entirely other category that has a landing page and an email campaign acquiring a targeted list. And having that conversation with them to let them know this is an available asset for them. Then you get into our whole area of tourism. Yes. I heard you loud and clear, and I guarantee the audience did we love our state. We live here for a reason, and we have events every year that we're passionate about being fall colors, being changing into spring, being whatever that might be. So you can create these. And it sounds like you already have these roadmaps, just download it. Here's your destination. Here's the tour. Here's all the places to stop along the way. So there's cross marketing efforts that should be happening here. Every one of those predetermined places that lives on your map should have a link back to their website and then they should be cross promoting you on their website. And so if you're engaging in a partnership, they should say like, Hey, if you're interested in visiting our winery, connect with Drives at Mile High mile high, click this link, and you can actually schedule a tour in an exotic or a luxury vehicle to come up and visit our winery and a pre-planned trip. And here's the cars you could select, or just drop a photo in there and say, Hey, we're going to promote your winery. And this is going to be one of our downloadable maps and destination routes. But we're going to ask you in exchange to put our photo here and show this as an option. The link backs to your website are going to dramatically help with SEO, but you're going to have cross-functional marketing to all different types of buyers. Additionally, for every location that you're willing to put on the map, they should have a table tents. They should have information packets and flyers that you consistently maintain within all of these locations to have an advertisement. So if I'm going up to Breckenridge and I'm sitting down at carboy winery and I'm going to have a glass of wine, I want to see a table tent with an exotic in somebody that looks like me with my handsome husband, with, you know, the top down or if it's a top-down type of vehicle. And I want to see the experience and I want to have the statement says next time, drive up here in an exotic Indian habitat or whatever. And then a QR code that people can scan from their phone, go to that landing page while they're having wine, enjoying the experience there potentially with their loved one. And they're emotionally like I'm ready, committed, and they're going to, you're going to get a conversion. Your marketing should make you money. You have to be targeted. You have to be able to track the conversion through every single step of the process. And so I believe through paid social through pay-per-click and then your play for SEO with these landing pages and content, then you need to have a hashtag that you want to own, or a couple of them. And what you want to do is you want to promote your buyers who then get in the vehicle to have a cheat sheet card, put it in like a, like a postcard in all the vehicles that has the hashtag and instructions about sharing the experience on social media and tagging you and using a hashtag. And then there, hello? Oh, don't we all just love taking videos and pictures of ourselves and posing it out in a brag tastic moment with an exotic or beautiful luxury car. They're going to want to capture that experience. And how cool would it be if, you know, you can even come up with what was that like stick, figure character, not sacred over the animal, like Stanley or whatever where they take pictures with flat Stanley all across the world. And then they'd post the picture of flat Stanley and like where's flat Stanley today, but you can have like a postcard or something. That's a really beautiful visual, or even just your logo and a name. You could put it on a stick with an at symbol and a hashtag and people can pose with that in front of their ride. And there are ways that you can get this influence committee. Your company is very innovative. I know there are others like you, but you decided when you acquired this company to do it differently. And my heart is for CEOs that are committed to innovation, doing things differently, rising above the noise and providing an experience that is different from the competition. You're doing it with your customer service, you're doing it with your commitment to diversify. And then also with the unique landscape out here, look at what you're providing for everybody in our gorgeous state to get out of their quarantined house and go experience the beauty in a way they never have before. And I do believe you need to have that hashtag maybe like smiles guaranteed or something.

Ryan and Roman Romero (Guests) (22:08):

I think that at one point, yeah, yeah, that was a good one. We were coming up with a different taglines and I'm pretty sure that was one that Roman was like, smiles, smiles per mile or yeah, yeah. Smiles per mile. Yep. That's a good one too. Yeah. I liked even having a stick figure, like where's he at now type thing because people are going to relate to that and then they're going to want to share that, especially with now Overland coming on board or just the exotics themselves, you know, there are many points of interest in the state. Even when we do tours, you can probably hand one of those out to everybody or the tourist, so they can do their own social media posts with the hashtags, etcetera, just keep them engaged.

Mary Grothe (Host) (22:58):

It is. It makes them more fun. It's interactive and you can have multiple avatars. You can have people pick who they are of the avatars and maybe you come up with five that align with your different types of buyers. Like you can have a Brighton and groom on a stick as an avatar, you know, in a, in a classic ride or in a exotic, you know, you can have these different ones and create that experience. And yeah, whenever you put a prop in people's hands that makes it easier and a lot more fun to post a social media, like please.

Ryan and Roman Romero (Guests) (23:28):

Yeah, yeah. Even from a tangible.. because we were really growing the brand and we wanted to keep it to where it's just like a good icon. That's recognized everywhere and I think that kind of falls in line with, but this will enhance it tremendously. They'll know that it's a drive, we don't, that's one of the things that we don't do is we don't market our cars with our name all over because...

Mary Grothe (Host) (23:55):

Oh yeah. Because then they'll know it's a rental and you're trying to create that experience.

Ryan and Roman Romero (Guests) (23:59):

It's your car. Yeah. Like, yes, you rented it, but it's your car for your event, your experience you do with it, what you will that way, you know? , whereas we know other people, you know, other companies have their name all over the vehicle. , so that's one of the things I think is really important, to do that. One of the things I wanted to, you know, what type of strategies would you say are, are efficient and work well for work well for, the corporate world? Yeah.

Mary Grothe (Host) (24:31):

Well, one employee recognition and engagement and incentive programs are an all time high.Companies can't throw those big parties in their annual conferences and what not now, but what you could do is arrange for that top sales performer or for that vice-president, that's being promoted or for employee of the month or for whatever accolade or the 15 year anniversary award. There are ways within an employee incentive program and all you need to do is again by those keywords are to produce content around it and build up your SEO for innovative new ways to incentivize your employees for top performance. And again, the imagery is all that you need. You have the most beautiful cars. You put a picture with that employee. I think your opportunities are endless. How do people find you and get in touch with you?

Ryan and Roman Romero (Guests) (25:18):

Contact us at drivesatmilehigh.com. You can see us on the website. You can also reach us at 303-833-FAST or (303) 474-4099.

Mary Grothe (Host) (25:34):

Thanks for listening to today's episode. If you're interested in being on our show or want to learn more about how we can help you scale your company, connect with us at houseofrevenue.com or with me Mary Grothe, spelled G R O T H E on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram.

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