How I (Tony) Started Towing Taxi’s in Memphis in 1998, And Why Some of It Would Never Work Today (And What Does Work in 2023)

Taxi car with yellow sign outdoors at night, closeup

Hello Readers! My name is Tony Komos, owner of Tony’s Taxis here in my adopted hometown of Memphis TN.

Over many taxi rides over the years, alot of people have asked: how did you get here?

Well, that’s a long story – so today I will tell it, and with the tale, you’ll get an idea of how the taxi business has changed over that time.

Strap in, as I whisk you away more than 30 years to the 90’s…

I. The Beginning in Memphis (1990-2005)

Back in 1990, I left my home in Bahrain to the United States. It was a big change, but I was full of hope. Many of my family members had already moved to the area, so it was not a complete shock.

After finishing college in the late 1990s at nearby Memphis University, I wanted to make something for myself. My family back in Bahrain, they loved cars. This gave me an idea to start a taxi service in Memphis. But starting a business, it was not easy. I needed licenses, good cars, and customers. It took me more than one year to get my business up and running.

In the late 90s, Memphis was a city buzzing with potential. Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland, was attracting tourists, and the music scene was vibrant. It was in this lively setting that I launched my taxi service.

A. The Idea and the Start

Coming from a family that loved cars back in Bahrain, it was almost like destiny that I would do something related to automobiles. After college, I decided to start a taxi service. It was a big decision, but I was ready to make a mark in this new country.

B. The Tough Times and the Good Times

Starting a business was a true test of patience. There were several challenges like getting the right licenses, finding good cars that were also affordable, and attracting customers in a market that already had established players. But every time we overcame a challenge, or a customer was happy with our service, it felt like a big win. These small victories, they kept me going.

C. Lessons from the First Years

The early years of running the business, they were like going to a school. Every problem was a lesson. It taught me the importance of hard work and being patient. It taught me that in business, every problem is a chance to learn and improve.

II. The Change in Times (2006-2015)

The mid-2000s brought a big change to the taxi business. Companies like Uber and Lyft started their services, and the whole market changed.

A. The New Services Like Uber and Lyft

When Uber and Lyft started operating, they brought something new to the taxi business. They had powerful apps that made it very easy for people to get a ride. It was a big change for traditional taxi services like mine.

B. Adapting to the Changes

Seeing the changes in the industry, I realized we needed to adapt. We embraced technology, making our services better. We created an app to make it easy for customers to book a taxi.

C. Lessons from the Changing Times

The changes that companies like Uber and Lyft brought showed me how important it is to adapt in business. It also showed me that even though technology is important, good service is still key.

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III. The Taxi Business Today (2016-2023)

The taxi business today is very different from when I started. There are new challenges, but also new opportunities.

A. Taxi Business Today

Today, the taxi business is all about convenience. Customers want to be able to book a taxi with a few taps on their phone. They want to know when the taxi will arrive. They want to be able to pay through the app. Because of these changes, we have had to adapt and improve our services.

B. What Doesn’t Work Anymore

Some things from the early days of the business don’t work anymore. For example, traditional ways of advertising like billboards and radio ads are not as effective now. In today’s digital world, customers want to be able to book and track a taxi online.

C. What Still Works

Even though a lot has changed, some things still work. Providing good service is still important. Having clean cars, friendly drivers, and safe rides are things that customers still value.

D. How We Find Success Today

Our strategy for success today is a mix of using technology and providing good service. We have modern cars with the latest safety features. We have an app for easy booking and tracking. But most importantly, we have a team that is committed to providing a great service.

IV. Looking Back and Looking Forward

When I look back at my journey, I see a journey filled with challenges and learning. Being an immigrant made the journey more challenging, but it also made me more determined to succeed.

As I look back now, I see not just a business journey but a life journey. It was filled with challenges and hurdles, yes, but each of them has shaped me, made me more resilient. Being an immigrant, I had to face even more challenges. I had to navigate a new culture, a new way of life. But every step of the way, my experiences made me stronger, more determined to succeed.

As I look to the future, I see an industry that will continue to change and evolve. And as it changes, my business will adapt. We will stay current with the latest technology, always with the goal of making our service better for our customers. But no matter what changes come, one thing will remain constant—our commitment to providing excellent service. A safe ride, a friendly driver, a clean car—these are the things that our customers can always count on.

Some Advice for Those Who Want to Start a Business

For those who dream of starting their own business, I have this to say: It will be hard. There will be times when you will want to give up. But I promise you, it will be worth it. The satisfaction of building something of your own, of providing a service that people value, it’s worth all the hard work and patience. And always remember why you started. It’s what will keep you going when the going gets tough.

Before we wrap up, I want to extend a personal invitation to all readers. If you are ever in Memphis and in need of a reliable ride, please consider our service. You can reach us easily at 901-333-TONY! Our dedicated team is always ready to ensure your ride is safe, comfortable, and pleasant.

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