21 February 2012

To create a successful business, you need to know not only how to take risks, but also carefully calculate all. The owner of the service "Elite-taxi" has managed to combine these skills and has achieved the desired

Alexander Krulikovsky -the owner of one of the first taxi services in Kiev. He called the cost of the trip came up when ordering the machine, and another set of machines, Wi-Fi. He manages to embody his ideas by a fundamental respect for work. Now, Mr. Krulikovsky has new global goal - to achieve the appearance of legitimate taxis in Kiev.

He was born in November 18, 1969 in Chernovtsy region Glybokaya town. 1989-1992 he was an inspector of the second rank in the Vadul Siretskiy custom house. In 1997 he graduated from the KNU named by Shevchenko in the specialty "jurisprudence". Since 1994 worked as a broker in 317 Ukrainian Stock Exchange brokerage firm "Desiatinnaya" in 1996became its director. From 1996 to 1998 he combined the two papers. Director of Real Estate Agency "Svetlana". In 1998 he created the taxi service "Blitz", converted in 2001 to the "Elite Taxi." Married, has two children.




[To learn the market]

In 1998 in Kiev, there was no official taxi; there were only "rooks." Why did you decide to do this business?

A. Krulikovsky: Honestly, I'm from those who do not see any obstacles in front of him - if there is an opportunity to succeed, I will definitely use it. Before a taxi I had been selling real estate for five years: I was a director of brokerage firm, and then became a director of real estate agency. But in 1998 I left this area, I decided to start my own business. While selling the apartments, I walked along and across Kiev. Maybe when I was deciding what business to do, that knowledge of the city played a role, because the taxi is a movement on the streets. Besides, I wanted to do something great.

Cool cab?..

A. Krulikovsky:That's it! At that time in Kiev and Ukraine within the entire concept of "taxi" has lost its meaning at all. Until 1985 it was clear: sit in a taxi, the driver turns on a taximeter, and on arrival you pay the sum of dismal. After the collapse of the Union taxi pools began to disappear, drivers left without his superiors, they undertook to determine the fare. Thus, the taxi market began to form the principle of unauthorized determine fares and tariff policy has been destroyed instantly. Delivery of passengers was engaged only in "rooks."

And you decided to take this niche?

A. Krulikovsky: When I organized the service, many were twisting his finger to his temple. They were talking something like near any curb the "selector" is whom you can wave to and drove off. It would be naive to believe that someone will call and wait for the coming car. Also there was a problem with the drivers. First I went to so-called professionals, who stood at the curb. Printed on an inkjet printer small booklets, on which were written, how nice everybody will live, when you do not have to freeze in the car, waiting for customers. It was also pointed out that in my taxi drivers will go only from order to order. Of course, most of those who read it or heard, felt my venture failed and did not understand why they need another format of work.

But still there were found people who have agreed to your proposal?

A. Krulikovsky: Of course, although not as much as we would like. And, of course, without blunders the launch of taxi service does not cost. The fact that I was planning to start work until May 12, 1998. I wanted to coincide the opening of the company for the first meeting in Kiev of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. This event caused a stir comparable with the preparations for Euro 2012. But there was a cover, we did not manage to get permission to turn the radio on, and there was a problem with connecting the phone, in fact I was late for two days. My first ten cars went on line on May 14, 1998, and two days before the company "Avtosvit" had started its work. They had identical yellowish machines, beautifully decorated, they were our competition.


[Use innovation]

And how did you manage to attract customers?

A. Krulikovsky: I began  to give an advertisements in the Gala Radio. DJs talked about us in a live, staged competitions, handing out bonus trips. That is, the advertising campaign was pretty massive, and under it in the city appeared bright machines of "Avtosvit" who stood out from the crowd of faceless car. When potential customers began calling us they immediately asked if they aren’t our yellowish machines riding around the city. We were told that they are not; customers apologized and called on in search of pretty yellowish cars. It so happened that the first six months, I was standing very hard up on the feet.

What helped to survive?

A. Krulikovsky: Competitors misses. I periodically used to monitor the work of dispatching "Avtosvit." This was possible because both our companies were working on the civil radio range, in the so-called low-band; they can be customized with the common radio stations. Suppose we had worked a month, I received 10 orders a day, and "Avtosvit" - 100, the second month I had 20, and competitors - 200. Over time, the situation changed. Top management of "Avtosvit" made a serious mistake by not monitor the driver's honesty: on the machines were installed Odessa’s taximeters, the drivers were able to cheat, setting their own fares. By the way, I think it was then destroyed the concept of determining the cost of travel on the taximeter. To this day, a client of Kiev, as soon as he sees the device, immediately began to worry about that he will have to pay too much. From the first day I determined the fare of transfer at the time of ordering.

So it was your expertise?

A. Krulikovsky: Yes. When the client called the control room, he pointed to the place of departure and arrival; the dispatcher called the fare and passed the information to the taxi driver. So no one was able to cheat. Initially, we had a few tariffs; I divided Kiev into six zones. The transfer within one area cost one amount, from zone to zone - another, and through the area - the third. In 1999, I ordered the first program that can calculate the path of the machine and determine the cost of the trip. Run it as early as 2000. But before I drew tariff tables for myself. For this, I decided to divide Kiev on neighborhoods, which then we have loomed on the map. The distance from point A to point B we counted with the help of a matchbox. The resulting figure was multiplied by the scale and cost of a kilometer, in such way we determined the tariff, and recorded the result into the table. After this the table was placed in the control room, officers called from it the cost of the trip, just moving fingers over the paper. When in the beginning 1999 the number of calls has increased to 250 per day, we had to create the program.

How many people you have worked then?

A. Krulikovsky: For a while I was working all alone in a small rented room, the former janitor. There was even a garbage disposal. So our first office was a 2x2 meter square, where a table, a chair, radio and a telephone was standing. When it became possible, I began to expand business and hire staff.


[Check each]

First, your company was called "The Blitz". When and why did you rebrand?

A.Krulikovsky: On the market I really deduced Taxi "Blitz" and worked with that name until 2000. The idea of rebranding has pushed customers. The fact is that during the first crisis, when layoffs began in Kiev, very competent people, many with two higher educations, were coming to me to get the work as a drivers. In addition in the taxi station there were only foreign cars. Customers began to call us taxi elite. I spent the multi-line phones; we recorded a very successful musical advertising that is still on everyone's lips. So during the year we had increased the number of orders on 300%.

Until now, the ideology and philosophy of building a business I do not change. I do not have as many cars as it could be because there are certain requirements for the transport and personnel.

Perform tests when applying for a job?

A. Krulikovsky: Of course. Each is certified and interview. In the process of conversation I am defining the level of intelligence. I do not want to offend anyone, sometimes the driver’s vocabulary may be limited to some interjections, but he can quote Nietzsche easily. And someone can have an intelligent appearance, but is not in the state to connect the two words together.

The driver must get the passenger to his place, rather than read poetry to him ...

A. Krulikovsky: Now, there are two types of customers - who wish to speak, are arranged in the front seat, and prefer silence - in the background. Even if the driver carries a very intelligent man, he should at least be able to keep the conversation going, or know when a controversy is better not to join.


They say that you measure with the ruler the cars that will carry clients.

Krulikovsky A: Yes, I have a rule - the length of the rear seat must not be less than 1.3 m. l remeasured all cars; three men about my body seated on the rear, closed the door and asked how comfortable they ride. Having checked this a few dozen cars, I realized that if the distance between the doors handles is equal to 1.3 m, then going will be comfortable.

In the taxi market your service is almost the only official one. How did you manage to organize the work?

A. Krulikovsky: I originally set certain standards. They relate not only to my drivers license. First, the carriers that are cooperating with us must be private entrepreneurs registered in the tax office, have a right to carry passengers in taxi mode. Secondly, the car that will "work" must be formalized, and it shall be license card registered.

Now I have no more than 200 cars.

Informational Dispatch Service 'Elite Taxi " is the intermediary between the client and driver. It works like a normal call center: a call from a customer enters the control room; the employee picks up the car and sends it to the right address. Operates a system of automatic allocation of orders: each machine has a device that is running special software. It displays the order. With this device I can online monitor the movements of cars.

Other taxi services, as I understand it, do not work such way...

A. Krulikovsky: What's happening in the today’s taxis market is nonsense. Previously, I collected business cards of various taxi services, but four years ago gave up this activity - they became too many, new ones appear almost every day. Their owners do not understand the principles of the passengers, standards of service and class of vehicle. Therefore, many burn out as quickly as it opened, failing to comprehend and implement a culture of the modern taxi. I do not understand how anyone can call the taxi service office, which makes the control room in his apartment in the kitchen and does not guarantee quality of service to customers. For example, calling a taxi in such service, a client can not be sure that the car will arrive at all ...



[Do not stop there]

You are an innovator in passenger traffic. What ideas are widely used now?

A. Krulikovsky:The very first thing is invented by me the principle of determining the fare at the time of order. Now the entire taxi market uses it. Equally well-known idea is the organization of the Exchange Server, the so-called barrel. The system works as follows: the order is sent to a common base, and other services can pick up it from there, if there are not any machines at yours. This exchanges board I have devised back in 2008, but it included only five companies. We have established a rule: tariff policy should be identical – the same price, vehicle class, the rules of processing orders. Today, many have adopted the principle of our work, but do not follow the rules. Because of this, customers often find themselves without a cab, because they call for the car to one service, the order is taken by another, but in the end no one is coming.

How do you develop a business?

A. Krulikovsky: I started to create my own fleet. In September, I bought the first 15 cars, all the new "standard" and "premium" class, the same white color. I've been working on the principle: the more you invest, the more you earn. It is foolish to save money and rely on the fact that without investments can break a big jackpot. Moreover, I am building a business not for myself but for my children. I am planning to create a foundation to ensure that they can realize their dreams. I do not want my children started like me, with the janitor.

They say you are lobbying a bill regulating the market for a taxi. Is this true?

A. Krulikovsky: I'm working on the creation of Ukrainian taxi association. Its member could become only a legal taxi service or legitimate carriers. We plan to implement, worked out by us, the concept of development the taxi market by 2025. Documents to amend the existing legislation are almost ready. Most importantly, we declare the transparency of going out to market. Nowadays, our legislation does not regulate the most dangerous means of passenger transport - a taxi. Nobody controls the carrier, so more and more new information and control services are opening. They are about 300. This market requires regulation, and we expect it will be possible with the authorities to make it order.

What qualities have helped to achieve success?

A. Krulikovsky: Honestly, I do not like to talk about my positive qualities. Those who know me have to tell about this.

Do you have a dream?

A. Krulikovsky: Frankly speaking, I want to relax. I have not been on vacation for five years already.


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