Where are you from and where did you grow up?
While I was born in the U.S., my parents emigrated from Afghanistan. My family moved to the west coast from Queens, New York soon after I was born and I’ve been in San Diego for the last 11 years.
When did you become interested in the transportation industry and why?
My father was a taxi driver and he would come home each day complaining about the traffic, long hours and lousy pay. Once in a while, he would have returning customers who asked for pre-arranged pick-ups. On those days, he came home with a smile because his day was less chaotic – rather than just driving around hoping for someone to flag him down, he knew exactly when to be somewhere for a pick up and could get home earlier to spend time with his family.
This got me thinking about the transportation industry. I was in my early 20’s and I wanted to start a business to help my dad have more control over his life and make a better living. My father emigrated to America to give me the opportunity for a better life, but why shouldn’t he have that as well?
So, in my senior year at SDSU (I was a mechanical engineering major), I did some research and came across a private sedan service. I immediately knew that it was the perfect fit for my father. It was then that I drew up my business plan.
How did you come up with the concept for Stay Classy Transportation?
I was sitting in the back of my Engineering class, not paying attention, thinking of business names that would be catchy and professional. I wanted to provide a car service that people could rely on and that operated in an upmarket, refined kind of way. The word “classy” kept crossing my mind and then it just hit me: STAY CLASSY TRANSPORTATION. It was catchy, sophisticated, and applied perfectly to a San Diego transportation company.
Why is your company culture and way of doing business so important?
We knew from the start that we needed to focus on providing the best service to our clients. To do that, we’ve created a culture at SCT where catering to our clients’ needs is our number one goal. Every team member feels vital to the entire operation and is excited to come to work each day. We all understand that you need us to be reliable and that is the core of our business. We work together to be the transportation company that you can count on day in and day out.
How often do you use transportation services yourself?
Often. One of the reasons my partner and I enjoy running this business is because we genuinely care about people and their safety. Our customers trust us with their spouses, children, friends and clients, and we take that responsibility seriously. Safety is my priority, so I try to set an example and have a driver on hand on nights I go out.
What’s next for Stay Classy Transportation?
We want to be a household name here in San Diego, and slowly expand to other major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. After we have California running smoothly, we plan to move to other cities that our clients travel to and from often: Fort Worth, NYC, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Miami.
Also, keep any eye out for Stay Classy Medical Transportation. Our customers rely on us for business needs, but we are also working diligently to make ourselves available for their medical transportation needs as well. Stay tuned.
How would you describe yourself?
I am a born entrepreneur always looking for opportunities to expand my business portfolio. I pride myself in my ability to continually challenge myself both physically and mentally.
What do you like best about working at Stay Classy Transportation?
Every day is a new challenge, but we make sure to have fun along the way. We always look for ways to bring out the best in each other and are not afraid of some friendly competition.
What do you think are the key principles for having a successful transportation company?
I know it’s a cliché, but customer service is our top priority and it has brought our company to the top. We know all of our clients on a personal level and cater to them individually. We make our clients feel comfortable and they know they can count on us week in and week out. Read our reviews on Yelp® and see for yourself.
What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
I love to have people over for dinner and chai. Contrary to what some might believe, I am not in business solely for the money, but more so to have the ability to take care of the ones I love.