FAIRMONT - Dahmon Gullord's desire to learn about the business world drove him to study accounting at Iowa Lakes Community College and business management at Minnesota State University Mankato.
"The first thing they teach is to find a need and fill it," Gullord said. "I think we needed to step in and upgrade taxi service."
Royalty Rides, Fairmont's newest transportation firm, initially was going to be a limousine service, he said, but a July 1 change in Minnesota law governing insurance prompted him to start out on a smaller scale.
NEW?RIDE?— Dahmon Gullord operates Royalty Rides, Fairmont’s newest transportation firm, because he saw a need. (By Judy Bryan)
"The first thing to do is the taxi," Gullord said. "If it comes to need, I'll accommodate and get more vehicles. They're only going to be upscale vehicles."
His inaugural automobile is a sleek black vehicle capable of seating four. He refers to it at as a "little stretch," as in limousine, indicating that it might look like a car, but its amenities are those of a limo.
"I've done a lot to customize," Gullord said.
Midwest Audio of Fairmont installed a state-of-the art stereo system. Emergency lighting, a 24/7 security camera, GPS and DVD player are other added luxuries.
Gullord credits the Fairmont City Council for its prompt action in obtaining his licensing, and also Bank Midwest and Chris Bartz for financing and insurance, respectively. He also netted his first contract with the Pour House in Northrop, which finances free rides to patrons from Fairmont to the business.
His current taxi classification is "very, very basic," he said. He is licensed by the city, which involves application, inspection and a background check through law enforcement, but limits his fares in and around the city.
A limousine classification is regulated through the state, which would allow him a much larger service area. While the more stringent licensing and inspection criteria is not an issue, the increased insurance cost is staggering.
Once the fledgling taxi business becomes more established, Gullord plans to add additional and probably larger vehicles.
He's already eyeing his next purchase, a "funeral car, which seats seven people very comfortably," he said.
Gullord said his fares would be "mostly in the $5 to $10 range." He encourages people to book in advance to block off their requested time, although he promises to be on call "as much as we need."
Rides can be arranged by calling (507) 848-DRIV or (507) 848-3748.