The 5 KEY Things You Need to Ask When Looking for a Ground Transportation Provider

Over the last 17+ years MUV has participated in countless RFPs, attended thousands of client meetings, and participated in hundreds of event conferences. The meetings and events industry continues to change drastically with disruptive technology, evolving regulations, and a more savvy client. Despite so much innovation in the industry, ground transportation providers are still being asked questions that they were asked 17 years ago. So rip up that RFP and make sure to ask these 5 questions the next time you’re looking for the right ground partner.

1. What is your on-time percentage?

Seems simple, but we rarely see this question included or asked. If you’re in the transportation space, you should be tracking this. If your potential vendor can’t answer this or replies with 100%, you’ve been forewarned.  We recommend using this number as table stakes and incorporate into your SLA (service level agreement).

As a guideline, most operators perform at or above 99%.  So, for every 100 rides, you will experience one delay or deviation.  As a comparison, the airline industry on-time percentage is about 85%.

2. The right questions about insurance.

No one wants to talk about insurance until they need it.  But that’s exactly when it’s too late.  Typical requirements usually fall into two camps – those that ask for too much insurance and those asking for insurance that does not truly cover their risk.

For those asking for a large amount of insurance, it can be provided, but it has a significant cost.  If you’re looking to lower your transportation cost but increase the insurance needed, the math simply does not work.

For companies asking for basic insurance i.e.  General Liability, Auto, etc. we recommend you ask providers how the insurance works when the work is being done by others. Do they have Professional Liability and/or Errors and Omissions?

Insurance is a complicated matter and you should include your risk and legal teams. Instead of just asking for certificates of coverage, request full policies.  Each policy has many forms and exclusions which must be reviewed by an insurance professional.

Ultimately, there’s a limited number of underwriters who provide insurance to the industry and there are industry norms.  Work with your risk department to determine the right balance between limits and the price you’re willing to pay to get them.

3. Technology

Although we see many questions regarding technology, they’re very broad and general in nature.  Instead, be specific and use real-world scenarios based on stakeholder’s feedback. Usually, the stakeholders are the booker, the passenger, and the financial team.  Each will have their own technology needs which helps them be more efficient and have a great customer experience.  Examples of specific technical questions:

  • What does your online/app technology offer for the booker? As a standard, you should be able to view vehicle status in real time and driver name and number, so you can contact them when needed.
  • Can I create and customized reports such as spend by department, by P.O., etc.?
  • Does your system integrate with third-party systems like Cvent? If not, do you have capabilities to create custom integrations?

4. SLA and KPI (Service Level Agreement and Key Performance Indicator)

If you have an expectation for everything to perform at 100%, unfortunately,  it won’t. Drivers get lost, buses break, and traffic is unpredictable. To avoid only talking to your ground provider when things go wrong, establish a list of SLA/KPI to include in your RFP. We recommend determining these prior to sending out an RFP, by meeting with your internal stakeholders.

Once defined, these will be the measure of success or areas of improvement for your ground program. This provides the buyer with actionable data and tells the vendor exactly what to focus on. Keep these simple! Common SLAs/KPIs MUV suggests:

  • On-time performance
  • Invoice accuracy
  • Billing turnaround time (finance does not want to chase bills that cause delays to closing books)
  • Response time for proposals and quote requests

5. Pricing Transparency

One of the most common frustrations shared by clients is that pricing for transportation is confusing and varies greatly.  This isn’t your fault and you don’t have to accept it.  Ask for simple pricing that is truly inclusive of all fees.  Avoid invoice surprises and budget creep by making sure pricing is clear and defined for all service types needed.  Of course, any new services or additional services during a ride are going to change the price, but most times this is the outlier and not the norm.

There are many more questions that should be asked to create a successful ground transportation program, but the questions above should give you a good start in qualifying potential providers. If you have more questions or need help building your Ground RFP, contact us directly, we’re glad to help.

MUV, Inc.


Phone:  800-360-5466

Written by Cvent Guest