Clients are like friends to Deerfield limo drivers
Bud Hicks (left) and his father-in-law, Oleg Godun are co-owners of their Deerfield-based company, VJ Limousine, which employs 15 additional drivers, and has several different types of vehicles, including town cars, luxury SUV’s, stretch limos and party b
Updated: February 27, 2013 8:20AM
DEERFIELD — Both Bud Hicks and his father-in-law, Oleg Godun say that when driving a client to the airport, it’s like driving a friend. It’s an attitude that has helped make their business, VJ Limousine a success.
“Our clients really are our friends,” said Godun, “We know about each other’s families, and we care about each other. This is more than just a job.”
VJ Limousine got started in 2005 when Hicks was looking for a business opportunity, and Godun, who with his family came to the U.S. 15 years ago from Ukraine, was a subcontractor for a suburban taxi company.
“We were always talking about having a family business,” said Hicks, who lives in Wheeling with his wife, Julia (Godun’s daughter) and their two children, “It seemed like a natural decision because he was driving a taxi and he had enough clients who we knew would follow us, so it was a good fit.”
The company, which is based in Deerfield where Godun lives with his wife, Svetlana, employs 15 other drivers, all of whom according to Hicks have good character and are dependable.
“I met all my drivers at the O’Hare staging area,” Hicks said, “I would talk to them and I didn’t tell them I was the owner of a company looking to hire, because I wanted to get to know their real personalities.”
VJ Limousine has several different types of vehicles, including town cars, luxury SUV’s, stretch limos and party buses.
The company services individuals, families and small and large corporations. Hicks said the majority of the business is airport trips, but that they do a lot of downtown trips for sporting events, concerts and groups going into the city for dinner or other special events.
“The benefits of getting a driver are that you don’t have to worry about parking or drinking, and we pull right up to where you’re going, and are there waiting when you’re ready to leave,” Hicks said.
Marc Rosenberg of Deerfield recently hired Hicks to drive his daughter and her group of friends downtown for a day of fun.
“Bud makes sure to watch out for them, and he stays with them, but still lets them have fun,” said Rosenberg, “He’s a great guy and he’s super reliable.”
Rosenberg also uses VJ Limousine for personal and business trips to the airport.
VJ Limousine charges hourly rates for some jobs, but also has point to point transfer rates. Customers are guaranteed a reservation if they call 24 hours or more in advance. They do accept last-minute calls based on availability.
“I use them exclusively,” said Bob Albert of Glenview, “They’re reliable, polite, and professional. I’ve used them hundreds of times and I don’t think they’ve ever been late.”
When asked what it’s like to work so closely with his father-in-law, Hicks said his family is extremely close, enjoys spending time together, and that Godun, who he calls “Pops,” is like a father to him.
“I never used to drink coffee until I met this guy,” he joked, “He’d always say, ‘Let’s go to Starbucks’ and now I’m hooked on coffee.”
“I don’t call him my son-in-law,” said Godun, “I call him my son.”
“I’ve referred so many people to them and people always say they love the fact that they are reliable,” said Rosenberg, “They’re always there waiting for you and so you’re set with no hassles.”