Black Car Cost Control

Black car serviceJeff LaFave, founder and CEO of SummitQwest, has mastered the art of controlling black car costs for his corporate clients.  If you’re keen to see 15% savings in this category, read on…

A big pain in black car spend management is dealing with messy invoices from lots of suppliers. There can be dozens of price-related fields and factors.  Lots of rides need to be charged back to clients or business units.  Rides may not comply with travel policies…like the guy who took a black car to and from work for a year, yes, you guessed it – outside of company policy.

SummitQwest tackled this messy problem by creating SummitGround, a standardized black car invoicing platform. It makes a lot of sense for these reasons:

1. Suppliers agree to submit their invoices electronically through SummitGround.

2. SummitGround runs the invoice against dozens of QC checks and client-specific business rules.  Those that pass are sent on to the client for payment.  Those that don’t are suspended for the supplier’s review – often amounting to filling in some missing fields, or asking the client to waive a “don’t pay if” rule with a bit more explanation about the ride.

3. Clients pay clean invoices, and thereby get access to a rich database of their black car costs.  Reports are quite detailed, allowing managers to see time of day and day of week patterns, track cost-driving fees, rank usage by traveler, airport, origin, destination, etc…pretty much everything a good category manager needs.

More recently, SummitQwest has introduced SummitLink, a black car reservation system. It allows users to see a total trip cost for each supplier, something not easy to get from most shopping sites.

This tool works best for buyers with at least $400k in black car spend. SummitQwest is currently geared primarily towards customers in North America, but has eyes on the London market and other global expansion.

It has recently signed a deal with Concur to integrate SummitLink into Concur’s travel booking tool. SummitQwest is pursuing partnerships with other booking tools, travel management companies, GDS providers, and others.

Hat tip to Tim Nichols for telling me about SummitQwest – much appreciated!

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3 thoughts on “Black Car Cost Control

  1. Thanks for sharing info on this often missed topic. However I’d suggest you take a look at some other companies too as there’s so many new & established entrants in this space. We for instance use Groundscope (UK HQ’d but operate globally) who we’ve been most impressed by. They offer a complete – what we call – “TMC” Taxi Management Company service across all of our major markets inc the US. The full E2E process including booking, payment, MI, supplier mgmt & rate renegotiation/optimisation. They also offer innovations such as ride share etc. Our internal customers love their service (great support service while on the move) as do the taxi (or as our Transatlantic colleagues call it black car) suppliers. When we changed suppliers last year and reviewed the market there were some really interesting new players with some substantial VC backing. If you need more let me know and I’ll put you in touch with our ground guru

  2. Similarly, Orbitz for Business works with multiple black car distributors so travelers can search, compare and book private car services directly through the familiar Orbitz for Business interface, with integrated policy and reporting plus access to negotiated discounts of up to 40 percent off standard rates.

  3. Orbitz for Business doesn’t work with multiple black car distributors. According to their staff, they use, which has been abandoned by most black car services due to LDC business practices. Those companies which are still maintaining limited listings have increased their pricing to compensate for the commissions charged by As a 14+ year veteran of the black car/limo business, I don’t believe you’ll be finding 40% off standard rates.

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