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🤔🐆🎙️ NYC TLC Leasing: "Predatory" Business Model (?), Plates, EVs & More

AutoMarketplace Founder Dawood Mian sits down with three NYC TLC leasing company owners to speak about their businesses, how they think about the market and their thoughts on being called "predatory"

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines predator and predatory as follows:

  • predator (noun) one who injures or exploits others for personal gain or profit

  • predatory (adjective) of, relating to, or practicing plunder, pillage, or rapine

These are serious words. These are powerful words. If not used appropriately, these words can disparage and intimidate businesses & people, especially when spoken by someone who holds political power.

The term “predatory” was used several times, and in public media settings, by acting TLC Chair David Do, certain driver advocates and journalists to describe NYC TLC leasing or rental companies.

We’ve covered the TLC leasing business several times and why we disagree with this general characterization. The term general is important here, as there are definitely bad players, as there is in any industry, market or government. Kindof like how there are bad politicians and good ones, kindof like how there are “bad apple” cops but the vast majority are good, put their lives at risk for public safety, etc. In fact, to even define things as either being “good” or “bad” does not capture the intricacies of reality.

Using defamatory language, in a public press setting, creates stereotypes. We think everyone can agree speaking in stereotypes is not appropriate.

“Now drivers are not going to be…beholden to a predatory lease…If you’re putting $300 plus toward a weekly lease, that’s money out of your pocket.”
- TLC Chair & Commissioner David Do, October 18th, NYC Mayor’s Office Press Briefing

Creating a stereotype can also be dangerous because it kills nuance and encourages “pitchfork” debate & politics. If you’re on the wrong side of the pitchfork, it’s tough to tell your side of the story and to be heard. It can be intimidating as well. That is why we think it was important to directly hear from owners of TLC leasing companies, so they can share how they think about the market (i.e., TLC Plates, EVs, regulation) and their thoughts on constantly being called "predatory".

Most importantly, we wanted to quantify things, speak in details and not generalities. We wanted to humanize these leasing businesses, hear directly from the local entrepreneurs who bootstrapped these businesses, often from humble beginnings (i.e., venture capital money didn’t build these companies). Business is complex. NYC is complex. Running a business in a very regulated NYC marketplace adds further complexities.

We want to conclude by saying this. We respect the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission. We respect TLC Chair David Do. They and he have a mandate, we are absolutely not questioning that power. However, they are answerable to all New Yorkers and they should not forget this. They have serious responsibilities and should expect criticism, especially when it is warranted. This is NYC 🗽.

The discussion between Dawood & the three TLC leasing company owners includes:

  • Discussion about NYC TLC fleet leasing business model and profit margins (i.e., why are they charging $500 per week to rent a Toyota Camry?!)

  • Why they think being called “predatory” is unfair and broader thoughts on regulations

  • How they think about NYC TLC Plates (FHV Corps) & if they have any value

  • Electric vehicles (EVs) and *new* EV TLC Plates

  • Future of NYC for-hire transportation market and role of leasing companies

  • TLC JW summons related to 60 days of FHV non-use (noteworthy specific)

We hope you enjoy the conversation and, as always, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below or by emailing us at


👋 00:00 - Intro 🧑 00:49 - Background of NYC TLC fleet owners 🚕 06:35 - Why do we need NYC TLC leasing companies? What's the value? 😧 11:29 - Biggest issues TLC leasing companies face 😬 15:27 - Real life examples of issues faced 👩‍🔧 19:45 - Physical damage & collision (self-insurance) 🤷 27:18 - Why are people paying $500 per week for a Camry? 🤑 36:18 - NYC TLC leasing profit margins?
🛑 37:50 - 60 day non-use Summons (JW TLC summons) 😩 41:52 - GM (Maven), Lyft (Flexdrive) experience in NYC TLC leasing business 🗣️ 43:23- Talking NYC TLC Plates 🤔 46:15 - Why is there a TLC Plate Cap? Impact on leasing business? 🧠 49:30 - Understanding driver business mentality
💰 52:45 - What are TLC Plates (FHV Corp) worth? Have you bought TLC Plates (FHV Corp)? Why? 🚖 1:00:40 - NYC TLC Plate (FHV Corp) vs. NYC Taxi Medallion 🐆 1:06:12 - "Predatory" accusation against TLC leasing companies ⚡ 1:17:48 - EV exemption to TLC Plate Cap? Using EVs for TLC work?
🗽 1:27:49 - Thoughts on regulation in the NYC TLC market & EVs 💸 1:33:27 - New EV TLC Plates impact on drivers earnings ⚖️ 1:35:35 - TLC regulation is pushing businesses to edge & need for public hearing ⚡ 1:37:57 - What if TLC opens up EV TLC Plates again? 👋 1:42:28 - Final thoughts

AutoMarketplace NYC covers the for-hire transportation industry and automotive news. Check out AutoMarketplace on YouTube ▶️

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