Written By: Christine Garcia
Photo Credit: Will Davis
Will Davis first immigrated to the United States from West Africa at the age of 10. At age 25, 15 years later, he was able to become a successful entrepreneur as CEO and founder of Dapper Tours, a tour company that utilizes motorcycles and provides a vintage yet modern twist to exploring the city. Instead of spending their days on a tour bus of New York City, tourists who book under Dapper Tours are provided with a much more personal experience of the city as they are given a tour in a sidecar motorcycle, driven by certified sidecarists who essentially go where the tourists find interest.
When asked how the concept of the business came about, Davis stated “It came from the love of motorcycles, people, and the city. [I] wanted to show other people the vintage of the city”. In addition, he recalls being in Love Lane in Brooklyn and seeing a bike. He says, “With that one look of that beauty, I bought one for myself to travel. That’s how this business began. Now I have 4 bikes, each takes 2 people. 8 people at a time. Till now I have around 800 tours.”
Nevertheless, Davis does acknowledge that this success did not come easy to him, but rather resulted from the lessons he learned after the failure of his first business, Printer Mandurah. When speaking on why the business failed he states “I couldn’t manage the finances of the business. For example, I didn’t know I had to collect sales taxes for the business. That was one of the biggest struggles. I had to pay the consequences for not knowing what I was doing.”
However, if it were not for this failure, Davis would not have found his true passion and succeeded as an entrepreneur. He even advises those starting a new business, “You have to know how much you can make realistically with your business. Having a financial forecast is very important. Many people go into business with this idea that I want to make x amount of money. But First, you should write in a paper how you want your life to be in the future and how much it will require to go to that place. That’s how you will know if this is the right business for [your] lifestyle or not.”
Taking this advice allowed Davis to accomplish his goals while also doing something he loved. Unfortunately, however, his business was significantly impacted by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of the outbreak, Davis had to shut down his business and pivot the use of his motorcycles. Davis says, “I started giving free rides to doctors and nurses to the hospital.” Now, going into 2021, Davis is hopeful that he will be able to serve the city with his tours yet again as people crave to return to the normal and tour New York City as they once did before. His future plans even involve expanding his business throughout other cities within the United States.
He then leaves us off with a general word of advice for those who were also affected by this pandemic and says “It’s almost over with the struggle of covid and shutdowns. Hard times give a lesson and 2020 is a hard time as it is the best lesson. Using the bad in a good way it will make you so much stronger.”
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