If there was one dream job guys wish for, it would be being able to walk into work everyday and be greeted by several million dollars worth of exotics at your disposal. Luckily, this dream is real for Rob Ferretti, co-founder of Gotham Dream Cars, the nations most exclusive exotic car rental company. We sit down with Rob as he shares his secret to success story on how only a few years ago with a hundred bucks to his name, he seized opportunity when it presented itself.
Tell us a little background information about your history and business.
I’m 30 years old, I grew up in Dumont, NJ a few miles outside of NYC. I own Ferretti Productions whose primary product is the Super Speeders DVD series, which I star in. When I am not shooting, editing, or promoting the DVD series, I am running Gotham Dream Cars. I’ve been working with Gotham since the company was started in 2003 and share ownership with Noah Lehmann-Haupt who came to me with the seemingly wacky idea of renting exotic cars in 2003.
Before we jump into details, what kind of education do you have, if any?
I am a graduate of Saddle River Day School in Northern NJ, that’s about as long as my degree list goes. I put in 4 years of college between Gettysburg College in PA and Ramapo College in Northern NJ. I left voluntarily without seeking to get my degree. I wouldn’t recommend this approach to anyone looking for a job, but I left after making the decision that I didn’t want to work for anyone and wanted to run my own business.
Would you go back to college if you had the chance?
No interest. College is not the social strainer that it used to be and a college degree has become expected like the high school degree has been for many decades. When I interview people for jobs there is usually very little correlation between their degree and their qualifications and ability to do the job they are applying for. You can quickly tell who took school seriously and who is just 4 years behind the rest of the applicant pool.
How did you first meet Noah and why did he approach you with his idea considering you were young?
I met Noah at a Ferrari show in Central NJ, that was the first time I met him and he started talking to me about his desire to start an exotic car rental company. When I told him about our small group drives which we called “fun runs” he said he wanted to come with his Jetta. I told him that wouldn’t be a great idea. When he bought the Ferrari 360 that he started the company with, he showed up to a drive and learned why I had said that.
Why didn’t you dismiss the idea? Did you believe in the concept?
No reason to, I am a car geek, and I had tons of free time when not editing the DVDs which I did and still do mainly between the hours of 10 pm and 4 am.
How is Gotham Dream Cars currently doing? Is this a business you’d recommend?
Business is going well, the company is continuing to grow as it has since its inception. I see the exotic car rental business in a much different light then others, if you treat it like a business its possible to grow and succeed, if you don’t you will go out of business within a year. Renting exotic cars is a viable business model but it requires much more attention and effort then other businesses that would yield the same revenue.
You mentioned leaving school to start your own business, where did that entrepreneurial mentality come from?
Personality trait, I don’t like working for people and not being able to make decisions I feel are correct. I am a leader, not a follower.
What was your first business venture and what was the outcome?
Not as glamorous as you would think. I didn’t drop out of college to chase a great idea. I just felt like I wasn’t able to get anything more out of school, and that the degree wasn’t something that was going to carry me through life, so I stopped going. I had less then a years worth of credits left to graduate, most of which were requirements that I kept putting off that didn’t interest me. I started my own production company after I created my first DVD “Life After the 1/4 mile”. That allowed me to test the waters before diving into an unfamiliar market and displayed an opportunity that I could peruse. With that Super Speeders was born.
What kind of risks and obstacles did you encounter along the way?
Kept costs low at first and borrowed as little money as possible. Did as much of the work in house without outsourcing as possible to keep costs artificially low for the first few years.
Tell us a little bit about your Super Speeders DVD series.
Super Speeders has been great, it is more fun then I can possibly make it look on camera. I watch raw footage from years ago and it brings me back to these amazing memories that I’ve created traveling the country and driving amazing roads in some of the greatest cars ever built or modified. The DVDs have and continue to open doors for me, connecting me to people I wouldn’t have otherwise met, and taking me to places I wouldn’t have otherwise traveled.The videos are great because it displays stuff I would do whether or not the cameras are on. It’s the dream that everyone wants, to enjoy what you do.
Was Super Speeders a hobby turned business?
Yes, we were enjoying cars whether or not cameras were present, seeing the beginning of internet videos pop up of some amazing car related stuff is what made me decide to pick up a camera and record what we do. Never expected it to grow to this point with such little effort. I am just starting to treat it more like a business, so expect bigger things from Super Speeders in the months and years to come.
What kind of other production work falls under Ferretti Productions?
Side film projects of which I do a few per year. For television networks, private companies, etc. Super Speeders is the main product of Ferretti Productions which accounts for 85% of what the company does.
What is your greatest achievement?
I don’t measure achievements by monetary gain or out performing someone else. My greatest achievement is being able to grow up not following the herd and forging my own path to become a unique person. Being able to rationally think through any situation and come up with a logical solution has been the key to me achieving the level of professional and personal success I’ve experienced thus far.
How do you define success and have you personally achieved your definition of it?
I feel I am on the outskirts of success and I’m enjoying life and any of the opportunities that come up along the way. I define true success as working by choice, and with my desired lifestyle. I have years before I get to that point. Seeing as 10 years ago I was driving an 88 Bonneville, caddying at a golf course, and living in my parents basement with less then $500 to my name, I see that I’ve made good progress thus far while acknowledging a lot more effort is required to get where I want to be.
Since Gotham Dream Cars has almost every imaginable exotic available, which one is your favorite?
I am a simple guy when it comes to cars, I like fun. My favorite 2 cars we’ve had were the Ford GT and the Porsche GT3. All it takes is RWD, 3 pedals, and a bunch of horsepower to make me happy.
What’s your most memorable experience behind the wheel of an exotic?
Driving a Lamborghini Gallardo back from NYC in the snow. The snow ended up getting so high that the nose of the car was plowing the way. I had a lot of fun, and it must have been quite the sight to see.
Tell us a little bit about your personal cars and what kind of modifications you’ve done.
Along the same lines, I have 2 Range Rovers as everyday cars, my wife and I each drive one. I have 2 fun cars my ~800 rwhp race car/street car c5 Corvette and my 1998 Single turbo Supra which makes 923 RWHP conservatively running 32 lbs of boost on a 76 mm turbo. Obviously I like to spin tires and slide down any given road sideways. Both cars are purpose built to go fast, but the Supra only has 18,000 miles on it so I don’t drive it much to keep the value high. I help restrain myself by only running C-16 race gas in the car that costs ~$18/gallon, which really makes the trip to the store more expensive then you want. I recently just added a 2000 Cobra R to the stable as well.
Having done various car rallies, which one is your favorite so far?
My favorite rally to date is still the 2006 Bullrun NY – LA, there is something about the east to west cross country route that makes for a great drive. The landscape changes dramatically each day and the best driving comes later in the week, when the roads are more open, the drivers are more courteous, and the police are more scarce.
What is your ultimate motivation in life?
To go out and have fun, and make some money along the way.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Somewhere warmer then NY.
We want to thank Rob Ferretti for taking time out of his day to share his success story with us.
If you are looking to rent an exotic car for any event, contact Rob at Gotham Dream Cars and tell him Secret Entourage sent you!
Make sure to check out the Super Speeders DVD where Rob and his friends document their crazy car adventures ranging from rallies, racing, stunts, and more!