Driving can be a dangerous pastime. Over 4.4 million people are injured and more than 38,000 die every year in road crashes. Unlike taxis or ride-sharing hailing services, hiring a limousine rental service near you does not only leave your travel to professional and experienced chauffeurs but also ensures a reliable ride and grand arrival. Whether getting to the airport on time, arriving at a corporate event or concert stress-free, or making a bold entry at a prom, wedding, or party, a good limo is the perfect convenience to save you the hassle of navigating traffic hurriedly and safely.
Though limousine rental services are tantamount to luxury, comfort, and style, they are not as expensive as presumed especially if hired nearby. The proximity of a limo rental service may serve as leverage to negotiate a cheaper fee. Regardless of the fees, it is necessary to ask the following questions to make sure that you end up with the best and most professional limousine rental service near you.
Are You Licensed, Registered, or Certified?
Limousine rental services are regulated at a federal, state, and local level, and the specific licenses and permits that these companies are required to obtain vary by location. Generally, limousine rental services have to obtain a state-issued business license that authorizes them to operate in a particular location. They must also meet various state or local government-specific insurance, vehicle inspection, and driver requirements. These requirements usually include passing a staff and employee background check and paying a license application fee. Note that any chauffeur employed by a limousine rental service must have a valid driver's license issued by the state's motor vehicle agency. In addition to this, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires all drivers that operate vehicles that can transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, to obtain a commercial driver's license that has a passenger endorsement.
Considering this, it is always a good idea to contact the consumer protection agency responsible for your state of residence to find out the licensing requirements for limousine rental services near you before you hire one. The National Limousine Association also provides interested members of the public with access to an online portal that you can utilize to search for reputable limousine rental services near you. However, although rental services that have been endorsed by this association are likely to meet all the licensing requirements of your locality, it is advisable that you still do your due diligence before retaining the services of any of these companies.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Limousine Rental Service?
The average cost of renting a limousine in the United States is $70 - $150 per hour. Note that limousine rental service costs are affected by factors like how long you require the limousine, the brand and type of limousine that you hire, the occasion for which you are renting the limousine, when you want to rent the limousine, and your location. Some limousine rental cost estimates include:
Cost estimates by length of time:
- Limo rental per hour - $60 - $250
- Limo rental for a day - $250 - $1,000
- Limo rental for a night - $250 $950
Cost estimates by type of limo per hour:
- Luxury sedan - $65 - $100
- Luxury SUV - $75 - $120
- Stretch limo - $75 - $150
- SUV limo - $125 - $200
- Party bus - $120 - $250
Cost estimates by occasion:
- Weddings - $500 - $1,000
- Prom - $250 - $400
Note that there are certain steps that you can take to make sure that you stay within budget and even get a discount when hiring a limousine rental service near you. These steps include:
- Inquire about packages and offers: Some limousine rental services provide rental packages for occasions like weddings, birthdays, proms, and bachelor or bachelorette parties. These packages typically include free champagne, bottled water, and multiple pick-up and stop locations, all of which generally increase your total bill if you have to pay for them out of pocket. Likewise, some limousine rental services also offer discounts if you rent a limo for a longer period as opposed to short-term renting. Inquiring about the availability of these packages and offers can go a long way in reducing the total cost of hiring a good limousine rental service near you
- Select off-peak hours: There is usually a higher demand for limousine rental services during certain days of the week or the year due to the high number of events that occur during this period. These include Saturdays, which are when a lot of weddings occur, and periods like Super Bowl weekends. As such, if your schedule is flexible, then it is a good idea to rent a limo during off-peak hours when the rush for these services will be lower
- Designate a pick-up point: If you have a group of friends that wish to take the limo trip together, having a designated pick-up point is a good way to increase the amount of time that you spend together and enjoy your limousine experience. This also saves money if the limousine rental service that you hire charges extra fees for multiple pick-up locations
What Are Common Limousine Rental Expenses?
There are certain expenses that you may typically incur when you hire a limousine rental service. Some companies may include these expenses in their rental costs, while others may charge separately for it. Therefore, before you sign any contracts with a limousine rental service, you should always make sure to find out exactly what you will be charged for at the end of the day. Examples of these expenses include:
- Cost of special amenities: This usually includes the cost of beverages and snacks that you may be offered or served during the trip
- Cleaning fees: Many limousine rental services calculate the cost of cleaning the limo into their basic rental fees. However, you may be charged extra cleaning costs depending on what occurs during your trip and how much the limo gets messed up
- Gratuity or tips: It is a common practice to tip certain service providers and chauffeurs are no exception. Some limousine rental services include this gratuity when calculating their rental prices while others leave this to the discretion of the customer.
- Toll and parking fees: In many cases, you will have to bear the cost of any highway tolls or parking fees for your rented limo
- Fuel surcharges: You should always inquire about fuel surcharges before hiring a limousine rental service. This is because some rental services automatically include a 10% fuel surcharge in their fees. You may also incur a fuel surcharge if a change in your route or itinerary after your trip commences causes your chauffeur to go further than planned
- Waiting and cancellation fees: You may be charged a fee if you keep your chauffeur waiting for too long or if you cancel your trip too close to the arranged pick-up time. Note that if you do not show up at all for the trip, you may still be charged the full cost of the service, including any gratuity and fuel surcharges. If your limo does not show up at the preplanned time and location, you should contact your limousine rental service and inform them of this immediately
Who Will Do the Work?
Before you finalize payment agreements with any limousine rental service near you, it is advisable to find out who exactly will be responsible for chauffeuring you around. Make sure that this chauffeur has a valid driver's license. It is also a good idea to inquire about this chauffeur's level of professionalism and ability to handle unexpected situations such as traffic jams, flat tires, and unruly passengers. Find out whether the company has any policies that require the random drug and alcohol testing of their chauffeurs, if these chauffeurs undergo regular training and customer service sensitization programs, and if the company keeps records of these tests and training programs as well as testimonials and endorsements of individual chauffeurs made by past clients.
What Qualifications Should a Limousine Rental Service Chauffeur Have?
While there are no mandatory educational requirements for chauffeurs, many limousine rental service chauffeurs have a high school diploma or its educational equivalent. These chauffeurs are required to have a valid state-issued driver's license, and some states and municipalities may also have additional requirements, which typically include passing background checks and regular drug testing. Chauffeurs that drive limousines that can sit up to 16 passengers are also required to obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL) that has a passenger (P) endorsement. Finally, limousine rental services typically provide on-the-job training for their chauffeurs aimed at acclimatizing them with local routes and increasing their customer service skills.
It is estimated that there are about 599,980 passenger vehicle drivers employed in the United States, and this figure includes chauffeurs that are employed in the taxi and limousine service industry. Some of these chauffeurs, as well as the limousine rental services that employ them, belong to professional trade associations like the National Limousine Association and the Minority Limousine Operators of America. While membership in a professional trade association is not mandatory for limousine rental services or their chauffeurs, it is usually an indication of their level of professionalism.
Will You Provide References?
Before you hire a limousine rental service near you, it is advisable to ask friends, family members, and colleagues about their experiences with these services. You can also get referrals online from professional limousine services and operator associations like the National Limousine Association or the Minority Limousine Operators of America. Doing this helps narrow down your choices to the best rental services available. Vet any limousine rental services that are referred to you through the Better Business Bureau and other third-party review websites to find out how long the company has been in business and if any complaints have been made against the company, its chauffeurs, or its quality of service. You can also utilize the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's company snapshot portal to get details like the company's safety records and crash information, if any.
When you settle on a particular limousine rental service near you, contact this company and find out if they can provide you with references from past clients. Professional limousine rental services will not hesitate to do this, and you should consider it a red flag if the company that you contact is reluctant to provide you references, as this usually means that the company's services are not up to par. It is also a good idea to visit the company in person, check out its fleet, and confirm that these vehicles are in line with your expectations. You should also re-confirm that the limousine rental service meets all the licensing requirements of your area of residence during this visit.
Quick Facts about Limousine Rental Services
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Many limousine rental services can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, some of these services may operate their physical offices only during the standard business hours of 9:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. Note that these limousine rental services can still usually be contacted via phone and other forms of communication at any time, regardless of their physical operating hours.
Many premium limousine rental companies offer their services during the holidays.
There is no specified time for making a reservation with a limousine rental service, and some services even allow clients to make reservations up to one year in advance. However, it is advisable to make your reservations at least 24 hours in advance to ensure the availability of your desired service.
Yes, you can. Many professional limousine rental services have websites and online channels through which you can make reservations.
Limousine rental services typically require a valid credit card number for online reservations as well as final payments. Some services charge a non-refundable reservation fee or deposit, while others do not charge the card until a few days before the trip or after the trip commences. Likewise, some companies may also accept cash for reservations and final payments that are made in person.
Many limousine rental services allow you to cancel your reservations up to 24 hours before your scheduled pick-up time without charging you any cancellation fees. However, cancellations made close to your scheduled pick-up time usually attract a cancellation fee. This time varies by limousine rental service and the type of vehicle that was reserved, and it usually ranges from two to six hours before the scheduled pick-up time. As such, you should always inquire about the cancellation policy of the limousine rental service you intend to hire.
Having a properly insured fleet of vehicles is typically one of the requirements for obtaining a limousine rental service license. Nevertheless, you should always confirm this before reserving any vehicle. Always ask for proof of insurance and make sure that it is valid and up to date.
Limousine rental services typically have specified areas where they are allowed to operate. Some companies only provide services within particular cities, some provide intrastate services, while others provide interstate services in at least two or more states. Always make sure that the limousine rental service near you that you intend to hire can travel to the destination of your event.
Yes, you can. Many limousine rental services encourage their clients to bring their own music as this personalizes and enhances the limo experience. These companies typically have vehicles that are equipped with Bluetooth capabilities, auxiliary input, CD players, and other amenities that allow clients to listen to their choice of music.
Quoted prices and rates are usually based on the information that was available to the company at the time the reservation was made. Changes to this amount may occur due to additional services that were provided during the trip. These may include extra stops, long chauffeur waiting times, damages to the limo, cleanup fees, and an extension of the original service period. Before you hire the services of a limousine rental service, you should always inquire about any additional charges that may be billed to you. Also, if you feel that any of these additional charges are unwarranted, then you should contact the company to sort this out.