Unless you’re part of the Hollywood A-list, hiring a limousine isn’t something you’re going to do very often. Here in NZ it has to be a pretty special occasion before someone starts shelling out for a flashy ride. So it makes sense to avoid disappointment and check out that limousine company carefully.
Define Your Needs
Before you start looking around for a limo service make a short list of the information they will need to respond properly to your queries. This should include:
- Type of occasion – wedding, school ball, business function etc.
- Number of passengers
- Number of pick-up stops
- Distance to and from venue and any additional side trips
- Length of time you’ll need the limousine
- Day and time of pick-up
And Your Wants
A special occasion might require special features. Do you want to enhance your experience with a fibre optic starlight roof, a sunroof, TV, sound system, DVD player or, perhaps most importantly a bar?
Start the Search
You’ll probably have a particular type of vehicle in mind – it might be anything from a classic Lincoln towncar to a Hummer super-stretch. Not all companies supply all types of limousine. Use the internet and the Yellow Pages to make a short list of companies that supply the type of vehicle you want.
Service is just as important as the car itself. Check the internet for reviews or complaints about the company. Have they been in business for a reasonable length of time? Do you know anyone who has used them before? Do they present a professional image in their advertising and promotional material?
See What You’re Renting
If possible, visit the company premises and inspect their cars. Are they clean and well maintained. Are they late model? Are they going to make you feel like a million bucks, or are they well past their use-by date?
If you can’t visit, ask the company to email you photos of the actual car you’ll be renting.
Limousine rental is a competitive business, so shop around and get more than one quote. Things a quote should cover include:
- Minimum rental period. Particularly at busy times of the year some companies may have a 4 – 6 hour minimum charge.
- When the clock starts ticking. Do they charge from pick-up, or form when the car leaves the company premises?
- Overtime charges. How much will you be charged if you need the limo longer than expected?
- Hidden extras. Will you be charged for cleaning the car? Is a tip for the driver expected?
- Deposit or bond. Will you be required to lodge a sum of money with the company as surety?
Cheaper Isn’t Always Better
When selecting a limousine company remember, cheaper isn’t always better. Service is so important to your experience that it may be worth paying a little more for a company with a great reputation.
One way to gauge a company is to check whether they belong to a professional association like the New Zealand Taxi Federation.
More Than Just a Car
A limousine service is more than just the vehicle you sit in. The chauffeur, too, is an essential ingredient for a successful limo experience. Does he or she have the right manner for a wedding? Are they familiar with the route you’ll be taking? If you’re using the limousine for sightseeing, can the driver provide a commentary on the various landmarks?
And, more seriously, does the company security check their drivers?
Get it in Writing
Once you’ve chosen your limousine company, make sure they supply a written contract clearly stating the details of your hire and all charges. Make sure you check, too, that they carry public liability insurance in case of an accident.
A ride in a limo is an exciting experience that can lend glamour to any occasion. By researching the company, comparing quotes, and checking out the actual car you intend to hire you’ll ensure that you have as much fun on the journey, as you do at your destination.
If you’d like to take a look at a real luxury limousine, check out this video.