What You Need to Know Before Renting

Here are some handy tips you can utilize to ensure that your special day is incident free.

Looking for the lowest price? You may be disappointed, says Rich Linzmeier of Stargazer Limousine Service in New Holstein.

The biggest error you could make when shopping for a wedding limousine is searching based on price. In the limousine industry, there are many variances in quality and price. All too often, a cheaper price translates into larger risk for you.

Most consumers would not choose a restaurant or hotel based solely on price, yet some shop for a limousine service by this method and expect a five-star quality presentation. If you shop for a limousine service based on price alone, you will likely be frustrated and disappointed with your limousine experience.

Old, dirty, poorly maintained vehicles, shoddy service, unprofessional chauffeurs with poor hygiene, dangerous vehicles, and under-insured services are all possible results of a ‘best price’ shopping priority.

Ask to see the company's vehicles.

Check out the vehicle you plan on renting. Some companies utilize older fleets. You don't want to be surprised if a 1988 limousine shows up, when you were expecting a 2005 model.

Get A Signed Contract

A reliable and professional service will be more than happy to provide you with a signed-contract for service. Companies who cannot supply a contract may not be confident in their ability to fulfill an agreement.

Ask About

Insurance and Permits.

All limousines are required to carry commercial insurance and must be properly licensed. Unfortunately, the Yellow Pages do not require the same information in order to advertise. To protect yourself from ‘gypsy companies’ ask for proof of these requirements with your signed contract.

“We don’t have your reservation!”

Don't be the person who gets the “We don't have your reservation” story. Cover yourself by getting a signed contract and shopping smart. Shopping on price alone is dangerous. Some unethical operators do not hesitate to drop a reservation to pick-up a better paying fare.

Vehicle Rental Policies

In general, the bigger and the newer the limousine, the more expensive it will be to rent. Here are three standard types of limousines operating today at their relative cost per hour to rent (price estimates do not include the standard 20 percent chauffeur gratuity):

. 10-passenger limousines ($90-$130 per hour)

. 12-passenger limousines ($120-$140 per hour)

. 14-passenger limousines ($100-$150 per hour)

Wedding rates are usually quoted at a package price; for instance, “Our three-hour wedding package is $240 and includes our ten-passenger limousine.” Ask your limousine company what is included in the package price. All or some of the following items may be included in the price:

. Non-alcoholic beverages

. Red carpet roll out

. “JUST MARRIED” sign

Once again, when booking a limousine, always make sure you know what kind of car you are getting. Simply being told a “10-passenger limousine” is not enough.

Many smaller companies utilize older fleets. There currently are three Lincoln body styles of limousines on the market. Make sure you know which you are getting. You don't want to be surprised when a 1988 stretch limousine appears at your doorstep when you were expecting a 1998 model.

Most companies require a minimum three to four hour booking when making reservations. If you are looking for a limousine for only one hour or for pick-up and drop-off service, you will have to do some searching.

Many companies simply will not do these types of bookings because of cost considerations. If you do find a company that will do your event for one hour, more than likely the limousine will be an older model vehicle or will not guarantee the arrival time(s) of the car.

There is nothing wrong with older model limousines; however, we suggest you view any vehicle before you rent, especially one that is over five years old.

Deposits Required

Most companies require a 50 percent deposit to hold your reservation with the balance due three days prior to the rental date. If you cancel your reservation, your deposit can be forfeited. Such things can be outlined in the contract. Ask your selected company their policy.

Air-Conditioning Systems

Be aware that many older model limousines have air-conditioning systems that are not equipped to


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