Many hours are invested into planning a wedding and transportation for the bride, groom and wedding party is one of the essential pieces to the budget and planning. When determining which limousine service to use, consider whether or not the company is properly licensed and insured, check into hidden or unexpected fees, obtain a clear understanding of the exact services included, clarify any deposit requirements and verify all references. Your big day is too important to be left standing by the side of the road.
Photo Credit: Bahman Farzad
Properly Licensed and Insured
A limousine service is required to maintain certain state licensing and insurance requirements. Drivers need to have at a minimum a state issued chauffeur license. Chauffeur certifications requirements vary by state however, any service proclaiming to be a limousine service will provide these credentials without hesitation. Professional providers will have had their drivers attend education seminars and training to further extend their knowledge and expertise insuring any sort of mishap or emergency is properly handled. Insurance protects you and the members of those traveling with you. A minimum of $1,500,000 or $5,000,000 liability insurance protects fleets carrying 15 or 16 passengers, including the driver, respectfully.
Services and Hidden Fees
No one likes surprises especially when a wedding budget is at stake. Ask the company what services are included exactly. Find out specifics in regards to alcohol, food, cleaning, number of hours included in the service, the minimum number of hours required, fuel surcharges, toll roads and driver gratuity. Out of town guests, those traveling back to the airport or those needing a ride back to their hotel may need a ride back; ask if the company can accommodate these additional guests.
Deposits and Cancellations
Most limousine services will request a deposit of 20 – 50% of the total charges. If plans change, you need to know if and how much of your deposit you can be refunded. It is typical for limousines to have multiple events on one day and if there is a cancellation, it allows them to fill in the time for other clients. Generally, the more notice provided regarding a cancellation the greater the refund.
The most effective way to fully understand a limousine service is to visit their location. Before heading out or making an appointment, request the driver who has been assigned to your event be present. You will be able to make an assessment about the driver’s personality, professionalism and abilities. Once onsite be certain to inspect the fleet and identify the vehicle of your choice. Does color matter? Is the vehicle clean and well maintained? Are there any obvious signs of damage?
Many companies thrive on word of mouth referrals and limousine services are no different. There are several ways to gain additional information about the company’s reputation. There are many websites solely dedicated to company reviews. Weighing the good with the bad will help balance extreme reviews. Check with your local Better Business Bureau for complaints or any unresolved issues. Finally, ask the company directly for a list of references.
Jack Collins is an avid traveler and event planner who blogs online about travel tips, event planning and Denver limo services.