How to Rent a Limousine

Getting the right limousine often depends on the type of occasion, number of people, number of hours you'll need and how far you're going. Most companies will need to know if the limousine is for a wedding, concert, prom, birthday party or maybe an anniversary and they often specialize in certain events to deliver the best possible experience. The more details you can provide, the better the value and service you'll receive.


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    Consider the type of event you are going to use the limousine for. Typically, limousine companies charges are based on the type of event. Events are typically as follows: Airport Transfers, Weddings, Nights Out, Birthday Parties, City or Wine Tours, Day Trips, Concerts, A to B Transfers, Proms, Client Meetings and Special Events. Most limousine companies have special airport transfer rates and special A to B Rates. All limousine companies have hourly minimums on Friday and Saturday nights.
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    Prepare the details of what you are looking for from the limousine company. Most companies charge by the hour, so it is important to decide how many hours you will need.
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    Determine how many people will be participating in the event before you call the company. Passenger numbers can determine the type of vehicle you can ride in. You want to make sure that you rent a limousine that's large enough to cater to all of your guests so they don't end up looking like they've been stacked inside a sushi roll.
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    Decide on the vehicle type you are interested in. These are the types of vehicles that are generally available:
    • Sedans (mostly Town cars but sometimes Mercedes or Specialty Sedans)
    • 6 Passenger Limousine (Seats 4 comfortably)
    • 8 Passenger Limousine (Seats 6 comfortably)
    • 10 Passenger Limousine (Seats 8 comfortably)
    • 12 Passenger Limousine (Seats 10 comfortably)
    • 14-22 SUV Limousine (Typically a Navigator, Escalade, or Excursion)
    • 18-20 Passenger Hummer
    • Small Shuttle Bus (22-35 Passengers)
    • Coach Bus (45-55 Passengers)
    • Small Limo Bus (14-22 Passengers)
    • Coach Limo Bus (28-35 Passengers)
    • Classic Cars (Rolls Royce, etc).
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    Focus on value, the best service at the best price. Not all limousine services are the same. Price should not be the only factor in your search. Much like renting a hotel, different price points often mean different service levels. It good to have a budget determined ahead of time, but also know what type of experience you want.
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    Get the right ride for the occasion. A stretch Hummer for your bachelor party or a classic antique for riding off in style from the wedding. Ensure the vehicle you're getting has the space, features and look for your event. Try to book a vehicle that has room for at least one to two last minute extra people than are in your party. Some companies provide music (radio or satellite radio), so ask in advance or be prepared to take your iPod or a mix CD with enough music to last the whole ride. Also ask about features like the seating arrangement and luggage capacity for large group vehicles.
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    Consider the safety of your party. Legitimate limousine companies need to be registered with their state (U.S only), have the proper levels of insurance and be properly licensed. Never book a limousine with a company that can't promptly show you their licensing and insurance credentials.
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    Plan ahead. Think about all the details of your ride experience. Do you need ice or drinks? Do you have a preferred route for your ride? What stops would you like to make? Providing these details to your chosen limousine service provider will help them meet your needs for the right price.
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    Get the whole price you will be paying the company. Each limousine company will generally have their own unique pricing policies. Many companies offer services priced by the hour but may also offer flat/guaranteed rates for airport rides or sometimes all-inclusive packages. Pay attention to "add on" services like fuel surcharges or other services fees not included in the base price. It is customary to tip drivers 18-20% of the base price. Most companies automatically charge for a driver tip, while some leave it to the customer to decide. Be sure you get the full price up front when weighing your options.
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    Consider buying a package for special occasions like weddings, concerts, prom, sporting events or other ride types with a predictable start and end time. Packages will generally provide a set number of hours in a vehicle that fits your party size and event for a fixed, all-inclusive price. Some companies offer packages for every type of service and many give substantial "bulk rate" price breaks.
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    Call a selection of companies and obtain a written quote for your event including any gratuity, cancellation fees and unexpected additional hours or any last minute add on services.
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    Reserve the limousine early, especially for big events so start searching well before you need your limousine. For wedding limousines it is advisable to book 12-18 months in advance. For other events like proms it is best to book a limousine a few months in advance.
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    Select your limousine service provider, get confirmation of your booking in writing including their written policy on cancellation and written confirmation that the limousine company will not subcontract or 'farm out' your booking. For special occasions it's generally a good idea to contact your limousine service provider 2 - 4 weeks before the event to ensure your booking is confirmed including the routing and the name and cell number of the driver.
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    Call the company and the driver at least 3 hours prior to the event to check in and make sure your reservation and booking is confirmed.


  • Make sure that you know the location of the limo company. Some might charge drive time if they are more than 30 minutes away.
  • Some companies provide music (radio or satellite radio), so ask in advance or be prepared to take a mix CD that has enough music to last the whole ride.
  • Like in most things, you get what you pay for.
  • Make a note of the licence plate of the vehicle you are hiring to ensure that you get the correct vehicle on the day of the event.
  • When you ask for the company's TCP registration number, be aware that the state issues them in order. The lower the number, the longer the company has been around. If you're in California, check with the California Public Utility Commission at []. This web site will help you check the license and standing of the limousine company (active, denied, revoked, suspended). you can check using the name of the company or the TCP number. If the company is not listed then it could be illegal.
  • Be sure to enquire about limitations around food, drink, or smoking. This could include the availability of glasses, refrigeration, if the driver will also be the server, etc.
  • Head count is important, no one wants to be left to take a taxi.


  • Be sure to give an extra 10-15 minutes than needed whenever setting up detailed routing. Events always take longer than expected.
  • Lowest price means lowest service in most cases!

Things You'll Need

  • A phone, a computer and an hour or two.

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