Welcome to Limo Pricing!
So, with all the information we've thrown at you thus far, it's time to get down to the essentials. You will find many different ways that limousine choose to handle their billings.
Some require a minimum time commitment, others require larger down payment than others. Some allow for cancellations (generally with a cancellation fee), and some don't allow for any cancellation at all. With all the different places out there, you're going to want to have some questions about how they accept payment, and the terms of the payments ready and waiting for the reservation specialist who answers your call.
If there is an undue amount of uncertainty regarding your event, you are going to want to either wait, and risk missing out on the rental of your choice, or attempt to find a company which allows for some flexibility. However, this flexibility would generally come at a cost. In this case, you'll find that companies which can afford to allow for cancellations, generally charge more because. A last minute cancellation will invariably cost them money because they lost out on a job for that evening. The profit has to come from somewhere, so you'll bet that their full paying customers likely pay more to allow for the convenience of being able to cancel if needed. So, it's up to you to decide if the extra cost is worth the flexibility. If your event is nearly certain, we'd recommend finding the best deal from a reputable company that you can find.
Most companies out there also require a minimum time commitment. It could be anywhere from 3 to 6 hours. The reason that this is sometimes a requirement is simply based simple economics dealing with costs and profits. You might think, well, two hours is better than none. This isn't always the case. Sometimes it costs more just to get the vehicle ready, than a two hour run would net the company.
Quite a few companies out there will charge for travel time. Then, there are those who consider travel time as an expense of doing business and will simply charge from the minute they pick your party up. It's always good to ask what your limo company's policy is regarding travel time.
Tips & Gratuity:
You'll also want to inquire as to gratuity. A lot of companies out there pack this into the bill. They do this as an incentive for their drivers. It is a lot easier to recruit good drivers, when they know they will be compensated well for their time. Generally a company will add a fee anywhere from 10%-20%, if your service is world-class, it is good practice to add another 10% or so.
Fluctuations in Pricing:
Like many industries out there which have inconsistent ebbs and flows with regards to demand, the limousine industry commonly charges rates based on their current demand. This allows them to remain competitive and gain a profit, much like a hotel would do for weekends and tourist season. You'll also want to inquire about potential surcharges, as many companies add surcharge to cover additional expenses.
Going Over Your Pre-Paid Time:
If time paid might go over, you will want to be sure of their overage policy. You don't want any surprises and find out that their overage rate is double the normal reserved rate. So, to avoid unpleasant surprises, it's always best to ask.
What You Can Expect to Pay:
With all that being said, you can reasonably expect to pay an hourly rate starting at around $70/hour for a smaller limousine. Prices start escalating exponentially once you get into the more specialized, larger vehicles like SUV limos and Limo (Party) Buses. You can expect smaller SUV and buses to start in the $100/hr neighborhood and go well up into the $200/hr depending on size and where you will be renting the vehicle.