You like driving a limo, meeting new people, going to different places and seeing new things. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t want to be a professional limo driver. While driving a beautiful limousine might seem exciting and glamorous to the riding public, you are the one who will have to deal with frustrating traffic jams, finding parking spaces, managing unruly clients, meeting tight deadlines, tending to your business and staying calm and in control no matter what situations you face as a limo driver.
However, having a vehicle and the ambition to drive are not enough to put you on the road to a successful driving career. You must be properly and legally prepared to take on the responsibility of transporting passengers. And, if you are to be successful, practicing safety, making contacts and providing excellent customer service should be among your top priorities. Without practicing these key elements, it will be very difficult to keep up in a very competitive field.
Be Prepared – Stay Prepared
- Each state has its own set of rules for people wishing to enter the limousine driving field, including age requirements, specific training or driver’s license regulations. Go online to your state Department of Motor Vehicles website and determine exactly what may be required before you put a vehicle on the road. You have to make sure that any driver you may contract to help with a job is also qualified to drive for you. Driving violations such as speeding, running red lights or tailgating should send up red flags about a driver’s commitment to safety. You can’t take chances with drivers who don’t measure up to your own high standards.
- Make sure you understand the specific insurance needs for yourself, your business, your vehicle and for anyone you contract to drive for you. Don’t assume you are covered under your personal vehicle policy and, in any case, you should keep your business separate from your personal expenses. You will need liability and physical damage/collision coverages, with financial limits to adequately cover you if the worst should happen. An experienced, reliable passenger transportation insurer like Lancer’s LimoDirect can give you the peace of mind you need to concentrate on getting yourself established as a successful limousine operator.
- Understand what tax ramifications contracting yourself out to other businesses might have. Taxes and Workers’ Compensation regulations vary by state and can be confusing, so have your business plans checked by a qualified attorney.
Making And Keeping Contacts
- Get to know the limousine businesses in your area – not so much as competitors, but also as business partners. Seeing other companies in this way will help you expand your own business and reputation as a reliable operator.
- Practice your communication skills with everyone you come into contact with during your day. You’ll be dealing with many different people and personalities as a chauffeur, and treating everyone you meet as if they were a customer could help you land and keep business.
- Network with associates and friends and let them know that you’re available to drive, including all your contacts on the various social networks. You never know who might be able to help you make business contacts.
- Check out online forums in which limousine drivers post comments about being in the business from all across the country. You can also advertise your services on some of these sites for free as long as you’re registered.
- Plan to market your business using ads, mailings, business cards and the internet. Create a dynamic website for your business. Network through state groups and the National Limousine Association conventions and memberships. Be creative in your approach to your business. Develop relationships with clubs, restaurants, hotels, local theatre, concert venues, year-round activities for which people like to get dressed up for a day or night on the town. Suggest a “package” of limo-and-a-meal or limo-and-a-ticket promotions. Set up special deals with local radio stations on which you offer a limo to go with any prize promotions they may be sponsoring in exchange for them mentioning your business every time they advertise the promotion. Rent space at local bridal fairs or other conventions at which limo services are regularly used. Consider donating limousine rides for local events like Memorial Day parades or to police or fire department fund raising events. You could gain the reputation as the “official” limousine service in your local community. Join your local Chamber of Commerce. The more people you meet, the more successful your business will be.
- It might help to invest in an answering service to have someone live answering calls 24-hours a day. It’s the nature of your business and it’s a much more personal way to handle customers. A caller’s questions can be answered immediately rather than having to wait for a return call. Have your website be informative and with auto-response capabilities for contacts who search the web.
A limousine business can be satisfying and rewarding, especially when you can exceed a customer’s expectations. Good luck and drive safely!