I know this is a little late for some, but after reading the news recently with regard to Touch of Class Limousine, which apparently is an annual occasion, I thought it necessary to attempt to spare many of the same dilemmas. Read this article from the Van Coach Limo Expert about limousine best practices, and then read my additions in order to spare yourself some of the issues that may arise.
5.5 Best Practices When Hiring Limousines for Your Kid’s Prom
Here are 5.5 best practices to save you time, hassle and frustration when hiring a prom limo:
1. Reserve as far in advance as possible. During prom season, demand will be higher for limos than at any other time of the year. Limo firms will turn down much more business than they could ever conceive possible during this time. You cannot book one too far in advance if you wish to guarantee availability and avoid becoming a victim of the law of supply and demand. As soon as you know you will need it, reserve it right then or you may find that no one has anything to offer!
2. Understand and expect a six hour minimum regardless of your situation. Many prospective clients want the limo carrier to perform two one way transfers on the date of the prom as they do not wish to invest any additional funds for a vehicle just to sit and wait. However, persuading a limo carrier to offer anything other than the six hour minimum could be compared to extracting a tooth with a pair of pliers. Limo firm fees during this time will remain consistent due to extreme demand!
3. Know exactly what you will be receiving. Do not be gullible and just take the word of the limo carrier as to what you will be getting. Schedule a visit to the supplier’s facility and go physically view the condition of their fleet. Ask to be given a tour and climb inside the vehicle they have promised you. Review the condition of the vehicle inside and out before making a decision!
4. Never attempt to place more passengers in a limo than the manufacturer capacity will allow. Be advised that a ten passenger limo will seat eight comfortably, nine tightly, and ten very uncomfortably. If you have more than eight passengers, be prepared to invest more funds for a larger SUV limo which most kids will prefer anyway as it makes the prom much more memorable.
5. Understand the risks associated with proms for the limo carrier. Limo firms will not only a require a credit card as security with an immediate initial investment placed on the card, but will also ask you to autograph a document of regulations just for prom renters. In order to be fair to everyone, and because they have been burned on so many prom limo reservations, they have all imposed very strict cancellation regulations. In addition, sunroofs have been eliminated from all new limos and disabled in the older ones due to the high liability factor of kids hanging out of the vehicle.
5.5 Certificate of Insurance. Before you allow any limo carrier to pick up your prom group, insist on receiving a valid and current certificate of liability insurance. If you have any challenges obtaining this from the carrier, cancel your reservation as fast as possible! Don’t even think about it baby! (http://vancoachlimoexpert.com/2013/05/18/5-5-best-practices-when-hiring-limousines-for-your-kids-prom/)
…and to add to their list, I would make sure to include the following, making it an even dozen best practices:
6. Ensure that your ‘Contract’ or ‘Service Agreement’ includes a clause that confirms your limo will not be ‘shared’ on the same evening. With the price you will be paying, your limo should be ON TIME and ALWAYS AVAILABLE throughout the evening. If one of the participants were to look out the window, the limo should be sitting there waiting, not off on another run.
7. Suggest a clause for a reduced price in the event the limo were to arrive late for either pick up prior to or post prom. (if the limo company overbooks, they may ‘share’ the limo and it will be making runs throughout the evening) You may be okay with sharing a limo, but be sure you are covered in the event of untimeliness. In addition, ensure you are paying a lesser ‘shared’ price.
8. Ensure that your ‘Contract’ or ‘Service Agreement’ includes a clause that confirms your limo will be thoroughly cleaned and restocked (with water) prior to initial pick up.
9. Get the cell phone number of the driver of the limo. This way, in the event the limo were to go MIA, (which shouldn’t happen, but may), you can contact him/her. For example, say one of the limo party is asked to leave prom for one reason or another and the limo is asked to take that child home mid-prom. Having the driver’s cell phone number ensures he/she is available to the other parties, who are now able to maintain contact to determine timing. Or, in the alternative, ensure it is contractual that even if someone is asked to leave prom, they agree to have the child sit in the limo and wait for the others for the remainder of the evening. (except in the event of an emergency, such as severe illness)
10. Put the child of the parent who booked the limousine ‘in charge’ of the happenings of the limo. This will be the ‘go to’ person for the driver and the passengers to make any final decisions with regard to extra runs. For example, if someone were to get sick during prom and needs to be taken home.
11. Be sure to ask the company contact person about your limo driver’s experience and familiarity with the area. Advise them you would prefer the driver ‘pre-travel’ the route to ensure his/her awareness of where they will be going, GPS or not. On more than one occasion, limos have gotten lost, been misdirected by GPS or were simply inexperienced and unfamiliar with the area, leading to untimeliness, as well as anxious and frustrated teenagers.
11.5. Remember, a limousine is a large, long vehicle that takes longer to get to a location than a regular vehicle. So be sure to add on several minutes to each stop due to slowing for wider turns, etc. in order to ensure timeliness.
And I cannot encourage you enough to follow #4 of the article and preview your ‘ride’. You would be surprised what some limo companies deem acceptable … including duct taped windows, half empty water bottles, dirty carpets, etc. Be sure you are getting what you are paying for!