The limousine rental industry has not lost its appeal even through the years. Maybe because plenty of people still appreciate luxury vehicles or traveling in style. Or perhaps it’s because high-profile events will forever be ingrained into human society.
If you possess a passion for providing top-notch service and the entrepreneurial spirit to go along with it, then you have what it takes to take the first steps to start your own limo service business. No matter how small, starting your enterprise allows you the elusive opportunity to scale your business under your brand of leadership.
Define Your Target Market
Generally, the limousine rental service industry is segmented into two distinct markets: the corporate market, which mostly entails transporting business people from offices to airports and vice versa, and the “occasional” market where you’ll be servicing personalities during special events or occasions.
The corporate market can be harder to penetrate in the early stages but can be steadily lucrative once a clientele has been established. The movie premiere, gala, and prom-and-wedding circuits might be easier to crack, but targeting this second market means you will always be actively seeking every contract. Decide early on which of the two markets you would like to focus on. Or, if you think you can target both, brainstorm on strategies per vertical and as a whole.
Create Your Business Plan
Once you’ve determined which of the two markets you will be targeting, you can create your business plan. Include your goals, timelines, and strategies to achieve the goals. All this will aid you in grasping the local market, familiarizing yourself with the competition, and ultimately figuring out the resources you require in preparation for your business launch.
Once you’ve drawn up a solid business plan, the next step is to accomplish all the necessary paperwork: permits, licenses, tax-related matters, commercial car insurance, and other regulatory documentation. Hire a lawyer or accountant for this, if need be.
If you are hiring drivers, they might need additional or specialized licensing for the transportation of passengers. Check your local government’s mandates for any additional documentation required in your region.
This is also a good time to establish your business’ legal structure. Is it a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, etc.?
Acquiring Your First Limo
You might not need to purchase a limousine unit upfront as you start the business. You can look into the option of leasing a limousine as a financial strategy. This way, you maintain the flexibility to trade up to a higher-end model with the growth of the business.
Whether you lease or buy, you should have the vehicle inspected and confirmed as meeting safety standards. Allocate budget for vehicle maintenance and ongoing repairs. You will likewise need to invest in commercial-quality cleaning equipment and perhaps professional re-upholstering services to ensure that your limo (or limos) always looks elegant and clean, especially in these pandemic times.
Know Industry Trends
The limousine and taxi industries have been impacted by the launch of ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft, which have opened the transport market to private, independent operators as an alternative to traditional commercial transport services. On the other hand, the limousine service industry is also positively affected by the uptick in consumer disposable income resulting in more spending.
Marketing Your Service
In some instances, different limo services cooperate as some events require a fleet of town cars or stretch limos. Open your business to a network of your competitors where you can all set up a mutual system of referrals. Be active in groups or communities of like-minded businesspeople.
Doing so will allow potential customers to find your company easily. It’s also smart to infiltrate networks of event planners and coordinators, wedding planners, funeral home businesses, and other special events professionals to promote awareness of your service business.
Take full advantage of social media by establishing a page, joining groups, and advertising on various platforms. This is a particularly effective marketing strategy if you have determined to focus your business on the consumer or occasional market.
And Finally, Add Value
It is essential for any transport provider to always be on time and good at navigating traffic and roads. Equip your vehicles and drivers with up-to-date GPS technology and knowledge.
Passengers would love a comfortable ride with refreshments, a cutting-edge sound system, and the convenience of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity.
The limousine service industry can be as lucrative as it is exciting to put up. Establishing your brand in the service industry is rewarding in itself, as the loyal customer base you create will be marketing your business venture on its own. Without customer satisfaction, there won’t be any customers at all.