We've listed some informative and genuinely useful answers to common questions below. If you need more info, then of course just give us a call; we're happy to provide handy straight answers to any limo topic
Right off the bat, here's a few inside tidbits...
When and if you start calling around you'll find pricing relatively consistent, some high, some low, but a “mostly in-between consistent” will be the norm. Do know that new stretch limousines are very expensive, and hence the newer the car, the higher a price it will typically command. Don't be afraid to spend that 100 dollars more if you want the best, because if you get a limo new to two years old, it will be cool.
And incidentally, there aren't as many limos available as you might think either. The simple math behind this is that stretch limos do a lot of sitting around outside of Saturday nights and a few short high-demand periods during the year. So that more than anything is why rates are what they are. And just for the record, a lot of work we mutually acquire is shared by companies who align themselves with others of similar operating standards, and we do this as well.
That said, there are critical differences in quality and this is something we take very seriously. Self-promoting here, if you work with us on securing a limo you will avoid quality concerns entirely. Your event is important to you, and we want to ensure you get the true experience. Limos come alive at night, and things like non-working or half broken exterior vanity lights, inadequate A/C, faulty interior lighting, or banged up stereo systems are issues we fervently stay on top of to ensure an exceptional experience for you. Regardless of who you choose as your provider, be wary of price-creep well below the “consistent” as above; that's a sure sign of a clunker!
Most limousines have about a 10-year life span, with the majority operating for closer to seven years in a metropolitan environment. Larger institutional companies will typically buy new and run them for three years at most and you can definitely expect them to be the most expensive to rent. One caveat going on lately though is the desire to keep the 2012 & under Lincolns, Escalades, &Yukon’s rolling. Cars are shrinking in size and these vehicles are solidly wider than newer models, & this includes the SUV's as well. So just a nominal heads-up, there is definitely going to be a trend toward 5 years+ cars for at least another 3 years. Right now this is the majority of what you can expect to find available [as of 2014].
We sincerely hope you find the following useful, and if you have a question that isn't addressed below, just give us a call or use the link down below to send us an email. Enjoy!
Last Update: May 23rd, 2014
Yes. Our industry is regulated, and as such we are all at the mercy of the airport, highly networked as well. It is common that we rely on each other for help with arrivals & such, and an offshoot of this is that we often call upon each other for assistance with stretch limo needs as well. Companies tend to ally themselves with others of similar quality and performance standards, and when using Exeter as your limousine provider you are assured service to exacting, upper-level industry standards.
Also, there are hundreds of vehicles to choose from in the DFW area and variant price structures as well. Rather than calling all over town trying to track down a vehicle, just call us. Nominal advantages of this are 1) you will immediately eliminate the chance of getting a junky limo, and 2) we do not ‘surcharge’ our clients, and within the industry we do not surcharge each other either. Thus this whole routine of oh by the way plus this & plus that is tossed out the window; you get our rate & no surprises. One call & you’re done…. No extra costs incurred.
Now there are a variety of different makes & models that come & go, but for the most part you will find the vehicle types listed above to be in greatest abundance. And that is for good reason. Exotics are cool, but reliability is an issue. One does not want to discover A/C problems, engine or cabin durability issues the hard way. Hence many of us stick with makes that have long since had the bugs worked out.
In choosing what we would consider the right vehicle the primary questions are what’s the occasion and who’s coming…. The use of a sedan would be appropriate for a 3-person group going to a business function. A 6 passenger SUV is also common for corporate occasions, dinner venues & such. If in the party mode, it’s worthy to note that stretch limousines comfortably seat 1-2 people less than their rated capacity. So if for example this is a group of 6 adults going out to dinner and a cocktail, an 8 passenger limo would be your choice.
If your group is larger than 8, it’s a good idea to zero in on just how many people are coming. Graduating from stretch cars to SUV Limos is a big jump in price, as these types of vehicles are ridiculously expensive to maintain. The next size up from 8 is a 12 to 14 passenger SUV. These vehicles are in reality most used for 9 + big guys or say 12 regular people. They hold 14, but the remaining two are typically in a jump seat behind a long L seat where the other 12 are seated. Next up from this are the Hummers & Escalades. They regular ones are 16—18 passenger, and the extended variety seat up to 22 people.
Do bear in mind these vehicles are long all right, but they’re also somewhat tight on the width. To kids, teens, & the 20-something set this is inconsequential. For the 30+ crowd, or for a summer party in formal attire, no more than 14 would be advised in a stretch SUV, 16 in the extended. Otherwise a Limo-minibus would be highly advised for 14-18 people. These vehicles are decked out the whole 9 yards interior-wise just a like a car-limo, wrap-around seating, wet-bars, etc. and are much easier to negotiate getting in & out. Beyond these vehicles we are now talking about people-moving. The schedule of the event will pretty much be the determinant factor on vehicle choice, and this we get on the phone with you about.
No. If you are renting a limo in an hourly capacity from us, the car is yours to direct as you please. Period. Do note however that if we wind up dropping the last person off some considerable distance out of town or unreasonably past an appointed finish time that you prepaid, some nominal charges may be imposed to compensate for travel time. Total time charges are measured in 30 minute intervals.
The most frequent question we get regarding drinks is “can you stock some liquor before you pick us up” and the answer is we are not allowed to provide liquor per applicable state laws. That of course doesn't mean we can't stop & pick some up on your tab but as a general rule we try to avoid that & would rather have at least someone in the car... Otherwise, in the vehicle you will find that we stock a variety of cold drinks & water, iced down. Here's some good planning; If loading down the coolers with a bunch'a beer or bunch'a something, warn us & we'll leave them empty so you can get more in. The limos will have 1 to 3 champagne buckets depending on the size of the car, and we usually ice them down empty. They each will hold 1 bottle of wine or champagne, or about 3 - 4 beers, and the cooler bins hold about eight 12 oz. cans each
• Weekend Evenings (Answer-1) :
On Friday and Saturday nights we do not do what are referred to in the business as “transfers”. Nor does anyone else we know of. These evenings are high demand nights and as an industry we are loathe to release a vehicle for short transfers, since in doing so we obligate ourselves to your timetable and almost certainly eliminate the possibility of utilizing the vehicle for other purposes. On top of that, the bar glassware will undoubtedly be used, and past experience assures us that your group will not come out on time.
A weekend evening out is hang-loose time, and no one likes to move on a schedule in such situations. Aside from the fact that these vehicles are expensive, [it is after all a limo] hourly minimums are in place to cover the costs of your driver, vehicle prep, bar materials, and post-use cleaning. It also ensures we will definitely be there whenever you decide you want to leave. This is particularly applicable to special events and group movements. Thus on weekend evenings a contiguous 4-hour minimum is the universal rule.
• Weekday Evenings (Answer-2) :
Transfer only requests are handled on a case by case basis. Typically, if we accept a transfer only request the entire round trip will end by no later than 11:00 PM finish time. This is to avoid keeping a driver out late in an unpaid capacity. On weekday evenings a 4-hour minimum, which is an industry standard, will apply. Which is to say for example we can pick you up at 5:00 PM, take you wherever, return for you at 10:30, and finish, say around 11:15 PM, and charge 4 hrs. total time.
We will accept transfer only requests provided you understand that we will not prep the bar, and no bar materials are used. This is so we can utilize the vehicle immediately in-between your timeframes. The pickup time must be reasonably honored in order to avoid additional fees, and if you decide you would like to continue use of the vehicle, it may be subject to availability constrictions. In the real world though it’s usually pretty easy to accede to your request. For special events we usually request the vehicle be taken in an hourly capacity, again due to late timeframes, traffic considerations and the likelihood of bar usage. Some events do not generate or warrant these considerations and again we will look into these on a case by case basis.
• Daytime (Answer-3) :
Excluding major sporting events, we accept 100% of transfer only requests, subject to availability. In the case of airport transfers, if we don’t have a limo available for you, we will find you one. Daytime transfers are almost always a set-rate affair and it often happens that back and forth movements, such as weddings, don’t run according to schedule. This is OK, however if it turns out that we are waiting for an extended period we will at our option convert the usage too hourly. The time charged will be the actual time consumed, and based on a four-hour minimum. This is standard procedure within the industry, and does not apply to airport transfers.
As far as sporting events go, the cowboy games are a perfect example of why we insist on an hourly commitment. The traffic and time getting in will be significant, and an unused limo bar on the way to the game is a gross violation of social decorum. The police require that we be either on site already or on location to pick up no later than the end of the 3rd quarter. If we show up later, there’s no guarantee we can get in closer than 3/4 mile or more to the stadium, not to mention the traffic. This situation gobbles up a lot of time, which we of course would proceed to charge so why not be on site anyway, and get picked up at the front door…
Airport Sedan Transfers: No. Cancel anytime up to within 2 hours of the event at no charge, and no notice required for events outside of your control, i.e. stuck on a plane on a tarmac somewhere due to weather, or cancellation of your flight. In such cases we consider it our responsibility to know about it already.
Airport stretch limo transfers: No. Cancel anytime up to within 4 hours of the event at no charge, and ditto the above.
Weekday hourly runs: Up to same day cancellation is usually ok, but we do officially require a 48-hour notice. It is not our wont to try and stick you but canceling out for a daytime run is one thing, canceling out on a Thursday night major music concert is another. Weekday evening cancellations made within 48 hours of the event are subject to cancellation fees, up to and not to exceed 3 hours minimum charge, at our discretion. These will not be imposed if we can rebook, read on…
Weekends: 7-day advance notice of cancellation required. Almost all limousine companies, including us, maintain no more than two stretched vehicles of the same type as a matter of sound business practice. Once you have reserved a car, it is effectively taken off the market and cannot be booked by another party. When a cancellation occurs, it is of course our imperative to resell the vehicle, and the more time we are given for this task, the greater the likelihood we will do so. To Wit:
We will, without hesitation, cancel any reservation without fee if you do so before seven days prior to the event, as it is gives us some opportunity to rebook the vehicle. Within that timeframe of seven days, if you cancel, we will do our utmost to rebook the car, and if we do you will not be charged a penny. If we cannot, we will impose a cancellation fee of our choosing up to and not to exceed the 4-hour minimum. In a lot of cases, standard contractual procedure is tantamount to charge you 4 hours & then rebook the car anyway. I’ve yet to find ethical grounds for doing that & so it doesn’t happen here. For the record it’s usually pretty easy to rebook during high demand timeframes like Prom season anyway, so if catastrophe strikes, don’t fret too much, we stand an excellent chance on rebooking….
Yes, your driver will be at your immediate disposal at all times. It is quite common that we have to park and wait somewhat off-site due to space or traffic constrictions and thus we are subject to the mandates of the venue. In such cases, the driver will give you his card so you may contact him directly when you are ready to leave. Better yet is to load his phone number into your cell phone by actually dialing it until it rings. Once done, it is now loaded into your outgoing call manifest. As is yours on his…..
Hourly: Of course, it’s your car.
Transfers: Subject to the vehicle itinerary and hence the driver’s opinion. Usually it’s ok with us, and if so, we will ensure its safe keeping
Contact us in whatever manner you choose and give us as much of your itinerary you are aware of at that time. We will request a credit card to secure the reservation. If you would like to make remittance in cash, we still request a CC to hold the vehicle and for use as damage security. For the record, billable damage is an extremely rare occurrence, and since it is our observation that people are more interested in having a good time than guffawing over the Czech crystal and silk napkins, standard barware is used.
If we charge you for damage or incidentals, it is usually either that missing 3-dollar champagne flute that wound up in your refrigerator or Mr. Lightweight’s cookies on the carpet. No time limits are set if you are booking a car in an hourly capacity, as it is at that point set aside specifically for you. Keep it as long as you wish.
Ok, we keep the header short cause we're going to cover a lot of territory here. We are keenly aware of the expense situation and I trust you’ll find the following quite helpful…
For starters, let’s discuss white Lincoln limos. We don’t have one. Most non-wedding customers, and about half or more of the wedding crowd don’t want white limos and in many cases specifically request black only. Therefore, white limos are in short supply and hence command full price during wedding primetimes like Saturdays and early summer. I point this out because you’ll have a hard time getting away with pricing options I’m about to cover below if you insist on white limousines. If you must have white, you can still call us, & we’ll be happy to direct you to cohorts of ours who have them, or we can book it for you. The pricing options I refer to are ways we work with wedding clients to contain the transportation expenses. The reader’s digest version of what you’ve got to do is usually akin to something like this:
• The groomsmen are in one location; the bridesmaids are in another.
• Neither location is too far from the church.
• The reception is either on location or a short distance away.
• The bride & groom will need their own limo from the church to the reception and/or from the reception to the hotel, and then a ride early in the morning to the airport. And maybe again when they come home.
Ok, some weddings are so big, we start talking minibuses to move everybody. If that’s the case, we can certainly handle that. But the majority of the requests that we get directly instead of from a wedding planner are usually something like the above. If such is the case with you, this is what we usually do:
Using a single Limo, size dependent on need, we pick up the bridesmaids & the bride first, and take them to the church. We then go & pick up the groomsmen & the groom, and take them to the church. If the reception is off site, we wait on location until the ceremony is complete & then take the bride & groom to the reception. At this point we can come back and pick up stragglers, but the usual routine is that there are so many people with cars it’s not even necessary. When the reception is over, we return for the couple and whisk them off to the hotel, and send a sedan in the morning for the airport trip.
However, all this plays out time-wise, two things are happening with price; you’re using only one car at a time, and we are chopping good portions of non-utilized time off your bill. The specifics of what we can do are dependent on the day of the week and the usage timeframes. Now having read this should effectively give you a head start on the conversation when you call…. And by the way, if they're going out of the country on Honeymoon, 1 Tablespoon Pepto-Bismol mandated every morning first thing. Guaranteed protection all day from bacterial distress.
Pricing, and pricing methods, do indeed run the gamut amongst different companies and regardless of what the starting price is, the answer you’re looking for is what is your actual cost… We're big believers in straight talk, so here it is:
• Airport Sedan runs:
Price you see on our site is it, period. If there are any other incurred fees, they will be clearly posted. Don’t bother looking for fuel surcharges, service fee (whatever that means), insurance, taxes, lost library cards, etc... They aren’t there. And incidentally, there is no sales tax in the State of Texas on services.
• Hourly limo runs:
Now a word on gratuities…
Gratuity-included pricing has long been endemic in the livery industry and as such we do the same thing. Tips are typically split in one capacity or another much as they are in the restaurant industry, in that several other parties are involved in your rental who you will never see. Limo drivers get a good salary to start with & hence forking over 20% or so of a several hundred-dollar tab in cash to a single individual is more than a bit much. And to be fair, the gratuity included routine has long evolved into the overall cost structure of providing service, i.e. kept the base rates lower.
If your driver has gone out of his way above & beyond to accommodate your needs, any additional gratuity would be his/hers to keep and should be commensurate to the value and level of additional service received period, and not relative to the bill.
So All-Inclusive means: The sum total of all charges applied yielding what actually shows up on your Visa bill. This is what we do, quote the total charge right up front, in lieu of some low-ball number to get your attention & then quietly padding it. Our objective is for you to get in & get out; pampered with top service, paper & obligation-free, i.e. all is taken care of...
As a purveyor of luxury services it is poor form to castigate one’s competitors, unless they are illegal operators. Pirates, as we refer to them. Large municipalities and airports regulate public transportation to ensure public safety and quality standards are met through regulatory provision, semi-annual inspection, and accelerated insurance requirements. Your assurance of this are the specialized stickers they place on our windshields.
Small towns or small cities are an exception to this rule, as they frequently do not regulate limo services. But for sure ALL major airports do, and if you are using an airport service that does not have those stickers on the windshield, you are dealing with an unlicensed company. Your use of a licensed company, regardless of your location, is your assurance that vehicle craftsmanship, i.e. safety standards, have been met. Equally important, licensed companies can only utilize drivers who have had additional safety training, area knowledge tests, and stringent background checks.
I am pleased to point out that we are a fully licensed limousine service provider, authorized locally under the City of Dallas and DFW Airport. We are members of the National Limousine Association (NLA), and the Dallas Limousine Association (DLA), and have seated on the DLA Board of Directors over 4 times.
Within the industry there has been a maelstrom of discussion regarding the two primary ride-shares, as well as a great deal of activism. Most of the arguments have been portended as protectionist by proponents of rideshare, swathing themselves in this solutions-oriented veil of Rebecca from Silicon Valley.
The real reason the existing transportation industry is up in arms is due to the blatant disregard of standards & regulatory practice in place to ensure public safety and appropriate availability. ®Uber in particular has sought to disrupt local transportation industries in every city the company has gone into, vigorously fighting existing regulatory practice in every way they can get away with. And they have done very well with it; at the expense of the unwitting drivers they are bankrupting in the process. What is almost comical is the majority of their driver pool are the very same [ex-]taxi drivers the general public has whined about for years.
With their ®UberX program, currently anyone with a car & a driver's license that purportedly meets some quality standard can sign up & start driving the general public. They are skirting regulatory fees, 24-7 complete commercial insurance, inspections, Genuine city-controlled police background checks, and other numerous documentation requirements which we abide by.
Regular cars cannot and will not stand up to the demands of commercial usage and in adding extreme mileage to a car without the supporting revenue to keep it up means the owner will get upside-down via vehicle depreciation very quickly. In furtherance, the drivers are barely making a living doing it; which means you have no clue as to the true condition of their vehicles as you ride in them, nor is there any oversight.
Important here, they report to no one ever once given a device. So absolutely no one is realistically evaluating the driver personality, skill-sets, general persona, cleanliness, etc. Altogether ZERO direct management. One question stands: Do you really want someone that you nor his company of employ personally know, picking you up & knowing your house is empty right now? We don't either...