Limousine services can be rented for a wide range of special events including weddings, birthdays, bachelor and bachelorette parties, school field trips, prom, sporting events, concert attendance, business events, and more. Types of limousines offered include stretch limousines, SUV limos, party buses, luxury sedans such as Rolls Royce or Hummer, town cars, or classic cars. Driving service may be one-way, round-trip or multilocation; limos can also be used to shuttle passengers between two locations during an event.
If you’re renting a limo for a special event like prom or a wedding, visit the limo company ahead of time to see the actual limo you plan to rent and make sure it is exactly what you expect. If you want a specific color of car, such as white for a wedding, be sure to specify that when booking.
Whether you pay a set rate or an hourly rate, you should find out in advance what additional costs you may be charged for services or extras. Several factors affect the cost of limousine services and party bus rentals in your area.
They type of vehicle you want for your limo service will affect the overall cost of service. For example, if you want a white antique Rolls Royce or stretch Hummer, expect to pay far more than for a standard black Lincoln Town Car or stretch limousine.
Many limo rental services charge an hourly rate for their various vehicles. Most companies will require a minimum number of hours to make it cost-effective to prepare the car with ice and beverages, properly clean the car and dispatch a driver. In general, the larger or more exotic the vehicle, the higher the hourly rate. For example, The Limo Guy in Dallas, Texas, charges the following rates based on vehicle, with a 4-hour minimum rental on Fridays and Saturdays:
Standard limousine: $85 per hour
Stretch Hummer: $125 per hour
- Party bus: $125 per hour
Basic rates often do not include a variety of additional charges such as fuel surcharges, parking, tolls and extra mileage.
Some limousine car services companies have specific pricing for pickup and drop-off at special events, such as concerts or sports games. For example, Red Rocks Limo in Denver charges $400 for drop-off and pickup at one location in a Lincoln Town Car stretch limo that seats 10 people. These rates do not apply to prom season, which are typically higher.
Set rates may not include extra charges such as additional stops, airport pickup and long wait times. If you’re hiring a limo to pick up someone at the airport, you might pay extra for a meet-and-greet fee. And if the limousine driver is going into the airport to greet the passenger, you may be charged a parking service fee as well.
Limo companies may offer set rates for all-inclusive wedding packages that include a white limousine, champagne and other special services.
Time of day
Evening limo service and party bus rentals generally have higher hourly rates or require a higher number of minimum hours than daytime rentals because demand is greater. Daytime fares can be just as high as evening rates during special daytime events or holidays when demand is high. Limos with Pride charges $125 per hour for a stretch Hummer, with a minimum 4-hour rental before 5 p.m. for a total cost of $500. After 5 p.m., the minimum goes up to 5 hours and a $625 total cost.
Day of week
Because demand for limo service and party bus rentals is higher on weekends than on weekdays, the cost per hour and often the minimum number of hours will be higher on Fridays and Saturdays. Limos with Pride charges $85 per hour for standard limo service. On weekdays, the minimum number of hours depends on the location of services. On Friday and Saturday nights, the company requires a 4-hour minimum rental for $340.
Renting a limo service or party bus on a weekday could save you a lot of money, if you can be flexible in your limo needs. This won’t work for prom night, but could be perfect for a mid-week birthday party.
Depending on where you are renting a limo, prices may be higher. In New York City, car service for special occasions or during the holidays in Manhattan or Brooklyn could cost more than similar service in nearby Staten Island, Atlantic City or the Bronx. Similarly, car service for New York airports like LaGuardia or Newark, New Jersey, may cost much more than the same service in San Francisco or Seattle.
Some rental companies include the driver’s gratuity in the bill, while others leave it to the discretion of the passengers, so be sure to clarify beforehand. Limos with Pride enables passengers to add the tip afterward when paying by credit card, but the company encourages customers to tip the driver directly in cash when possible, recommending 20 percent for a job well done.
Costs increase for excessive maintenance or cleaning, such as cleaning up spills and repairing damage to the vehicle interior, exterior or windows. Costs vary based on the extent of the damage. Limos with Pride charges a $150 cleaning fee for extensive cleanup. If repairs are needed, the company charges customers for all damages.
Stocking the bar
Many limos have a bar inside; the limo company may stock it for you for an additional fee, or allow you to bring your own drinks (which may require a fee as well). Minors be warned: In many states, the driver is held liable for irresponsible behavior of the limo’s occupants. Limo companies have "zero tolerance" policies about minors drinking in their limos.
License and certification
Some states (like Washington) require limousine drivers to have chauffeur licenses, while others (like Michigan) do not. Some states only require a chauffeur license if the vehicle can carry 16 people or more. If you’re renting a big party bus, your driver might be required to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), depending on the weight of the vehicle and how many people it can haul. You should also ask about the limo company’s insurance policy.
In most states, you need to be at least 21 years old to rent a limo. So, if it’s prom night, you’ll need a parent to handle the transaction. Most companies will require a deposit of up to 50 percent of the agreed-upon fee. Be sure to confirm whether you’re paying the driver’s gratuity with your credit card or in cash after the ride is completed, to avoid paying it twice.
Plan your special event on a weekday to save money. Monday through Thursday are usually the least expensive days — unless there’s a major event in town. Companies want to keep their vehicles moving, so you may be able to get reduced rates if you book midweek during the off-season.
- Smoking inside the limo may result in a cleaning surcharge.