Party buses, stretch limos and stretch SUVs are commonly hired for birthdays, bachelor and bachelorette parties, general entertainment, and weddings. Services can be contracted for one-way, multilocation or round trips. Party buses and vehicles can accommodate anywhere from 10 people to over 40. Several factors affect the total cost of the ride.
The length of time a customer needs services affects the total cost. Often, party buses and limos are offered in four-hour time blocks, which means even if clients only need one hour, they will still be charged a base rate that covers four hours. Also, unlike a taxi cab service, the cost of a party ride service includes vehicle cleaning and prep prior to customer pickup as well as the driving time from the business depot to the customer location.
Where the depot is located in relation to the customer location affects the cost of rental services. For example, for SW Limo in Scotsdale, Arizona, driving from one end of the metro area to the other covers 100 miles. The company’s business model includes a 30-mile service area in its base cost, and prices may increase if drivers have to travel more than 30 miles to arrive at the customer location.
Time of day
After 5 p.m. is prime time for party bus and limo services, so costs will likely be higher for evening reservations.
Type of vehicle
How fancy the ride is and how many passengers it can accommodate will affect the overall cost. In addition, the cost of gas for each vehicle is a factor, with some buses and stretch SUVs only getting three or four miles per gallon, depending on how many passengers there are. Here’s what SW Limo charges:
10-passenger, stretch Lincoln: $100 per hour with a four-hour minimum, Sunday– Thursday
14-passenger, white stretch Bentley: $125 per hour with a four-hour minimum, Sunday–Thursday
- 20-passenger, super-stretch Escalade: $150 per hour with a four-hour minimum, Sunday–Thursday
Day of the week
Saturdays make up 80 percent of business for most of these companies. Many companies receive five times as many requests for business on weekends as on weekdays.Therefore, costs will almost always be higher on Saturday evenings. Monday through Thursday is the least expensive time to hire a party ride. On Saturdays, SW Limo’s base rates increase as follows:
10-passenger stretch Lincoln: $125 per hour with a four-hour minimum
14-passenger, white stretch Bentley: $150 per hour with a four-hour minimum
- 20 passenger, super-stretch Escalade: $150–$200 per hour with a four-hour minimum
Renting a party bus, limo or SUV means renting the experience. As a client, you are not only paying for the one-way, multistop or round-trip ride, you are also paying for the driver’s time to and from the business depot, the time spent prepping the vehicle prior to departure and cleaning it after. If you rent during a busy time, you may also pay extra to make up for the fact that the company cannot take other jobs during that time period. For example, it takes SW Limo drivers an hour and a half to get ready for a job before they even pick up the customer—so a one-hour ride in the vehicle requires almost three hours of work.