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Thread: Need help starting a airport sedan service in DC Area

  1. #1

    Default Need help starting a airport sedan service in DC Area

    Hi guys,

    I've been lurking around here for about a week, and I've learned quite a bit from this forum.

    Basically, I have a full time job that is right next to Dulles Airport in the DC Metro Area. I will be living near Arlington (across the river from DC proper), so I figure it would be kind of fun, and somewhat beneficial monetarily, to pick up passengers from the Airport and to take them to their destinations in DC or Northern Virginia after I get off work. (Or taking them to the airport before work.)

    However, there are several roadblocks. The biggest roadblock is finding commercial auto insurance at a reasonable rate. I would hopefully only be doing these airport transfers 10 times or so per month (if I could even find that many customers), and the car (LTC or similar) would be a personally owned/financed vehicle used for business purposes and registered/permitted as a for-hire vehicle. However, the rate I got from GEICO commercial auto was something like $24,700/year, for a $1M CSL. Seems kind of ridiculous!

    The other problem is getting a surety bond. Where can you get these? How hard are they to get?

    I went ahead and bought "Wheels of Gold" book from that Goerl guy, and it should get here today. I also bought "LLCs for Dummies".

    Does anyone know if this idea is even feasible? I think I could make it work if I could get an insurance quote between $1000-4000/year. My goal is not to profit, necessarily, but to perhaps make the car pay for itself. I figure I could get some business from www.limos.com.

    Thanks for any help/advice!

    Alan

  2. #2

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    I'm not sure this service would work for you if you think you can make money picking up [assengers before and after work. Insurance and other state fees cost a good penny no matter what. I would set up the business and hire a driver that would make more since. If you want to earn 40 to 50,000 your first year call me I'll set you up with a turnkey business for a small fee. If you can get insurance coverage for DC at a thousand a year post the insurance company please.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the advice. I think I will put this idea on the back burner so I can build up some capital. I have some other entrepreneurial friends, so it may just be possible for me to form an LLC and hire a driver in the future.

  4. #4

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    Well, my new plan is to save up $25,000 or so in the next 5 years and then go ahead and dive into the business the right way. Is anyone in the DC area who is an owner/operator willing to show me how they operate their business?

    Seems like this is a great time to start an airport sedan service--the FAA's Terminal Area Forecast has both Dulles and BWI airports having 50% growth in passenger enplanements in the next 5-10 years.
    Last edited by amcdonal86; June 2nd, 2010 at 01:32 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Cool sedan service

    cal; TIB insurance brokers 407-740-5384 they spesialize in livery insurance, this business is very competable everyone cuts prices, customers looking for low prices but premium service etc. this economy is bad to start of and having limo business is worst you can try good luck but in this business you have to be commited either 100% or do not get into it also find out if you are allowed to solicit at the Airport most cities,counties and Airports forbid black cars from soliciting to protect the taxi industry it is not cheap to run this kind of service especialy if there is a lot or red tape and regulations and rules

  6. #6

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    Does anyone know if in Virginia, you can buy operating authority from another company? Or do you literally have to take over a company that is for sale to get it? I'm wondering what the easiest way is to get started.

  7. #7

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    If you are in Fairfax VA you don't need a licence from the county just the state if I remember correctly if you have all the documents required you can have your license in 24-48 hrs.

  8. #8

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    Oh really, where did you hear this? That would be great news!

  9. #9
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    About the only way you can accomplish what you are trying to accomplish here is to go to work for someone in the business as an employee. That way you will make a few Bucks and learn the businees at the same time. You may find out this may not really the business you want to do after you see all that is involved. It is not just go out and buy a fancy car and run around getting paid to give people rides..

  10. #10
    Senior Member Fairfax Limo's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Limo-Service View Post
    If you are in Fairfax VA you don't need a licence from the county just the state if I remember correctly if you have all the documents required you can have your license in 24-48 hrs.
    48 hours? You are correct you don't need a county permit. County business license, yes. However for Virginia Intrastate authority its like a 3 month process if you stay on top of it. Securing your $25,000 surety bond and keep it for 3 yrs, background checks, notifying every other limousine service in the area of your intent to go into business, proving to the state of virginia that there is a need for the service, posting notification in a major newspaper, proving zoning compliance at your business address, and providing virginia motor carrier with your liability insurance before they issue your license. And thats if they determine not to have a hearing.

    Then you'll also need WMATC authority, DC taxicab comission authority, MD authority, and a BWI airport permit since you'll be in Maryland, DC and VA unless you're ready to tell someone you don't do work in certain jurisdictions.

    That said, in our area your best customers will be limousine services. You can stay incredibly busy as a subcontractor. The advice to work for someone else is sound advice. In Virginia you can also lease a car complete with for-hire plate and insurance coverage from another service, thus bypassing the excrutiating instrastate operating authority application process. If you want a local agent call Stathis Insurance 703-532-0777 for a quote, let him know I referred you.

    Good luck and feel free to contact me if I can help. Our shop is 2 minutes from Dulles airport.

    Good luck.
    FAIRFAX LIMO - Northern Virginia and Washington DC Limo Service

    Lincoln TC (Executive) - multiple
    Lincoln TC (Executive L) - multiple
    Lincoln TC 100" Stretch by US Coachworks
    Lincoln TC 120" Stretch by DaBryan
    Lincoln TC 120" Stretch by Krystal (2)
    Lincoln TC 120" Stretch by Executive
    Lincoln TC 72" Stretch by Krystal
    Ford Excursion 180" by Legendary
    Hummer H2 200" by Krystal
    Hummer H2 180" by Craftsmen
    K33 Limobus/Party Bus (F550) by Krystal

    Fairfax Limo also offers Virginia Wine Tours

  11. #11

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    If you're going to cover Northern VA and BWI and 15 miles from DC in to Maryland you will only need WMATC and MAA Permit.

  12. #12

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    Fairfax Limo, I have actually used your service before. You should be very proud of your fleet/business! Your service was great!

    I would love to stop by sometime and check out how you run things. The idea of leasing a car from another service and subcontracting sounds very interesting.

  13. #13

    Default airport shuttle

    Interesting.

  14. #14
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    I have said it before will say it again, being in this business a little bit is like being a little bit pregnant, doesn't happen! If you were in a rural area it might work being part time in a market like DC it just does not work.
    I want to die while asleep like my grandfather,
    not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Fairfax Limo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amcdonal86 View Post
    Fairfax Limo, I have actually used your service before. You should be very proud of your fleet/business! Your service was great!

    I would love to stop by sometime and check out how you run things. The idea of leasing a car from another service and subcontracting sounds very interesting.
    Thank you for the compliment. I didn't know I was responding to a customer! Small world. In our area I honestly don't think of anybody as a "competitor" so I'd be glad to help you if you are serious about getting into this business. Tons of our revenue comes from other limo services which is why I've always found it to be a good policy to work with as opposed to against each other.

    P.S. Limo Wire is right. Full time or nothing. As soon as your contractors feel like you are often unavailable, or picking and choosing jobs, you'll fall lower on their totem pole.
    FAIRFAX LIMO - Northern Virginia and Washington DC Limo Service

    Lincoln TC (Executive) - multiple
    Lincoln TC (Executive L) - multiple
    Lincoln TC 100" Stretch by US Coachworks
    Lincoln TC 120" Stretch by DaBryan
    Lincoln TC 120" Stretch by Krystal (2)
    Lincoln TC 120" Stretch by Executive
    Lincoln TC 72" Stretch by Krystal
    Ford Excursion 180" by Legendary
    Hummer H2 200" by Krystal
    Hummer H2 180" by Craftsmen
    K33 Limobus/Party Bus (F550) by Krystal

    Fairfax Limo also offers Virginia Wine Tours

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