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Thread: The New Guy

  1. #1
    Junior Member Limo Padawan
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    Default The New Guy

    Hi my names is James and I live in Panama City Beach, FL. I've been checking out the forum and thought maybe I could get some professional advice here.

    I would like to start a small limo service working from my home. I don't have a lot of money; I'd being doing this on my own so my idea is to start by purchasing a 4 door L series town car '04 or '05 model. I'd use this one car for a while building up more money to buy additional cars. I checked into insurance which came to $3,000 per year. Is there any cheaper insurance that you know of for this type of business? I would like to eventually have an income from this that would allow me to quit my present full time job. I'm just not sure if it's possible by starting with one car and insurance at $3,000 per year.

    This is just what I was thinking but if you have a better suggestion on how to start a limo service working on it part time and with a small amount of cash please let me know. Your help is greatly appreciated.
    "Even my Condition has been conditioned."

  2. #2
    Senior Member Limo Padawan Jazzy Girl's Avatar
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    James, welcome to our formum and the industry. This industry can be a tough one so please do your research, there is lots of knowledge here in these web pages. Are you using your own $$ to start or will you finance a vehicle? As far as insurance I suggest Rodes, Roper & Love, they have an office in Melborne, FL (321) 757-6181 and have been pretty reasonable. Good luck and let me know if I could help you any further

  3. #3
    Senior Member Elegant Limousines of Palm Coast's Avatar
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    Hi James,It can be done.It won't happen overnight.My wife and I started almost three years ago with 1 car,a used 120 and almost no $$. My wife quit her job after the first year,to run the biz 24-7-365. I still work full time , do runs and keep our now fleet of 4 going.There is a lot of expence to running a limousine / sedan company. Just the up keep on a vehicle can kill any extra income.If your a 1 man show be ready to give up your social life and dont plan on sleeping much. When the phone rings at 3am for an A/P run you have to go.I would not make a sedan my first car.The L series is a nice car but unless you have clients asking for it you will be wasting $ on that investment.Why spend big $ on an L when a Sig will do the same job and cost about $10k less.You should get a good used 120 Lincoln.Start small,weddings and nights out.If you get calls for A/P send the stretch at a small discount,but not to cut the comp in your area.Or farm the A/P runs till you make some $ for a sedan.Good Luck!
    www.pclimos1.com
    www.elegantlimousines1.com

  4. #4
    Junior Member Limo Padawan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzy Girl View Post
    Are you using your own $$ to start or will you finance a vehicle?
    I'm trying to fund the whole thing out of pocket.... with my small budget of $10,000 dallors. I thought if I start small..I will work my up to a bigger car. And thanks for all the good advice.
    "Even my Condition has been conditioned."

  5. #5
    Junior Member Limo Padawan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elegant Limousines of Palm Coast View Post
    Hi James,It can be done.It won't happen overnight.My wife and I started almost three years ago with 1 car,a used 120 and almost no $$. My wife quit her job after the first year,to run the biz 24-7-365. I still work full time , do runs and keep our now fleet of 4 going.There is a lot of expence to running a limousine / sedan company. Just the up keep on a vehicle can kill any extra income.If your a 1 man show be ready to give up your social life and dont plan on sleeping much. When the phone rings at 3am for an A/P run you have to go.I would not make a sedan my first car.The L series is a nice car but unless you have clients asking for it you will be wasting $ on that investment.Why spend big $ on an L when a Sig will do the same job and cost about $10k less.You should get a good used 120 Lincoln.Start small,weddings and nights out.If you get calls for A/P send the stretch at a small discount,but not to cut the comp in your area.Or farm the A/P runs till you make some $ for a sedan.Good Luck!
    www.pclimos1.com
    www.elegantlimousines1.com
    Yeah your right..I could buy a sig and do the same thing. I really just don't want to buy some old limo from the 80's that Eddie Murphy rode in like the movie "Coming To America". However, with my small budget that's all I may be able to buy...I guess you have to crawl before you walk. Thanks for your help.
    "Even my Condition has been conditioned."

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    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    Your plan is not a bad one. At first I was going to say you should buy a 120" so you would be more versatile, but...here's my rethinking. As long as the job you hold now is somewhat recession proof (and really consider this), and you will have no problem paying the bills if the car just sits, I see know reason not to start out with a TC payed in cash (or minimum loan). Just make sure you can pay your bills if the car does not move.

    Anyone feel free to not agree--I am not an expert at this by any means, just an opinion.

    And search for Phil T. Brun, Limo Insurance King, on this site--contact him after you get a business plan together and he'll be able to answer your questions.
    Rich Rottier
    219.808.0976 | richrottier@gmail.com

  7. #7
    Junior Member Limo Padawan
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    Welcome James,

    I started out with 12,000 dollars cash. The hardest part was finding a GREAT vehicle. After months searching the internet I found a black towncar for 9,888.00 and only 30,000 miles on it. A high priced dealership took it in on trade and it didnt look right on the lot and decided to just get rid of it. I lucked out and beat three other limo companies that also wanted it. Be persistent and believe in yourself!!! I thought I was crazy starting a business when the economy is bad. I look at it as a challenge and I will be sucessful. This site has alot of knowlegeable people with years and years of experience in the industry and they have taught me a lot in short amount of time! I wish you nothing but the best in your new business venture!

    Steve Brown
    ParkPlaceLimoandtowncar.com
    Last edited by Sbrown6725; October 29th, 2008 at 09:48 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Elegant Limousines of Palm Coast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D95turbo View Post
    Yeah your right..I could buy a sig and do the same thing. I really just don't want to buy some old limo from the 80's that Eddie Murphy rode in like the movie "Coming To America". However, with my small budget that's all I may be able to buy...I guess you have to crawl before you walk. Thanks for your help.
    $10k is more than we had. We started with a personal loan from our bank for $6,800.This bought us a nice 97 white 120 that was in Georgia for $5,500. spent the rest on ins and getting our corperation started.With hard work and providing the best service we made a name for our selfs.You may not have a new car but there is more to this biz than the vehicles.

  9. #9
    Junior Member Limo Padawan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cedar Mill Limousine View Post
    As long as the job you hold now is somewhat recession proof (and really consider this), and you will have no problem paying the bills if the car just sits, I see know reason not to start out with a TC payed in cash (or minimum loan). Just make sure you can pay your bills if the car does not move.
    Yes my job is recession proof. I'm just tired of working for the man And your right. If the car sits in the driveway no big deal. Most of the limo companies here don't have a good rep. Our town is small so reputation is everything here. If I put out a good product, sell myself to the customer and stay consistent.... I can make this happen.... even with a 4 door sedan. But what about the insurance?????
    Last edited by D95turbo; October 29th, 2008 at 10:33 PM.
    "Even my Condition has been conditioned."

  10. #10
    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cedar Mill Limousine View Post

    And search for Phil T. Brun, Limo Insurance King, on this site--contact him after you get a business plan together and he'll be able to answer your questions.
    Have your business plan together first.
    Rich Rottier
    219.808.0976 | richrottier@gmail.com

  11. #11
    Junior Member Limo Padawan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elegant Limousines of Palm Coast View Post
    You may not have a new car but there is more to this biz than the vehicles.
    Thats why i'm here to learn from the pro's.....It's all about knowing your Sh*t and how to please right? I have a ton of people skills..so thats a start.
    "Even my Condition has been conditioned."

  12. #12
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    I see 100" limos on Ebay at good prices, that's a good place to start and get used to driving longer cars. I started with a 6-pack, then an 100", then a 120" then stepped up to driving the Hummer and now the party bus. Stepping stones are great to learn with, gives you some experience with working on the cars and doing your own mods and is also good to buy cheap, fix, rent, resell and do it again.

    I personally like buying limos that need work. I will buy them cheap, fix them up and rent them for a few months then roll them for a profit and start over again. But, I like working on them (probably) more than I do driving them, that's just how I am.

    When buying a used limo keep this in-mind... 1998 - 2002 all look the same. You can buy a 1998 model cheap and no one can tell that it's not a 2002 model. The same goes with 1991 - 1997 models, unless you know what you are looking at they are the same to the client. 2003 to present all look the same. So, it comes down to which look you want to offer to your clients. Whatever you decide I just suggest staying with the 1991-up Lincoln so that you have the 4.6 engine, they run great forever.
    Last edited by Digger; October 30th, 2008 at 09:02 AM.

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    Hey James ,I am kinda in the same boat. I was looking to offer my customers a one call complete transportation company. We already have a very busy Horse drawn carriage service . We have been at this for 8 yrs. I see $ going away from us at a lot of events due to things I could not contol. Weather, distance too far for the carriage to travel in the time we thought was good for our customers and their guests. I found a great deal on a shuttle bus and I purchased it. Granted it is not a party bus ,cloth seats , 7 rows of 4 seats, compaired to perimeter seating. We have about 2000 in it up and runing. Nice 94 one owner with just 68,000 miles. But I was looking also to buy a good limo at a reasonable price. I found an older Lincoln from a salesman who sells to the funeral industry. This car is a 1988 ,but it has just under 67,000 miles on it. The car was very well maintained and I am very pleased with what I can offer my cistomers. I promote it as a classic Lincoln limo. I know I can not compete with a service that has new 120 or bigger. I do not want to do that nor do I have the time to do that. As we have found with our carriage service , options are what customers look at in many cases. With my service I can provide just as good of service as any one else ,but with not as high of cost. I do not feel that just because I have older equipment I can low ball our cut my brothers in the biz,and I do not try to ever do that. I feel we are all in the SERVICE business. Good service deserves a fair price. Sorry about my soapbox,but I am very passinoate about service. Look at your market and try to find the little edge where you can offer something a little different than the other guy. Helps to get started. Good Luck

  14. #14
    Junior Member Limo Padawan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digger View Post
    I see 100" limos on Ebay at good prices, that's a good place to start and get used to driving longer cars. I started with a 6-pack, then an 100", then a 120" then stepped up to driving the Hummer and now the party bus. Stepping stones are great to learn with, gives you some experience with working on the cars and doing your own mods and is also good to buy cheap, fix, rent, resell and do it again.

    I personally like buying limos that need work. I will buy them cheap, fix them up and rent them for a few months then roll them for a profit and start over again. But, I like working on them (probably) more than I do driving them, that's just how I am.

    When buying a used limo keep this in-mind... 1998 - 2002 all look the same. You can buy a 1998 model cheap and no one can tell that it's not a 2002 model. The same goes with 1991 - 1997 models, unless you know what you are looking at they are the same to the client. 2003 to present all look the same. So, it comes down to which look you want to offer to your clients. Whatever you decide I just suggest staying with the 1991-up Lincoln so that you have the 4.6 engine, they run great forever.
    I took a look at ebay last night...WOW!!! some of those car are dirt cheap. I can work on just about anything that has an engine. However, when it comes to fixing up the interior I have no idea where to start.
    "Even my Condition has been conditioned."

  15. #15
    Junior Member Limo Padawan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pyro View Post
    Hey James ,I am kinda in the same boat. I was looking to offer my customers a one call complete transportation company. We already have a very busy Horse drawn carriage service . We have been at this for 8 yrs. I see $ going away from us at a lot of events due to things I could not contol. Weather, distance too far for the carriage to travel in the time we thought was good for our customers and their guests. I found a great deal on a shuttle bus and I purchased it. Granted it is not a party bus ,cloth seats , 7 rows of 4 seats, compaired to perimeter seating. We have about 2000 in it up and runing. Nice 94 one owner with just 68,000 miles. But I was looking also to buy a good limo at a reasonable price. I found an older Lincoln from a salesman who sells to the funeral industry. This car is a 1988 ,but it has just under 67,000 miles on it. The car was very well maintained and I am very pleased with what I can offer my cistomers. I promote it as a classic Lincoln limo. I know I can not compete with a service that has new 120 or bigger. I do not want to do that nor do I have the time to do that. As we have found with our carriage service , options are what customers look at in many cases. With my service I can provide just as good of service as any one else ,but with not as high of cost. I do not feel that just because I have older equipment I can low ball our cut my brothers in the biz,and I do not try to ever do that. I feel we are all in the SERVICE business. Good service deserves a fair price. Sorry about my soapbox,but I am very passinoate about service. Look at your market and try to find the little edge where you can offer something a little different than the other guy. Helps to get started. Good Luck
    I think you guys are right. I should just buy a cheap limo.... 91 or greater and start my business from there. i'm still looking at my business plan and how i'm going to market my idea. I'm lucky that my wife has a marketing degree and works in the resort biz. I hope this will give me the edge to start my company. Thanks! for all the help guys. If you have anymore ideas or just want to say whatever..i'm all ears
    "Even my Condition has been conditioned."

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