When you hire a limousine, it’s not a good idea to pick the first service you come across. Like most things, you need to do your homework and understand what you require. 

The good news is that it’s not that difficult to find the perfect limo for your occasion. 

While you probably don’t hire a limo that often, it’s still good to know what to look for and the questions to ask when it comes to booking such a special mode of transportation.

Different Types of Limousines

Firstly, let’s discuss the different types of vehicles.

Limos are traditionally longer than standard sedans you’d get with a black car service. They can generally take up to 9 passengers, excluding the driver. 

Since limousines are associated with a luxury transportation experience, you can expect your limo rental to include plenty of lavish extras and more on request.

Whether you’re planning a wedding, a bachelorette party or just want to impress your out of town guests, there are a few things to look out for when you book a limo service. 

Let’s take a look at what you should know before you make a booking.


  • The condition and age of the limo


You want a car that’s up to date. Ask about the vehicle’s make and mode, as well as the year it was made. 


  • Inspect the vehicle yourself


Besides the actual age of the limo, you want to make sure it looks up to date and has seatbelts for everyone. 


  • Think about what you want


Not every service has the same amenities. Make a list of the amenities and features you’d like for your special ride. Maybe you want a fully stocked bar, a TV or even space to move around. Perhaps you want fairy lights. All these things help to limit your search while helping the service provider you choose to ensure you enjoy an unforgettable experience. Remember that some additional features may incur additional costs, so be sure to ask before booking.


  • Request to see license and registration


This is the best way to make sure everything is in order and up to date. It might be somewhat of a challenge, as the first time you’ll typically see the chauffeur and vehicle is when they arrive to pick you up. If that’s the case, consider booking your pick up time earlier than you actually need. By doing so, if you are unhappy or you don’t really like what you see, you can ask the company for a replacement.


  • Make sure the chauffeur is experienced


You always want to book a limousine service with a chauffeur that is friendly, professional, and experienced. The last thing you want is a rude driver that ruins your special event. When looking for a professional transportation service, ask for a chauffeur that has experience in your type of event. For instance, if the occasion is a night out in Santa Barbara for you and your group of friends, you might want a driver that’s energetic and patient.


  • Find out the do’s and don’ts of the vehicle


Different transportation companies have different policies, especially when it comes to eating, drinking, and smoking. Most companies will not allow smoking in the limousine.

Most companies allow you to drink both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, though. As for food, the rules vary from one company to the next.


  • The music policy


Limousines, and companies, have different audio policies. Most limos, though, have up-to-date audio equipment, so if you want to bring your own music, you’ll be able to plug in your phone or a USB. Just find out before booking if you’re allowed to do so.


  • Ask for referrals


Reading up on referral sites is certainly helpful, but it’s better to hear reviews from people you know. Ask friends, family, and even colleagues who have hired limos for their reviews and experiences. If all you’re hearing is bad things about a company, you can move on and look elsewhere.


  • It’s not all about price


Renting a black car service or limo is not going to be cheap. But no matter which service provider you choose, you’re putting your life in the hands of a stranger. That old saying of you get what you pay for applies to a professional chauffeur company. Don’t make your booking decision based solely on price. Focus more on referrals, inspections, safety, and the company’s various policies.


  • Get it in writing


One of the most important things to keep in mind when you hire a professional transportation service is to get everything in writing. Don’t accept a verbal contract over the phone. It doesn’t matter how trustworthy you think a service seems, a written contract will protect the service provider and you. Should something unforeseen happen, you have everything on paper. It’s peace of mind for a superior experience.


  • Find out when you will need to pay for your service


If you’re renting a limousine in Santa Barbara, you need to know when you’ll be paying for the service. Find out if the service provider expects hourly billing or point-to-point payments. This will help you understand who you will be billed and avoid having to pay anymore than you have to. Also, find out if the service expects upfront payment in full or a percentage as a deposit when you make the booking. Then, ask if you’ll be required to pay the balance in full when the driver picks you up or drops you off.


  • Ask about the duration of the rental


If you and your guests are having the best time ever and you don’t want the night to end, find out if you’ll be able to extend your booking. Chances are, if your trip is the last one scheduled for the day, you’ll be able to extend your limo adventure. Don’t forget to ask about the protocol and policies beforehand. There may be a higher fee for a last-minute extension. If you’re not quite sure how long you will need the limousine service for, consider booking a longer window of time to avoid last-minute changes and additional costs.


  • Must you tip the chauffeur?


Chauffeurs sometimes live off their tips. There are limo companies that, as a policy, add a percentage to your invoice when you make your booking. This is called “all-in pricing” so you don’t need to tip your chauffeur directly. Ask for an itemized bill that includes additional extras and make sure you understand each cost. If a tip isn’t included, ask the company what the standard rate is and tip your chauffeur at the end of the trip.

It’s Easy to Hire a Limousine

Whether you want to book a romantic getaway complete with a trip around the gorgeous wineries of the Santa Ynez Valley, wish to impress out of town colleagues with a luxurious journey or are planning your wedding day, a limousine makes for a memorable and lavish treat.

While it may not seem straightforward, knowing what to look out for and what to ask when booking a limo will ensure a smooth and easy process.

Make sure you know what you want, ask the right questions, and you’re in for an unforgettable ride.

Book your professional limo service today with Silk Road Transportation.