'Cash sales' means all income that you receive when a vehicle is hired. While some of your customers may pay you in cash, remember that Cash sales can also include:
- debit and credit card payments
- PayPal and similar online payments - some limousine hire businesses offer their services for sale on eBay (where PayPal is a commonly used payment method) or enable their own websites to accept these sorts of payments from customers
To prepare your cash flow, you need to estimate how much income you will receive over the next 12 months, including VAT. To do this you will need to work out how many hire bookings you are likely to take, the price you'll charge for them and when you will receive the money. You will also need to decide on any additional services you will offer and what you will charge for them.
There are a number of things to consider when you make your estimates.
Type of business
Think about the type of business you will run:
- who will your customers be - members of the public, local businesses or a mixture
- how wide an area will your service cover
- where will your premises be
- how many vehicles will you operate
- what sort of vehicles will you operate - traditional limousines, American stretched limousines, luxury cars, wedding cars, other specialist vehicles such as vintage cars or sports cars
- will you offer any cars for self-drive hire (usually not limousines), or only hire out cars with drivers
- will you offer chauffeur/driver hire services for clients' own vehicles
- will you have more than one base
- what will your working hours be
Unlike normal car rental, limousines are not normally offered for self-drive hire - the services of a driver/chauffeur are generally included. You need to consider the range of services you will offer. Will you:
- provide limousines and drivers for weddings or civic ceremonies
- offer an airport transfer service
- provide a chauffeur driven service for local businesspeople
- offer limousine hire for groups on office parties, birthday parties, stag and hen nights
- offer your services to local hotels and restaurants as an alternative to them arranging taxis for their customers
You might decide to offer a range of services, or specialise in just a single activity, such as wedding hire.
Think about your pricing policy - don't forget, you must be able to cover your costs, overheads and drawings. Other things to consider include:
- will you charge a fixed price per hour, or a fee depending on the distance travelled
- will you have a minimum hire time, for example three hours
- will you make an additional charge for travelling beyond a certain distance away from your base
- will you have a lower rate for quieter periods, for example on a Monday or a Tuesday
- will you drive the vehicles yourself instead of - or as well as - paying other drivers to work for you
- how often will you review your prices
- will you offer account terms to regular clients
- will you offer discounts or special offers, for example for people who book at quiet times of week and less busy times of the year or for regular customers
To help with your decisions, click on the checkpoints for guidance. Once you have worked out a Cash sales figure add it to the relevant field in your cash flow forecast.