Industry sector: Transport

Limousine hire: Standards of service

Offering a high level of service can help your business to stand out from the competition.

The right limousines

You need to be able to supply vehicles that your customers want to hire. If your limousines are not the type that people want, or are not available when required, there's a good chance that they will simply try elsewhere.

The vehicles you have available must be suitable for the type of hire work you expect to carry out - for example, black cars for funeral work, white cars for weddings, stretched limousines for parties and luxury cars for business hire or airport transfers. Whether you have decided to specialise in a particular type of service or not, try to ensure that you have the right vehicle/s to meet demand. At first you might be operating just one or two cars, but as the business builds up, you may look to expand your fleet to enable you to undertake a wider range of work. To begin with, though, there's no point having money tied up in expensive vehicles that are rarely hired. Whatever type of vehicles you use they must, of course, be smart, clean and well maintained.

The right staff

Offering a high standard of service is vital to the success of your business. Helpful, friendly advice from knowledgeable staff will greatly enhance people's opinion of your business and help to turn initial enquiries into bookings.

Once a booking has been made, not only must the limousine be smart and well maintained, but the driver must be punctual, polite and helpful. The driver should be dressed appropriately - either in a full chauffeur's uniform, or in a smart suit. Drivers will also need to be prepared to work unsocial hours and drive with care at all times - passengers will appreciate a smooth driving style, particularly if they are eating and drinking at the time!

Trade association membership

Joining a trade association will help to demonstrate that your business is run to a high standard and help to inspire confidence in it. The National Limousine and Chauffeur Association (NLCA) sets standards which its members are committed to maintaining. Members are also listed on the Association's website and are able to use the association logo in their advertising, correspondence and promotional material. The NLCA website has more information.