New and Used Limo Sales
The limousine industry caters to a wide range of clients, from business travellers and VIPs to hen parties and tourists exploring less travelled routes. There were more than 7,400 limousine operators in 2013 according to the LCT Magazine, a leading publication for the limousine, charter and tour industry. The estimated number of chauffeured vehicles in service is 109,300 vehicles in the UK, including 25,100 stretch limousines and 31,700 sedans or executive cars. Before buying a new or used limo, there are a number of things operators should keep in mind before buying a vehicle.
Limo Sales in the UK
Limousine vehicle fleets feature a wide range of vehicles, including sedans, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), stretch limousines and buses. According the LCT Magazine's latest industry profile outlined in its 2013 Industry Briefing, 911 stretch limousines were sold in the UK during 2012. This compares to 2,751 sedans and other executive cars, 285 SUVs and 1,085 buses sold in 2012. By comparison, 1996 new limousine fleet vehicles including buses were produced in the UK during 2012.
Unless a limousine is being hired without a driver, the vehicle must be run by a licensed operator. In order to operate larger limousines with seating for nine or more passengers, a public sector vehicle (PSV) operator licence is required. A PSV license is issued in order to operate a vehicle for hire or payment in kind that carries nine or more passengers or smaller vehicles used to transport passengers for different fares. For more information about a PSV operator's license, visit www.gov.uk/psv-operator-licences.
For small limousines with seating for up to eight passengers, a private hire vehicle (PHV) operator licence is needed. Within London, a Transport for London driver's licence is needed in addition to a small operator's licence for up to two vehicles used for private hire and a standard operator's licence for more than two vehicles. Outside London, a PHV operator licence must be obtained from a local authority in addition to appropriate driver and vehicle licenses. An operator's licence is not required for limousines with up to 8 passenger seats if it is being driver for a wedding or funeral.
Choosing a Limousine
Decisions related to the type of vehicle will depend on what sort of limousine service you want to provide. Knowing the market is crucial in order to understand what type of new or used limousine to purchase. For example, if a limo will be used for stag and hen nights then a large stretch limousine might be a good investment. If the target market is business people travelling between meetings or if the vehicle will be used primarily for airport transfers, then opting for a premium vehicle such as executive cars manufactured by BMW, Mercedes, Chrysler or Audi might be a better bet. Some limousine operators may have both options in order to attract a broader range of clients.
Other considerations to keep in mind relate to the look of the vehicle. If buying a stretch limousine, keep in mind that longer vehicles will require greater overhead and operating costs. They may also be more difficult and expensive to park. Larger vehicles may also not be practical when driving along narrow country routes or streets in dense city centres. While most limousines are black or white, colourful vehicles are becoming increasingly popular with younger clients. Black and white vehicles are good choices for weddings and formal events, as well as for business travellers or clients who want to be discrete. At the same time, bolder colours might be attractive for hen nights, school events or special corporate events.
Costs of Buying a Limo
When considering whether to purchase a new or used limo, it is important to take into account your financial situation. Cost will also influence the type of vehicle that will be purchased. As a general rule, the cost of a new limousine will typically be significantly higher than a used vehicle. At the same time, a used limo may require additional costs for operating the vehicle. Whether buying a new or used vehicle, it is important to understand the costs associated with replacing any parts and general maintenance. Another important thing to keep in mind when deciding between a new or used limo is the cost of fuel. Petrol or diesel costs can mean the difference between a profit and a loss for many limousine operations. Newer vehicles may have an edge in terms of fuel efficiency.