Have you given any thought to the transportation needs for your special day? How many passengers do you need to transport? Would it be more cost effective to utilize a limo bus for larger groups?? Should I utilize one limousine and schedule staggered pickup times for the bridal party? How many hours am I going to need to reserve the vehicles for? Your itinerary should be in place prior to contacting any transportation service. Know what types of vehicles you want, how many vehicles you will need, and how long you will need those vehicles. A competent transportation provider will be better able to assist you if you can provide this information.
Not all limousine companies may be capable of servicing a formal event such as your wedding. Just as you would visit a reception hall prior to making a reservation, it is a good idea to visit the limousine service to view the vehicles they have available. Unfortunately, not all limousine services in Virginia are legally licensed or carry the proper insurance on their vehicles. The number of unlicensed companies and services owned and operated by individuals with multiple DUI convictions, convicted felons, escort services and even funeral homes would surprise you.
Prior to visiting a transportation service take a moment to verify whether the service is properly licensed by contacting DMV-Motor Carrier Services at (866) 878-2582 or visit the DMV website for their list of Contract Passenger Carriers. "The Authorized Motor Carrier" list is updated daily except weekends and only guarantees the service is properly licensed and has insurance on file with DMV. The listing does not guarantee the the reputation of the service provider or that each vehicle the service offers is properly insured at the proper limit based on the number of passengers the vehicle transport. Before inspecting the vehicle ask to see the Contract Passenger Carrier Certificate issued by DMV. Always ask for the insurance ID card and the vehicle registration. If all the documents have the same name the odds are good you probably have a licensed and insured vehicle. If the names on the documents do not match, the odds are very good you are looking at a "gypsy" operators vehicle. "Gypsy" services have been getting their tags on their vehicles by "borrowing" the credentials of licensed operators. Several company owners in the area can get licensing on their own due to criminal histories, yet DMV is allowing these operators to acquire and display the required tags obtained through "lease agreements" from less than reputable licensed operators.Your family and guests may not be covered under a "gypsy" operators insurance if the insurance company determines that the service did not have licensing of their own or if the vehicle was not insured at the proper limit based on the number of passengers the vehicle is designed to transport.
Once you have found the vehicles you like , ask for written confirmation that you will have that specific vehicle on the day of your function. Write the license plate numbers of the vehicles you have contracted on your receipt. Without written confirmation some operators may attempt to substitute an unsuitable vehicle or subcontract your reservation to another service without your approval. If a company does have a contract, read the entire contract very carefully prior to signing and placing your deposit. Some contracts are written to protect the service and may leave you without options to recover your monies in the event they don't show up or substitute a sub standard vehicle. Most limousine services in the area are good, but it only takes one bad service to ruin your special day.
R.S. (Bob) Hunter, Jr. / Owner, Royal Coach Limousine, LLC / www.royalcoachlimo.net