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THE NLA CONSUMER GUIDE TO PURCHASING PROFESSIONAL TRANSPORTATION

If there is one thing consumers learn the hard way in the limousine business, it is that the least expensive option is not the most reliable and efficient. As a meeting planner, who wants to take a chance on having your CEO or President missed at the airport and late for that important meeting? As a general consumer, well, no one wants to be late for his or her own wedding or frustrated by not having any transportation arrive for that special event.

The NLA is here to help you find the service that is right for your needs. Use this guide when you are ready to find limousine service, and please browse through our directory of more than 2,300 member companies to locate one in your area. If you have other questions, we ask that you send us an email.

Typically, most chauffeured limousine needs are for either "Special Occasion Service," or "Corporate, or Group Move Transportation", and there are companies that specialize in each. There are, however, some common standards that any service provider should meet before you retain their services. Here are some tips you should keep in mind as you choose your limousine service provider:

The professional limousine company members of the National Limousine Association want you to have an enjoyable, safe experience. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us.


NLA MEMBERSHIP

Members of the National Limousine Association acknowledge a Code of Ethics, which emphasizes professional conduct and fidelity to the interests of the client. A NLA member is serious enough about their business to voluntarily make an investment of money and time in their industry, and have access to seminars and reference materials to further their ongoing professional education.

The professional limousine company members of the National Limousine Association want you to have an enjoyable, safe experience. If you have questions, call the NLA at (800) 652-7007 or send us an email.

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LIVERY INSURANCE

Operators should be eager to provide proof of valid, current insurance coverage for their fleet. Many states do not regulate limousine service in any manner; therefore, no agency checks this critical item. Because commercial passenger for hire insurance is very expensive, the incentive is high to insure vehicles under a personal policy, if at all. This may not cover the client who hired the vehicle, and there are many cases where clients have been successfully sued for negligence attributed to a vehicle under their hire.

While an alarming number of companies operate without insurance, there are plenty of quality companies that operate legally. You should get a copy of their certificate of insurance, and if you plan to use them over an extended period, it is wise to have their insurance provider add you as a "named insured." This provides added security and the insurance provider will notify you if the policy should be interrupted or lapse for any reason.

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CHAUFFEUR TRAINING

A professional chauffeur is easily as important to the success of your event as a nice vehicle. Quality limousine services have an official training program for their chauffeurs. Some programs include video or classroom training, testing behind the wheel, and apprenticeship programs. Choose a provider that places a high value on the caliber of their chauffeurs.

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VEHICLE OPERATING AUTHORITY & DRIVERS LICENSING

This varies from state to state. Some states and municipalities have no regulation while others stringently enforce both vehicles and chauffeur licensing. You should check, particularly if you plan to cross state or city boundaries. In many places, the vehicle can be stopped and immediately impounded if found not in compliance. Most major airports have some regulation of providers, and if a provider is in good standing there, they are probably complying elsewhere. The NLA is happy to assist you in helping you determine the regulations in your area.

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VEHICLE & COMPANY INSPECTION

Everyone is beautiful over the phone. If you haven't used a provider before and time allows, always visit the company in person before hiring them. The time to find out what you are getting is not when the vehicle shows up, when you have no choice but to accept a poor product. While visiting a provider, not only inspect the vehicles inside and out but also note the cleanliness of the offices and the presentation of their office staff. It is unlikely that a poorly organized front office will train detail-oriented employees. Like most important purchases, it's best to look before you buy.

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CHECK REFERENCES

Whether a limousine company has been in business for three years or 20, they should be pleased to share letters of reference from the important customers the company has successfully serviced over the years.

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FOR SPECIAL OCCASION SERVICE

Weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and proms are special occasions that commonly require personalized attention to your specific requirements. Whether it is a certain color of car or your favorite bottle of bubbly chilled to perfection, these details are important when using a special occasion limousine.

Remember that bigger is not always better. The more specific your requirements, the further in advance you should reserve and pay for your limousine. When doing so, insist on a written copy that clearly states the details of your reservation to your satisfaction, and keep a copy of the contract until after successful completion of your special event. Then relax and enjoy being pampered!

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FOR CORPORATE OR GROUP MOVE TRANSPORTATION

All corporate transportation must be prompt, reliable, flexible and respect the time and budget of the client. A good corporate limousine company will do so while placing your traveler in a safe and comfortable "mobile office" which maximizes their time. Time normally spent renting a car, finding your way in a strange city, parking, buying gas and walking in the rain will be better spent preparing for your meeting or catching up on correspondence.

This will allow the customer "one-stop shopping" and billing as well as a smooth seamless delivery of all ground transportation. Be certain to choose a reputable provider with a lot of experience and a good record of accomplishment and they will make your company look great! Do not be influenced by a cheap price or a glitzy car. The prettiest limousine in the world has no value to the corporate traveler who just missed an important appointment or flight because their car was late or because it broke down - even at a cheap price. Carefully selecting a quality provider will assure mobility and efficiency while making the best use of the traveler's time and money.

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The above information is reprinted with permission from the National Limousine Association.  You can learn more at their web site at http://www.nlaride.com

PUCO: 152568
USDOT: 357625
MC: 220326