What questions should I ask when shopping for a limousine?

If you ask the following questions and sense any sort of hesitation, evasion or incomplete answers you should take it as a warning sign. Any properly operated transportation company should be able to answer these questions for you.

1) Are you licensed with the City of Austin? Does your car have a current city license sticker on it?

Note - Don't be afraid to ask about permits! The Yellow Pages does not require limousine companies to provide proof of permits or insurance to advertise. Call the City of Austin at 974-1551 to double-check on your company.

2) Are you fully insured? Can you fax me a copy of your insurance binder and your agent's phone number? Do you mind if I call your agent to verify your policy?

3) How large is your fleet? (Did you know most companies in Austin only have one car? - This may not seem like a big deal until they have a breakdown on your special day and there is no backup car!) At Marriton we own one of the largest and most diverse fleets in Austin.

4) What age is the car I am renting? What condition is it in? Is anything broken or not working?

5) What is your backup/emergency plan in case of an unexpected last minute breakdown or accident? Who has the responsibility for finding a replacement car at the last minute? At Marriton Limousine if we are not able to substitute an alternate car from our fleet we will immediately contact one of our many quality partners in town - we never make a last minute problem into your problem to handle!

6) Can you arrange for me to view the vehicle prior to making my reservation? If the price seems to good to be true or something doesn't feel right be sure to go view the vehicle. You will be shocked at some of the limos out there. Don't let the shock be when it pulls up for your scheduled pick-up time...

7) Will you guarantee my reservation with a written contract? Don't get caught in the classic story of "The Limo Broke Down" or "We Don't Have Your Reservation" We hear this several times per month from customers of other companies calling us in an emergency. If you didn't get it in writing there is no proof of a contract. Unscrupulous companies will drop low-price or 'one hour' reservations in a heartbeat if a better paying or longer rental fare comes in.

8) How many seatbelts are in the rear passenger compartment? Important to ask if you have more than 4 people in order to determine the true passenger capacity. If you are told "we're not sure because the seatbelts have been taken out" be aware that this is a violation of state law and you can be sure that vehicle has not been properly inspected or permitted.

9) Can you please tell me about your chauffeur training and certification program?

10) Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau or the NLA (National Limo Association)?

11) Are your vehicles QVM or CMC certified?

12) Is gratuity included in the price you are quoting me? Does the chauffeur receive all of the gratuity or does the company keep a portion of it? If you don't ask you'll find out too late that the price you were quoted did not include gratuity. Also, some companies gyp their chauffeur's by keeping 5-10% of the gratuity for themselves (you'll sometimes see this called a 'service charge'). You can bet that the service will be poor as you will never find the best chauffeurs in town working for such a company.

13) Is there a sales tax charge? We are seeing some unscrupulous companies in Austin quoting or charging their customers sales tax. There is no sales tax in Texas on limousine service. This is simply a way to cheat you out of more money.