The taxi and chauffeur industry is growing, and nearly 26 percent of limousine drivers were self-employed by mid-2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Benefits include a flexible work schedule and plentiful job opportunities. Starting your own limousine business in Ohio requires a livery seating affidavit; a Class C commercial driver’s license, or CDL, for each driver operating your limousines; title; and proof of insurance, which is called Liability Insurance Certification.
Write a business plan to better understand and organize your business, to plan for the long term and to present it to a financial institution for funding. In the business plan, include your business overview; market research of the business climate in the taxi and chauffeur industry in your locality, as well as information about competitors; a marketing plan showing how you will advertise to promote business and attract customers; background information regarding you, your key employees and partners; pro forma financial statements; and contracts or legal documents, if any.
Purchase a new or used limousine based on your budget. Contact the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles Title and Vehicle Information Services at 614-752-7671 or http://www.bmv.ohio.gov to obtain the vehicle title and the vehicle identification number. Your clients may expect a few luxuries while traveling in your limousine, such as CDs, TVs, iced beverages and glasses, laser lights and more, so make sure you are able to provide these services. You also will need a safe place to store the limousine.
Register your limousine business for a livery permit at the nearest Ohio Department of Public Safety office or at the Cleveland Regional Service Center located at: 12000 Snow Road, Suite N Parma, Ohio 44130 440-845-2007
For interstate operations, contact the Federal Highway Administration at Federal Highway Administration 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE Washington, DC 20590 fhwa.dot.gov
Hire employees, if necessary. Employees must obtain a Class C commercial driver's license by passing all written and driving tests at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. CDL guides and test tips are available on the BMV’s website, http://www.bmv.ohio.gov. As of 2010, the current CDL fee is $42. You also will need a P4 license. This license is for drivers driving Class C vehicles designed to transport fewer than 16 passengers, including the driver.
Obtain a liability insurance certification. In Ohio, the BMV requires you to have an amount of at least $300,000.
Register your livery vehicle at the local deputy register, either by mail or by calling the BMV Registration Section, 1-800-589-8247. You will need insurance and title for registration. You will also need a a livery seating affidavit. This is a notarized form that indicates that the vehicle does not seat more than nine people. There is a charge for livery license plates, $7.50 annually as of 2010, in addition to the registration fee.
Use a charter contract or charter agreement while conducting business. A charter contract is simply a lease agreement specifically for vehicles, ships or aircraft. It specifies rental agreements for one or more voyages for a fixed period of time.You will need to keep records, collect and submit sales tax in the state of Ohio. This must be stated separately in the agreement and must not be included in your pricing charges.
Decide pricing charges based on rates charged by competitors in your locality.
Market your limousine services and promote your business. Connect with schools and colleges and offer special rates around major school dances and formal events. Advertise on newspapers, yellow pages and online. Build relationships with event planners at major hotels and convention centers. Offer special introductory rates to build a consistent clientele.
- side of limo. image by Empath from Fotolia.com