Booking chauffeured car service, whether for an airport transfer, a multi-day corporate gala, or a wedding, can be intimidating. There are many questions and uncertainties involved with this process, especially if you’ve never reserved ground transportation before or you’re unfamiliar with the company.
How can you be sure you’re booking with a reliable, reputable transportation provider? How can you be certain you can trust your chauffeur? How can you ensure that the company has the vehicle you need?
To help you sort out your questions and concerns before booking chauffeured transportation, we’ve compiled a list of questions you need to ask your provider before you make a reservation.
1. What types of vehicles are available?
If you have a vision of a sleek limousine or a sharp, luxury sedan, you’ll want to make sure that the company you’ve selected has the vehicle that meets your vision.
It’s not just the type of vehicle you have to consider either. Think about why you need transportation in the first place. For example, if you’re planning a wedding, you may need a luxury Sprinter van, minibus, or another large vehicle that can transport your guests. Not all companies will be able to accommodate.
Do a thorough scan of the company’s fleet on their website. Write down the make and model of the car you’d like, and ask for it specifically when you’re ready to book. Make sure you ask your Reservation Specialist to check the specific times to ensure that the vehicle is available for the duration of your event.
2. Who should I contact if…?
Contact information is vital because you will know exactly who contact with certain questions regarding your reservation. Changing your pickup location, choosing a different vehicle, or requesting certain amenities is so much easier when you know who to call.
3. How and when will I be billed?
Many ground transportation companies share billing information directly on their websites. Read that information if it’s available, and go over the billing process again while you’re on the phone with your Reservation Specialist.
Jot down notes, so you have them as a reference. This is especially useful if the company tries to renege on something they initially promised. It also helps if policies suddenly “change” once you’ve used their service. It never hurts to have documentation that supports your agreement. Plus, knowing you’re prepared for any billing-related issues that may arise gives you peace of mind.
4. What is your cancellation policy?
Cancellation policies vary from provider to provider. You need to know exactly what your provider expects. Know specifically how far in advance you can cancel without being charged. You should also be aware of any fees that incurred should you miss that deadline.
Don’t get blindsided by unexpected fees. You’re allowed to read the fine print and ask questions, so do it! It’ll hopefully save you money and stress.
5. Are you active in any professional organizations?
A company’s membership in certain professional organizations offers insight into the quality of their service, as well as their reputation within the industry. Any transportation provider should absolutely be a member of the National Limousine Association, as well as the local chamber of commerce and other relevant organizations.
Do a little digging on your own, too. What do their reviews look like on Google, Yelp, and Facebook? Scot online reviews from former customers to ensure that you’re booking with a quality, reputable company that has consistently offered good service over time.
6. How are your chauffeurs hired?
Before you book, get an accurate idea of the company’s hiring practices. You deserve to know what you are entitled to in your experience, and that includes how the company vets the people who sit behind the wheel.
There is a difference between a contacted driver and a professional chauffeur. Know which types of employees the company hires.
On the one hand, a professional chauffeur is a company employee who has been background-checked and carefully interviewed before being hired. Their driving history will have been thoroughly examined, and they will be very familiar with the company’s policies and history of service.
On the other hand, a contracted driver is likely hired to handle single trips on an infrequent basis. Their driving history and background may not be examined thoroughly — or even at all — before being assigned to handle your event.
Ground transportation isn’t something that should be left to chance. With these questions on hand, you’ll be able to get the answers you deserve to make a more important decision.
*Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2015 and has since been updated for accuracy.