Dr. Penny Pincher founded the popular personal finance blog Penny Pincher Journal in 2013 and has published two books about saving money.
How Much Is a Limo to Buy?
A new limousine sells for about $90,000, depending on the manufacturer and options. Like most cars, limousines depreciate quickly and lose about half of their value in four or five years. If you want one 10 or more years old, bargains can be found for under $15,000. At some point, limos get too old and worn out for professional limousine services to use for paying customers.
How Much Do Limousines Cost to Rent?
When you rent a limo, the driver comes with it (also known as a chauffeur), Limo services typically require a minimum booking of 2-3 hours, at typical rates for a limo and driver of $50-300 per hour depending on the type of limo and what is included. Service that includes food, drinks, red carpet roll-out, decorations, etc. is more expensive than service that only includes the ride.
If you have a limo take you to an event, you have to pay for the entire time the limo is occupied even though you are not in the limo most of the time. For an event like a prom, it helps to take advantage of the passenger capacity and split the cost among many people.
How Much Would It Cost to Take a Limo to Prom?
This would likely be a 3-hour booking at a minimum of $50 per hour for basic limo service, so at least $150 in most places.
How Long Is a Limousine?
Sometimes the length of a limousine is described in terms of the stretch. For example, a common model is a Chrysler 300 stretch limo with a stretch of 140 inches. Does this mean the car is 140 inches long? No—this simply refers to how much the car is stretched from the standard model. A typical stretch limo is about 30 feet long, with a typical stretch of about 10 feet. This is as long as a motorhome!
Cars can be custom-built into a stretch limo. A fun example is a MINI Cooper coupe stretch limo that seats 8 customers—you can get a 2008 model with 19,000 miles for $49,900. Volkswagon bug stretch limos have also been done.
How Many People Fit in a Limo?
Typically limousines provide seating for 8-12 passengers (customers), depending on seating configuration. Some SUV stretch limos hold 14 or more passengers. Most have 4 doors, 2 in front for the chauffeur, and 2 in back for the customers.
Limousine Passenger Capacity Examples
|Stretch Limo Model||Seating Capacity (passengers)|
Chrysler 300 Stretch
Dodge Charger Stretch
Ford Expedition Stretch
GMC Yukon Stretch
Lincoln Town Car Stretch
Mercedes-Benz S Stretch
Cadillac De Ville Stretch
Hummer H2 Stretch
What Gas Mileage Do Limousines Get?
Typical gas mileage for a limo is about 10mpg city and 18 mpg highway. Most limousines are driven mostly in town, which is bad for gas mileage.
Do You Need Special License and Insurance to Charge Customers for Rides in Your Limo?
In some states, you just need a commercial driver's license, while in other states you need a chauffeur's permit to carry passengers for a limousine company. The Department of Motor Vehicles can give you the requirement for your area. It may depend on the weight of the limo and the number of passengers.
Can You Make Money Buying a Cheap Limo and Driving It Part Time?
I recently came across a 2000 Lincoln Town Car stretch limo for sale for $5,800. Seeing that you can buy a limo for about $6,000 makes you wonder what it would take to make money with it. It seems like you could accept bookings to chauffeur people on weekends and evenings to make some extra money without impacting your day job. What would it take to be able to make money by owning a limo?
There would be some expenses to cover; insurance for a limo would likely be a couple hundred dollars per month. I would budget at least $100 per month for maintenance and repairs on an older limo. The cost of money tied up in the investment of buying the limo, let’s say is $100 per month. Another expense is advertising—people will need to know about your limo service. You could advertise for free on craigslist, or you may need to place some ads in newspapers. You could strategically place ads around the time of special events such as prom and Valentine’s Day to stretch your advertising dollars. Let’s say you end up spending $50 per month on advertising. This adds up to about $450 of expenses per month. We’ll assume you use your existing phone to take bookings and can clean the limo and do the bookkeeping for the business yourself. This means you’d need a few bookings per month to break even.
Things to Consider
Whether or not this is feasible depends a lot on your location. You would have a better chance in or near a major metro area. I think in most places you would be lucky to get more than a couple bookings per year. So overall, I’d say this is not a great business venture unless you really want to own a limo.
Are They Adequate for Teen Drivers?
I have been thinking about what kind of car to get for my teenage son when the time comes. “Big” and “safe” are some characteristics that come to mind. Also, “cheap” of course. While walking, I came across a 13-year-old limousine for sale for only $5800. A limo like this one fits the bill.
One advantage of getting a used limo for your teenage driver: there would be no need to rent one for prom. Also, a limo would be distinctive and you would be able to locate your teen around town pretty easily. You get lots of style for the money—what else could you buy for $5800 that would make the sort of impression that driving a limo would? Even going to the gas station to get a gallon of milk would be an event that would attract attention! It might be an instant popularity boost for your kid as almost everyone would want to ride in the limo.
Before You Buy
Some disadvantages of getting a used limo for your teen driver: they are hard to park due to their length. Parking a limo is sort of like parking a motorhome—you need a lot of room and have a large turning radius to deal with. A limo would be a challenge for a new driver just learning to drive. Used limos likely have had some hard use- lots of city driving and start-and-stop driving that wears out cars fast. Plus they eat gas. I think I’ll look at used police cars instead—think the Blues Brothers…
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2013 Dr Penny Pincher