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Prom & Graduation

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Factors to consider when shopping for limo service

Many families pull out all of the stops to make prom an especially memorable occasion for teenagers. Renting a limousine to transport promgoers to and from the big event can add a touch of class to this milestone moment.

Proms, graduations and weddings compete for the same space on the social calendar, making mid-spring a peak season for limousine companies and private drivers.

According to Thumbtack, a service that pairs professionals with the people who need them, evening limo service and party bus rentals generally have higher hourly rates than daytime rentals. Promgoers should try to split the cost and pack the maximum number of riders into the limousine to keep the prices manageable for all involved.

Limousine rides are fun, but safety must remain a consideration on prom night. According to the Maryland Limousine Association, riders should make sure a limousine company is licensed and insured and should request and be granted the opportunity to inspect the vehicle they book in advance of the big night. Get it in writing that the vehicle you inspected will be the same one you get for your rental.

Many limo services charge by the car and not by the person, and the larger the vehicle, the greater the cost. So don't rent a larger vehicle than you will ultimately need. Riding in a limo is a big deal regardless if you super-size your ride or go with a more conservative option.

Keep in mind that many limo companies also will charge for gasoline and parking or road tolls. You also will need to factor in gratuity. Reputable providers will be very clear about all of their fees in advance.

Many limousine companies will charge a similar hourly rate, but you can negotiate for other perks and options. Some cars can come "iced," which is lingo for stocked with beverages or coolers. Others may provide disposable cameras or other extras. Consider these extras before making a final decision.

Since mid- to late-spring is a busy time of year for limo companies, research your options early on and make your deposit to secure the vehicle as soon as possible. Book with a limo company that requests a deposit that is 50 percent of the total cost or less. The USA Limo Guide says a deposit between 20 and 50 percent is standard.

Limo rides can be exciting and practical ways to get to and from proms and graduation parties if you do your homework.

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