Imagine on your wedding day, the Rolls Royce is running 45 minutes late and counting. Yikes! When it finally shows, you wish you could poke your head into the ground like an ostrich, hoping your guests hoping don't hear the orchestra of the low-pitched humming engine and the rickety muffler, or notice the large dent in the back right corner. Finding the right limo company sure can be daunting.

Do a simple Google search or flip through the good old-fashioned Yellow Pages, and you will be swimming in an ocean of limo companies. Fair warning: not all are created equal! As an insider in the limo business for six years, I have composed this guide to walk you through, step by step, to having a worry-free experience.

Go Local

Like fruits and vegetables, it's important to go local. The more local the company, the better their rates will probably be. Look for a real physical address. Be aware that some limo companies try to post multiple listings in various cities just to promote their listing.

Raves and Reviews

Life is not long enough to learn solely from your mistakes, so learn from others. Skim over limo companies' general reviews, star ratings, and comments on websites. Turn to social media, such as their Twitter or Facebook page, to size up their authenticity and popularity. The larger a company's fan base, the more legit the company probably is.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Look for real photos, not professional stock photos. This is a very conniving, yet common, practice. If you browse enough, you will quickly notice that indisputably identical photos appear over and over across multiple limo websites. They can't all have the same beautiful stretch Hummer at the same angle in front of the exact same tree in the background simply by chance. Some companies have photos of their customers on their Facebook page with the limo as the backdrop. A natural photo is much more representative of the limo that will arrive at your doorsteps, not the fancy stock photos that are merely copied and pasted on to a site.

Southern Hospitality

I'm a Jersey girl now, but my Southern upbringing sure had an impact on me. Call up a few companies and see who has the time and courtesy to answer your questions and walk you through the process. In addition, you need a reliable company that always answers the phone; not one that goes to a personal mailbox.

Over-Rated

When comparing rates, compare final totals. Some limo companies quote only base rates and tack on charges and hidden fees like no tomorrow after you reserve. Gratuity, STC surcharge, fuel charge, credit card processing fee, travel time or garage to garage–just to name a few–can easily double the original figure.

Tricky Terms

Make sure you read the Terms & Conditions and Cancellation Policy carefully before signing anything. Most importantly, you want to make sure you have time to cancel, if needed, without losing a deposit.

Candid Confirmations

Most limo companies are caught up with technology and will email you a confirmation where all important payment and trip information are clearly communicated. Carefully review the dates, times, and addresses to ensure your event goes smoothly as planned.

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