Have you ever found yourself at a wedding more interested in the vehicles used to arrive at the ceremony than the dress or the flowers? Do you love the excitement of helping people fulfil their dreams? And are you fostering a desire to launch your own business? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, a wedding car hire business could be perfect for you.
In the UK, experts estimate that the average bride and groom will spend around £30,000 on their wedding – a staggering amount that’s higher than ever before. And that means that there’s plenty of people looking to spend some serious cash on the right vehicle for their special day. Reckon you have what it takes to launch a business supplying wedding cars to happy couples in your local area? Then you’ll want to check out our handy guide which covers everything you’ll need to know.
Laying the foundations
Of course, not just anyone can set up as a wedding car hire company and start providing a service. Like anything, there’s a certain amount of bureaucracy to navigate first – not to mention a portfolio of equipment to build from scratch. So here are some of the things that you’ll need to think about before you can get started.
- Insurance – what kind will you need for your business?
- Drivers – who is going to be responsible for chauffeuring your customers from A to B?
- Cars – which vehicles should you offer?
Wedding car insurance
If you’re serious about setting up a wedding car hire business, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got the right insurance to cover you in the event of an accident or other mishap. Unlike companies offering car hire over long distances, for example, wedding cars will often have comparably low mileage and infrequent use – so make sure that you choose the right coverage to suit your needs.
Vet your chauffeurs & drivers
While there are some wedding car rental companies that operate on a self-drive basis, the majority of these ventures aim to establish themselves as a chauffeur-driven service. Take some time to think about which route is right for you – the former involves less time and effort on your behalf, while the latter is more of a complete package. Whichever you choose, however, you’ll need to make sure that all the right paperwork is signed and approved.
The amount of wedding cars available on the market is astonishingly varied, so take some time to think and do some market research to see which are the most popular in your area. For weddings, classic cars are always a popular choice – but make sure that you do your research before purchasing any second-hand vehicles. Similarly, a brand new limousine will never be short of people wanting to hire it – but be aware that purchasing one will represent a huge expense for your business.
Vehicle Finance (also known as Asset Finance)
Financing your vehicle(s) is a very important part of the business setup. If you are lucky enough to buy the vehicle(s) without having to arrange finance then that’s your best bet, however, do bear in mind that you may need some cash flow for marketing and various other costs.
Asset finance is usually a great way to buy the vehicles which gives the lender good security against the asset. If your credit history is good then you may be able to negotiate a great deal which allows you to put down a low deposit and spread the finance over 3 to 5 years. In some cases lenders will accept 10% deposit, this may vary depending on your credit history and the risk of the business.
Working out what to charge
One of the trickiest parts of establishing a new business is figuring out where to set your costs. And with a service like wedding car hire, it can be even more complicated. So how do you know how much to charge?
As with any big financial venture, you should have a business plan in place, and this will tell you how much you need to make in a given timeframe in order to recoup your start-up costs. And while there are lots of variables, the following is a rough guide to how much you can expect to charge.
For day-long packages, you should be looking at a price somewhere in the region of £200-500 per vehicle for wedding car hire. However, that cost can vary dependant on a number of factors, including:
- Day of the week – many suppliers will offer discounts for weekday weddings in order to fill up empty schedules
- Time of year – expect to charge a premium for summer weddings, while customers typically pay less for car hire during the winter months
- Length of hire – although day hire is the most popular choice, some customers will want a shorter package if available
Also, it’s important to remember that you’re not just charging customers to hire your vehicle. Unless you’re offering a self-drive service, you’ll also need to charge for the time that the chauffeur will spend on the job. So in order to formulate a fair quote, consider how much of their day will be dedicated to providing wedding services – and make sure that they’re compensated accordingly.
Finally, many wedding car hire companies offer optional extras, such as floral arrangements, Champagne, etc., for an additional fee. If you decide that you would like to provide these services, make sure that you fully research the costs and factor that into your pricing structure.
Once you’ve established how you’re going to charge for your services, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to collect the balance. Today, most services take a non-refundable deposit from customers, which they get to keep in the case of any last minute cancellations. Similarly, some will offer brides and grooms the opportunity to spread out costs using a payment plan. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to do it – but make sure you research each option thoroughly to establish which one is best for you.
Getting the word out
So you’ve set up your business, worked out your pricing structure and maybe even bagged a few wedding gigs. What happens next? To really launch yourself into success, you’ll need a good marketing campaign. Luckily, thanks to the internet, telling people about your new venture is much easier in the 21st century than it was in the past – although offline methods shouldn’t be totally overlooked. Here’s our pick of the best places to advertise your services.
A well optimised website (SEO)
A good website should be your first port of call. After all, it’s the first impression that the vast majority of people will get of your business. So make sure that you get a professional designer involved to ensure that everything looks sleek and professional, and consider hiring writing and SEO services to get all of the content up to scratch. What’s more, an SEO specialist can also help to boost your site in search engine rankings – important for standing out from the crowd.
Joining a booking agency / broker
At first, everyone thinks joining a broker or a booking agency sounds like a bad idea, in fact, these days it’s far better and cheaper than spending all that money on pay-per-click (Google Ads, etc). If any agency requires a subscription fee or cost per lead then we would not recommend this as it’s no different to pay-per-click marketing. Signup to an agency that guarantees bookings, or nothing to pay (a bit like no-win-no-fee).
Social media marketing
Another great place to promote your business is on social media. Create a Facebook page for your company and populate it with high quality, shareable content to build your online presence. Competitions also work well in this medium, and you can gain many likes and shares by offering a chance to win something in return. Also, wedding car hire services are perfect fodder for Instagram, so make sure you set up an account and get sharing beautiful pics of your vehicles taking a starring role in someone’s big day.
Local wedding shows
According to market research, millions of people visit wedding shows across the UK every year. And while online advertising has its place, nothing beats a face-to-face meeting in terms of securing a future booking. The National Wedding show is held in London, Birmingham and Manchester and attracts the most visitors – although if you’re not local to these areas, you’ll need to factor in that any new jobs might require a substantial drive. Alternatively, you can head to smaller shows that are closer to hand. And if you can’t afford the fee to bring your vehicle just yet, a display stand of photographs and business cards can also work surprisingly well.
One of the best ways to let people know about your business is to encourage clients to recommend you to their family and friends. And while you can’t make anyone leave a positive review, there are ways to encourage favourable comments on sites like Trustpilot. For example, focusing on the little details and providing lots of thoughtful extras is a great way to get customers to rave about your services. Moreover, you could even offer a discounted referral system to people who have booked with you before, again making it more likely they’ll recommend your company to people they know.
In this article, we’ve covered all the basics about setting up and promoting your wedding car hire business. Now, you should have everything you need to get started – so good luck with your endeavors!
Useful links for customers booking a wedding car
- Tips for stress-free travel on your wedding day
- FAQ’s about wedding car hire
- Tips for stress-free travel on your big day
- Top 5 modern wedding vehicles within a reasonable budget
- A guide to Rolls-Royce wedding car hire