Industry Research

Annual Operator Survey

Posted on May 1, 2003 by Eric Lassiter

Page 1 of 2

Gathering information on an industry as disseminated and rapidly changing as the limousine industry has never been an easy task.

Starting with the second year LCT was published - in 1984 it was still known as Limousine & Chauffeur - this magazine has been the only source that consistently conducts extensive surveys of the limousine industry and publishes its findings.

Through the years, we have questioned thousands of operators about many aspects of their businesses and worked to discern the trends that have shaped their fortunes.

1984

  • There were about 3,500 limousine operators in the United States and that they bought about 4,000 stretch limousines that year.
  • The average operator booked 5.2 trips per day and the average hourly rate was $31.79.
  • Operators rated driver morale and appearance as their top concern, followed by vehicle maintenance, limousine quality, competitive rates and the price of new limousines.

1985

  • Thirty-five percent of operators had been in business two years or less.
  • The average limousine rolled 36,388 miles a year, with the range going from an average of 3,000 miles in one pampered fleet to 150,000 miles in a particularly durable one.
  • Operators ranked the promptness, competence and professional appearance of chauffeurs as the most important factors in a successful limousine operation.

1986      

  • Nearly six out of 10 operators reported that they farmed out some of their business to other operators.
  • Women accounted for 8% of the nation’s Chauffeurs.
  • Nearly half of the operators surveyed required chauffeurs to wear uniforms, rather than business suits.

1987         

  • L&C estimated there were 5,000 operators in the United States.
  • Operators averaged 9.5 trips a week for each vehicle in their fleet.
  • The average hourly rate for a stretch limousine east of the Mississippi was $43.66, compared to $47.75 in the western states.

1988

  • The estimated number of limousine companies in the U.S. grew to 6,500, and the number of limousines exceeded 40,000.
  • The average hourly rate for stretch limousines hit $48.
  • It was estimated that operators would buy 7,000 stretch limousines that year.

1989

  • Seventy-nine percent of operators allowed clients to smoke in their cars.
  • The average company employed 5.4 full-time and 9.4 part-time chauffeurs.
  • The number of stretch limousines sold in the U.S. dropped to 5,800, its lowest level in five years.

1990   

  • Stretch limousine sales declined 21% from the prior year.
  • Three quarters of L&C readers had fewer than five vehicles in their fleet.
  • The average gross monthly income per car was $4,521.

1991               

  • The average hourly rate for stretch limousines inched downward from the previous year to $49.
  • The average monthly revenue per sedan ranged from $2,909 for operators with 10 cars or less to $6,967 for operators with 20 or more vehicles in their fleet.
  • The production of stretch limousines declined for the fifth straight year, with 2,400 new vehicles entering service.

1992

  • L&C estimated that $2.5 billion was spent on livery transportation and that the industry transported 128 million passengers.
  • The average hourly rate for stretch limousines was $48, its lowest point since 1988.
  • Operators working out of their homes comprised slightly more than half of the industry.

1993

  • Operators averaged 50,000 miles a year on each car in their fleets.
  • Operators with chauffeurs on the payroll enjoyed higher per-car revenues than those who used independent contractors.
  • The hourly rates of home-based operators tended to be somewhat lower than operators working out of an office.
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