FRESNO, Calif. – Just one day before New Year's Eve and the owners of Limo's by Multani in Fresno, only have two reservations on the books.
Rachel Singh-Multani says a year ago a custom Hummer limo with Lamborghini doors, disco floor and full bar would of easily rented for $200 an hour on New Year's Eve. This year the going rate is $145 an hour. "It's been really slow, that's why we are offering what we are to get them out," said Multani.
But, Economist Henry Nishimoto says, "It's only a good bargain if you have the money to hire a limo service."
Nishimoto says it shouldn't be a surprise that Limo bookings are down. "In a recession people's paychecks tend to shrink up quite a bit." He says when the economy sours, the first thing to go are luxury items, "the kind of things that are considered to be frills," said Nishimoto.
Deena Papagni, the president of Touch of Class Limousine Services says she is staying competitive by offering customers the same rates from 10 years ago and it's working.
"You just can't sit in your house just because we are in a recession," said Papagni.
"Everything looks fantastic," said Papagni, "our whole fleet is booked with the exception of one limousine and one corporate Sedan. But, other than that our bus is booked, our super-stretch SUVs are booked."
However, there's a much different story at Limo's by Multani, as of Tuesday night there was still plenty to choose from on New Year's Eve. "We are trying our best for the public, so they can still have a good time and not have to pay a high price," said Multani.
According to the National Limousine Association, bookings from individual customers are down this year between 40% and 50%.
Source: KMPH Fox 26