Operations

How to Make Money With Your Limo Bus

LCT Staff
Posted on June 1, 2002

John Lenhard, owner of Sterling Limousine in Miami, has one Monarch limo bus and markets it as the ?Limo Lounge,? although he admits the vehicle isn?t limited to the traditional idea of a party bus or lounge. ?One of the things I like about this vehicle is that it?s so unique ? it?s a marketing tool in and of itself,? Lenhard says. ?In other words, when I take it to a bridal show, everybody else has a limousine and SUV. When I show up with this vehicle, it draws attention and automatically markets my company. Because even if they decide they can?t afford this particular vehicle, or it?s not what they were looking for at that time, it ?brands? our name in their head, the idea that, ?Wow, this company has it all!??

Lenhard takes the Limo Lounge to every show and convention he attends, such as bridal shows, as well as looking for new markets. ?I?m always looking to find new niche markets, such as NASCAR,? he says. ?Here in South Florida we always have a lot of weddings and different large events taking place.?

Lenhard markets his Limo Lounge by including a steward or stewardess on board the vehicle with every booking. ?So not only do you have a chauffeur, you have somebody who actually attends to the needs of your guests on board,? he says. ?They feel like they?re getting the full treatment, that there?s a full service involved with renting this vehicle. Somebody is always there to serve a drink, an appetizer ? even fluff the pillows. There is always somebody taking care of their needs. When they get off the bus and get back on again, it looks like the first time they got on it ? everything is tidy. This is just the way we do it.?

Monarch had already been successful in the recreational vehicle arena ? more than 10,000 vehicles produced and approximately $1 billion in revenue? so manufacturing a limo bus seemed a logical transition. ?It?s not really our core business to do this type of product; however, it does lend itself to our expertise with motorhomes,? says Mike Duncan, director of corporate communications for Monaco. ?We perceived a need in the market, and it was something we knew we could do well. Demand has picked up in the industry, and the Monaco Socialite has turned out to be a pretty successful product. We took the first one we produced out on the town with a professional driver, and we couldn?t have had a better time. We thought, ?If we?re having this good a time, other people will, too!??

Luxurious interior features include solid walnut cabinetry, Corian countertops and full-leather interior, which comes standard. There are twin entertainment systems, a full lavatory, and all the leather sofas open up into sleeper sofas. ?It can also be written off as a second home,? says Scott Reid, president of Limo Store, Inc., in Huntington Beach, Calif. ?Financing can go up to 20 years.?

?It?s a great way to make money,? Lenhard says. ?It?s so versatile that you can attract large or small groups, whether a long haul for transportation or just sitting stationary. We?ve actually had people contact us when they?re going to set up a sales site and don?t want to put the normal trailer up ? they want to have something special sitting out front.?

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