Operations

Running Swiss Limo Service Costs A Mint

Martin Romjue
Posted on July 7, 2013
Astro Limousine operator Ralph-Martin Truemmel offers an AWD fleet of luxury vehicles, with the Mercedes S-Class pictured here and the VW Phaeton V-12 as the leading rented vehicles.


Astro Limousine operator Ralph-Martin Truemmel offers an AWD fleet of luxury vehicles, with the Mercedes S-Class pictured here and the VW Phaeton V-12 as the leading rented vehicles.

Astro Limousine operator Ralph-Martin Truemmel offers an AWD fleet of luxury vehicles, with the Mercedes S-Class pictured here and the VW Phaeton V-12 as the leading rented vehicles.
Astro Limousine operator Ralph-Martin Truemmel offers an AWD fleet of luxury vehicles, with the Mercedes S-Class pictured here and the VW Phaeton V-12 as the leading rented vehicles.

ZURICH, Switzerland — Ralph-Martin Truemmel and the owners of Astro Limousine Service pull off a business feat that sounds intimidating: Running a profitable limousine service with a $200,000 Mercedes-Benz as the top vehicle amid one of the highest costs of living in the world. Yet Astro has been serving a chauffeured clientele for almost 30 years in all types of European and global economic cycles. Truemmel shared his insights recently about his challenges and successes managing a chauffeured vehicle service in Switzerland, a global financial capital.

• • • • •
What is unique about chauffeured services in your nation compared to the U.S.?
Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world, not only to live in but also on the part of the chauffeured transportation industry. On the quality of service, it’s about the same as in the U.S. There are premium class companies, second class providers and beyond.


Limo Service and Living Costs         

  • Mercedes S 500 L  (Astro Limousine: $195,000
  • standard, incl. mandatory blackbox)
  • Insurance for a Mercedes S 500 L (per year): $7,000
  • Hourly rate for mechanic (Mercedes / VW): $200
  • Road tax (per year): $1,400
  • Parking garage in the city center (per month): $650-$1350
  • Carwash: $22.50
  • Fuel per gallon (gas): $7.45
  • Average driver’s salary (per month): $5,500
  • Monthly rent 2 Bedroom flat (minimum): $1,600
  • Health insurance  (minimum per year): $4,500

• • • • •
What are key challenges of your service area/region?
As Zurich is the financial and banking capital of Switzerland, we are dealing with a big roadshow market. Switzerland acts as host for several international events like the “World Economic Forum,” “Basel World” (the world’s biggest jewelry and Watch fair), and the “Art Basel” (one of the most important art fairs/exhibitions in the world). That means huge logistical efforts for us and the chauffeur driven industry. Switzerland is surrounded by Germany, Italy, France, Austria and Lichtenstein. So we have to cope with providers from abroad, who offer illegal “bootlegged” service to clients in our country. Platforms such as Uber, BlackLane and MyDriver are trying to establish themselves. They do not play in the same quality league as we do, but are influencing prices.

• • • • •
What qualities do you look for in a U.S. affiliate?
It’s important that affiliates belong to their local and/or national association. Although it is easier to work with so called international providers, I prefer companies that run their own fleets in their area(s).

• • • • •
What specific rules or procedures do U.S. operators need to be aware of when affiliating in your nation?
Make sure your affiliate is a member of the “SLA — Swiss Limousine Association,” which engages its members to comply with all regulations according to Swiss law.

What are your top-rented chauffeured vehicles?
Our best sellers are the Mercedes S-Class long version AWD and VW Phaeton W12 long version AWD. We are also providing E-Class Mercedes and several luxury minivans.

• • • • •
What types of clients do you typically serve?
Since 1985 we are providing our high-end service to participants of the annual World Economic Forum. Also, a variety of international concerns have their headquarters in Switzerland. For many of them, we are responsible for all transportation needs during board meetings. We are also experienced in roadshow services, sightseeing tours and tourist transportation, especially to ski resorts.

• • • • •
How much has your company grown in revenue and fleet size?
We have had about the same number of vehicles for the last 20 years. We are comfortable with a fleet of 15 cars, and are  not planning to [add more].

• • • • •
What does your chauffeur training program involve?
Our chauffeurs speak at least three languages (German, English and one more). Theyhave to take mandatory refresher courses at least once every year. We also require two to three safe driving trainings for our employees. Our internal training is customized for every chauffeur.

FASTFACTS: Astro Limousine Service LTD

  • Location(s): Zurich and Geneva
  • Founded: 1985
  • Owners: Gerhard and Monika Trümmel
  • Main service regions: Zurich, St Moritz, Basel, Geneva, St. Gallen
  • Types of vehicles:  All AWD fleet of sedans, minivans, SUVs
  • Fleet size: 15 chauffeured vehicles and a variety of vintage cars
  • Employees: 6 full time; 20 long-term contractors
  • Annual revenues: N/A
  • Website: www.limousine.ch
  • Phone: +4144 802 802 0

Related Topics: European operators, Global operators, international, international business, Swiss operators

Martin Romjue Editor
Comments ( 2 )
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  • Joewiner

     | about 5 years ago

    Thanks for your great post. I am so pleased to read this post. It is very helpful for me. I love <a href="http://www.ferrazzilimo.com/">ct limousine service</a>

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