Learn from the UK’s top professionals
‘Premier Carriage’ established 1996
Are you passionate about weddings and cars? Do you dream of starting your own business? If so, a wedding car hire business could be the perfect venture for you. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the necessary steps to set up and run a successful wedding car hire company. From understanding the regulations and equipment required to pricing your services and marketing your business effectively, we'll help with all you need to know.
When starting a wedding car hire business, you’ll need to ensure compliance with UK Regulations and Law and have all the necessary equipment for the job. Here are the key considerations:
As a professional wedding car hire company you’ll need to have insurance specifically that covers wedding hire. This type of insurance provides cover for the driver and fare paying passengers and includes factors specific to driving cars for wedding hire, if the vehicle is only used for weddings then occasional use and low mileage may be appropriate to be factored in to the policy. The cost of insurance will depend on the type of vehicle and location of it’s base. Some insurers may be able to add a wedding hire “bolt-on” to your current vehicle insurance, but be very specific when enquiring as there are two types of vehicle hire insurance, Wedding Hire and Private Hire. The one you’ll need is wedding hire insurance which covers you for weddings, some companies will also cover you for use as a passenger funeral vehicle in the same cost. These policies should include public liability insurance which is a definite must have.
The other type of insurance is for “Private Hire” which is for hire cars offering additional services such as Airport Transfers, Proms, Birthdays, Hen/Stag nights etc..In other words a taxi type service for any other use and not just restricted to Weddings. Some insurers will offer a yearly fee while others will offer an on the day fee where you can call them in advance of the wedding and they will charge you a small fee to cover “just that day”. It’s always a good option when starting in the car hire business to dip you feet in the water to see if the vehicle hire life is for you. Also if you have a vehicle that you only wish to hire out on limited occasions this ‘bolt on’ insurance facility may also benefit you.
Most vehicle owners will drive their own vehicles but if you have more than one vehicle you may choose to source some chauffeur/s. Ensure that your drivers meet the requirements, such as holding a full UK driving license and having previous driving experience. It’s always a good idea to have a “back-up” driver in case you fall ill or become un-available to drive your own vehicle. Remember this is a very special day for your client and they want it to go according to plan.
When choosing cars for your wedding car business consider factors such as the type of cars in demand, geographical location, and wedding colour trends. Gone are the days when it was just cars like Rolls-Royce and Bentley that were the popular traditional choices, nowadays it seems that anything goes ‘within reason’ so you can also offer niche vehicles like VW Campervans or Eco-friendly cars. Couples don’t always look at the more traditional White or Ivory vehicles either, some more iconic vehicles like a red Ford Mustang, a black classic Wolseley Police Car or even a Pink classic American Car can attract todays modern happy couples.
You will need to consider a few additional purchases prior to your first wedding. Most are a “one-off” cost.
1. An arrangement of silk flowers for the rear parcel shelf. The best arrangements are White and Ivory with green foliage which are a neutral colour to fit in with any bridal colour scheme. Do not use fresh flowers, they are costly and will wilt under the sun and pollen can stain your vehicle’s upholstery and some couples may be allergic to pollen.
2. Ribbons (and/or Bows). These can be purchased online. The most popular colours are White and Ivory. You can read more on Wedding Car Decoration in this very helpful article.
3. At the very minimum a dark or grey plain suit, with white shirt and a smart tie with black polished shoes. If you really want to look professional then a matching colour chauffeur’s hat and black gloves look superb and will add to your client’s memories.
4. Umbrellas – As we all know the British weather can be very unpredictable so a couple of large golf size White or Ivory umbrellas to protect the happy couple from the rain is a must. Never use a black umbrella at a wedding or an umbrella with advertising on unless it advertises the cars make, or your company name.
Reliability and punctuality are the most essential attributes when doing this job. The last thing you want is to gain a reputation for ruining the happy couple’s big day. It is after all the most important day of their lives. No two weddings are the same, but below we have listed the most common type of hire.
Most wedding hires will take about 3 hours. You will take the Bride and Father to the Ceremony, wait while the ceremony takes place and then after photographs continue on to the reception venue with the Happy Couple, you should expect some more photos to be taken on arrival at the reception. If the distance from the collection address to the ceremony is close by then it’s possible you may be asked to do two runs before the ceremony starts. One for the Bridesmaids and Bride’s Mother and then return to the collection address to collect the Bride and Father.
Some hires will only last a couple of hours as some couples choose to have the Ceremony and Reception at the same place. In these cases, you may be asked to do one or two journeys before the ceremony starts then wait until the ceremony finishes for wedding photos with the vehicle. Some couples may also ask for a 10-15 minute short ride after the ceremony to enjoy the vehicle and take some time to enjoy a little private time to themselves before returning to the reception and their guests.
Other types of weddings, for example Asian Weddings may require your vehicle for between anything from 8 to 12 hours. This will depend on the culture of the happy couple as they may have different rituals and/or specific journeys to take place with longer gaps in between their trips.
For your own sanity and peace of mind, only ever book the one wedding a day. Sometimes couples need to change their ceremony start time, so it gives you and them the flexibility to change the hire start time. Also, weddings can easily overrun, some photographers can take absolute ages doing their craft. If you have another wedding booked and delays occur you have the possibility of upsetting two sets of happy couples. Not good.
Check the route prior to the day, either by a dummy run a few days before or by using the satellite on Google maps. Be prepared as any road works or diversion may cause you to take a different route, will you know which unplanned route to take. Your satellite navigation may fail then what happens! NEVER, ever ask the passengers for directions, they may not be from the area. It is your responsibility to know where you‘re going, they have paid you for this. Check which side of the road the church is on and suggest the Bride sits in the appropriate seat so when she arrives she is automatically on the curb side. You do not want the Bride to exit the car into the middle of a busy road outside the church. That’s a no,no.
Check local events on the day. Football or Rugby Matches on Saturday afternoon can create extra traffic, or other major events in town which could create some road closures causing a delay to the wedding.
Always arrive at the Collection Address at little bit earlier than advised. This will reduce the couple’s nerves knowing that you are outside. Also, if you are running late due to unplanned events en-route you have that extra time to call upon to avoid being late.
Convertible Vehicles – Unless specified by the couple always arrive at the collection address with the roof up as you do not want the Bride’s hair to be windswept while driving to the ceremony. In most cases, the couple will ask for the roof to go down on the way to the reception for photo purposes. Understandably, some older vehicles will require some time to manually open and tuck the roof down. Whereas modern vehicles are electrically operated and usually open on the button. Ask them before they enter the church so the hood can be reconfigured during the service.
We hope this situation does not occur, however vehicles as we all know can break down or need unscheduled repairs despite all the care lavished upon them. If your car develops a problem before the wedding day it’s important to let the couple know straight away so they may start looking at alternatives. You may know a couple of local suppliers that may be able to come to your rescue but for extra peace of mind we recommend working with Premier Carriage Wedding Cars. With access to well over 750 vehicles, we will have no problem in finding alternative transport for your clients and avoid any upset. Do speak to Premier Carriage when launching your wedding car hire business, you will soon realise we will become a great ally for you and will certainly fill your booking diary.
Determining the costs and pricing structure for your wedding car hire business is crucial. It also depends on your objectives and how busy you want to get. Do you want your vehicles out all the time or just once or twice a month? Here is what you need to consider:
Wedding car hire is a seasonal business, with peak demand during summer and spring. Be prepared for low season demand during winter months. Some vehicles might not be suitable for winter months, and you may opt to keep your vehicle/s off the road during that time or reduce your fleet of available vehicles to save on cost and insurance.
To charge competitively, conduct market research to understand the demand in your area. Factors to consider when setting prices include geographical location, car expenses (insurance and maintenance), driving time, length of hire, mileage and/or the number of trips or stops required, type of car, time of year, and day of the week.
If you are looking to buy a Vehicle for Wedding use, do call Premier Carriage Wedding Cars. With many years of experience [since 1996] in the wedding car hire industry and well over 750 vehicles we can help you understand the market and the wedding trends. We will be only too happy to talk to you about your future business and recommend the best and most popular cars for hire.
You may want to consider a few additional ad hoc items to keep in the car during the hire:
Small Bottles of Chilled Mineral Water – Your clients will be so grateful especially after a long service at the church on a hot day.
Small Packs of Tissues - To wipe away those happy tears.
A Mini Sewing Kit or some safety pins in case the buttons or zip on the Bride’s dress needs a helping hand.
Packets of Mints – For chauffeur and clients
You will need to arm yourself with a good set of Terms and Conditions, this is paramount. Also called “Terms of Hire” they will not only protect you, the car supplier, but the couple hiring your services. Keep in touch with the latest regulations so you can update your Terms with the latest UK laws.
To attract customers and promote your wedding car hire business effectively you can employ various marketing strategies. Here are some effective methods:
We’ve compared Five of the Top Wedding Booking Agents on the internet. By far, Premier Carriage Wedding Cars seemed the most helpful and best value for money with the policy of “No Bookings, No Fees”. Premier Carriage offers a personalised approach and Fully Managed services. We would never just take a Fee then pass everything on to you the supplier to deal with and sort. We will secure your booking, send booking confirmations, produce detailed itineraries, collect payments, liaise with clients with amendments to ensure everything runs smoothly on the day, chase balances on your behalf and much more. Since 1996 we have learnt that experience and effective communication matters, so we work very closely with the suppliers listed on our website to maximise their bookings. With a vast amount of experience since 1996 we have many contacts from wedding planners to wedding venues and plenty of ‘Word-of-Mouth’ for you to benefit from. The nobility and famous celebrities have all used Premier Carriage for their very special day, they certainly know professionalism and experience counts in today’s market and we’re very grateful they continue to use our services.
On the down side and sadly there always is, be wary of your choices, you may find some wedding agents use an instant quoting system promising the client the earth in an instant to secure a booking. Once secured the vehicle supplier is then left to deal with the fallout as pre-bookings and unavailability are not always considered when auto quoting so deposits have been taken but subsequently the vehicle is found not to be available. In our view a very unprofessional approach to promise and confirm, then disappoint.
Utilise social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to showcase your cars and reach potential customers. Create a business account on Pinterest and curate boards with images of your wedding cars. Engage with couples during their wedding planning process and share valuable content related to weddings and transportation. An effective approach although very time consuming.
A well-designed website is good for any business. Hire a professional web designer to create a visually appealing and user-friendly website. Provide detailed information about your services, pricing, and contact information. Websites can be very costly but essential if you are going to do all your bookings and marketing yourself. Otherwise use the services of an experienced agent and ‘Premier Carriage’ is probably the best there is.
Although once a very popular way of gaining bookings, these days attending local and national wedding shows and trade events to showcase your cars and meet potential customers face-to-face are not the most effective ways to achieve bookings. These days couples like to browse at wedding fayres to gather wedding ideas and take time to make their decision when going to these various shows. When a decision is made it’s likely they will go online and search for what they are looking for.
Deliver exceptional service to your customers and encourage them to recommend your business to their friends and family. Display customer testimonials and positive reviews on your website and/or social media platforms.
Starting a Wedding Car Business can be very daunting but remember you can get everything sorted professionally by speaking to us at ‘Premier Carriage’. We will provide you with the bookings, a robust set of Terms of Hire built over many years to cover any aspects of your chauffeur driven wedding car venture.
By following this guide and implementing effective marketing strategies, you can establish and grow a successful wedding car hire business. Remember to prioritise reliability, punctuality, and exceptional service to ensure a positive experience for your customers.
Try to go that extra mile! Just do a good job, enjoy it and you will be successful.
Good luck on your entrepreneurial journey!