The True Cost Of Limousine Service

Taking a limo from the airport to your destination can be a fun, luxurious and often affordable way to get around, whether you're on vacation with the family or on a business trip. In fact, limo service can cost about the same as a taxi from LAX, depending on your destination in Southern California.

But what you may not know about limos is just what goes into getting you from point A to point B. What does it take to purchase, drive and maintain a luxury limousine?

Buying a Limo

You can't just walk up to your local car lot and ask to see a limousine. Limos are special ordered from manufacturers and a select few dealerships. You can expect to spend anywhere from $75,000 for a basic model to $220,000 for a specialty model from a high-end manufacturer. Regular limos can hold anywhere from eight to 14 passengers, and custom limos can be built to hold more people if necessary.

Operating Costs

The price of gasoline has been fluctuating quite a bit throughout the U.S., but you can estimate that you'll be spending about $3/gallon. The gas mileage for a limo ranges greatly depending on model or whether the driving is in the city (typical) or highway. Estimate no more than 10 miles per gallon for an average limo.

And because the limo gets such poor gas mileage, you'll likely need to pay the "gas guzzler" tax.

Don't forget maintenance. The cost of new parts for the limos may not be much more than the regular models that manufacturers make, but some pieces will be much more. Limos are also on the road almost constantly, so they go a lot more miles in less time than typical vehicles.


You'll need to hire a driver, and that person must have a clean driving record. Some states also require that a limousine driver holds a commercial driver's license (CDL); in those states you'll likely pay more per hour. Call your local Department of Motor Vehicles for the laws in your area.

The average salary for a limo driver in the U.S. is $11.63 per hour. You'll also have to pay taxes and any benefits for your drivers, which can double or triple the hourly rate. If your drivers work more than 40 hours per week, you may also need to pay overtime wages.

Someone will have to act as a dispatcher to take calls and rent out cars, and you'll also need a person to clean the vehicles when they are not in use.

Office Space and Parking

You'll have to have some sort of office for your dispatcher to work from and a place to park the limos. On a budget, you can do this out of your home, but if you rent an office with all you need, including phone and internet service, and secure parking, you can be looking at another $1,000+ per month.


You'll need to tell people about your business. Costs can include online resources, including a website and digital ads, as well as print ads in many travel-related and upscale publications.

So, a short limo ride can require literally thousands of dollars of investment and ongoing expenses. Now you know what goes into your luxury ride from LAX!