You think I could make money like this?

I was thinking of a business I could get in to after I retire. (Or maybe even before) I was thinking about getting me and another trusted investor to go in halves on a limo. Then hire a driver on commission to drive people around. For a fee of course! :wink:

FTR: I wouldn’t much care if I made a lot of money. I just figured it’d be a fun way to keep myself busy during my retirement years.

If you’ve only got one limo it probably wouldn’t be worth it unless you drive it yourself.

Based on the existence of limosine and livery services I would say it is possible to make some money doing that.

Out of curiosity, have you ever run a business? This sounds like the type of thing I often hear people say that really don’t know what they’re talking about.
Just for kicks, you should make some calls.
How much is a limo?
What are the operating expenses?
How much is the upkeep?
Are you going to keep booze in the back?
What kind of licenses do you need to keep the booze in back?
What kind of licenses will you need from the city to run a business?
What kind of insurance will you need to cover yourself in the event of an accident?
If you hire someone, will you need to get workers comp or can you hire them as a 1099 worker?
Can you do your own taxes or will you have to pay someone to do them?
Where will you store your limo?
How much will it cost to store it?
How much will it cost to clean it after a night out with a bunch of drunk teens puking in it?
How will you find business, advertising? How much will that cost?

It’s all these little nickel and dime things that people don’t think of before they jump in. I do catering and I’ll often times here people say to me, in complete honesty “Ya know, I’m thinking about getting into this business, it just seems like easy money.” :eek: Ummm, no. Without getting into it, I’ll usually just point out a few things. See that slicer that we just cut your cheese on…it’s $1800. That pot that we made your soup in…$85. That employee that just brought everything out to your car…I pay about 300-400 dollars per month, above and beyond her hourly wages in insurance and payroll taxes (just on her) for her to work here each month. So yeah, that $250 bill you just got might seem like a lot, but trust me when I tell you, the owner isn’t putting it in his pocket and taking it home with him.

Anyways, all I’m saying is that you should do your due diligence first. Maybe talk to some people in the business first and see what you can learn. Even someone tangentially related (an upholster, mechanic, bodyworker etc they’ll all have stories). So many people jump in with no idea and then get tossed out the other side with no money left over.

Thanks Joey P; excellent post!

Hell, after reading that, it appears I don’t even know what questions to ask. :confused:

Due diligence is indeed required.

Talk to anyone that’s owned or run a business for a while and they’ll be able to walk you through all this kind of stuff. It’s staggering how much crap you have to know and what you have to pay for.
Perfect example. Just sat down at my desk to check on this post. 3 envelopes were sitting here (that weren’t here 5 minutes ago).
State of Wisconsin Business Tax Renewal $10 (not even totally sure what that is, to be honest, but dammit, I have to pay it).
Plate renewal for one of our vehicles $75
USDA PACA license. This one is a racket. It’s $550 per year. It’s protection for people in the produce business. What it says is that as a produce vendor, if you buy produce from me on credit, until that produce is paid for I still own it. I can walk in and take it. If you go bankrupt, I get paid first. If you don’t go bankrupt and can’t pay me back, they’ll (the USDA) will stand up for me in court. On the other hand, as someone who sells produce, I don’t have a choice, I have to take their protection. I don’t have the choice of opting out.

Find a friend that runs/owns a business and take them out for a few drinks and start talking. You’ll be surprised. Then you can start to make an informed decision. Also, call some limo companies and find out what they charge. Find out what it would cost to procure a limo, start running some numbers and decide if this would be viable. Maybe it will be, maybe it won’t be.
Something else, look for a book called The E-myth Revisited. What it boils down to (in this case) is, do you want to run a business or drive a limo. You can’t do both. If you want to run a business, it doesn’t matter what it is, find a viable one and go for it. If you want to drive a limo, go work for a limo company.

Providing limo service is not a new idea, so in most areas with enough demand to support such services they already exist. This is another way of saying that you’ll be in competition with other limo services. You’ll succeed if you are better than they are - if you can provide the service more efficiently, or get customers to pay you more, or attract customers they can’t.

Otherwise, you’ll fail (aka lose money).

Funny thing. I mentioned this without actually opening this envelope. This fee hasn’t changed in 15 years. It just went up from $550 per year to $995 per year.

Limo businesses are often owned/run by guys that can really “hustle”, both figuratively and literally. It’s practically a sub-culture. There are numerous in/outs. You really have to know the inner workings (so to speak) of any particular area, and understand licenses, registering as livery/taxi, and then carry insurance to cover all those passengers it could carry and the vehicle itself. That is barely a start (see Joey P comments).


I know two people who can start and run a small business.

My Mom- Owned and operated a state licensed children’s day care center for 15 years. She’s now retired and lives in Florida. She started up a new small business driving old people who have lost their licenses. She also sells at flea markets. One neighbor died. Their heir said ‘There is a bunch of stuff I do not want. You can take it’. Mom sold the bunch of stuff to an antique dealer for $300.

Nick- Nick has owned a housecleaning business for years. He has had many employees. When he was thinking about buying a restaurant franchise. I asked him some questions. He impressed me with prepared answers and actual graphs. He had the franchise for a year or so and sold it for profit.

My friend Jeremy, may know what he’s doing starting up a gaming geek shop. I haven’t bothered to ask him a bunch of questions yet.

If any one else comes to me with a business proposal, I recommend that they run it by Mom or Nick.

Some things I don’t think Joey P mentioned-

Most businesses don’t turn a profit for a year or so. You need capital to sustain the business (and pay your mortgage and buy food and stuff) for a year.

As the boss, expect to work harder, longer and for less money than everybody else for quite a while.

My ex “operated” a “catering business” which was really just using his connections to order food for business clients (corporate lunches and shit) from people he met while he was in culinary school. Typically he ordered food over the phone from a place like Panera or Jamba Juice and added a surcharge per head which was his fee (why people can’t do this themselves for cheaper, I have NO freaking idea). I guess you’d call it party-planning. I think it’s a truly unnecessary “business” but it seemed to cater to middle-manager type businesspeople who were helpless when it came to ordering lunch.

He made enough money to fund a significant weed habit and pay rent for a couple years, though. If he’d marketed himself more instead of relying on his connections (which eventually weakened and became less numerous, as they are wont to do ) it probably would have lasted longer. So it’s definitely possible to make money without a lot of “effort.” But it depends on who you know.

This was pretty much the point I was going to make. You’ll need something to set you apart from your competitors. For instance.

Stretch Hummer

or Stretch Lanbhorghini (replicar)

Sure, your initial startup is higher, but so are your potential profits. It will all depend on where you’re planning on working and how much business you can get. Proms and the occasional wedding won’t support high end vehicles, but with a big enough potential client pool, the sky’s the limit.