Finance is the way forward for chauffeurs
Aug17

Finance is the way forward for chauffeurs

Justin Robertson talks to Mark Burgess from Broad Oak Asset Finance regarding the various finance options available for the transport industry… Burgess explained that the options are wide and can seem at first seem very complex. However, it is vital that the limousine industry takes the time to understand all the options and make the right decision for their businesses. The most common form of finance is straight forward hire purchase — with fixed capital and interest payments over a pre-set period. In some case hire purchase is the most appropriate funding option, however other finance schemes can be more cost effective in certain circumstances. For example, if the transport operator regularly changes his vehicle fleet and therefore settles the agreement before the end of the contract term, with hire purchase there is likely to be interest penalties to pay. In this case, a balance payment scheme may be preferable, where interest is calculated daily and therefore early settlement of the loan does not attract early settlement penalties. Also, in some cases rather than making equal capital and interest payments throughout the loan, it may make sense to offset an element of capital to the end of the loan. This has the effect of reducing the monthly payments so improving cash flow throughout the term of the loan — and the balloon is payment is set so that the value of the vehicle comfortably covers the element of capital remaining at the end of the agreement. Also, transport companies should give consideration to finance lease as oppose to hire purchase. Normally with a lease agreement the entire payment can be off set against taxable income (as oppose to HP where just the interest element of the payment can normally be offset against taxable income). Burgess explained that at Broad Oak, a series of questions are asked in order to gain an understanding of each individual transport business. Only by understanding elements such as the monthly vehicle budget, the VAT position and the frequency with which the vehicles are changed can the best advice be given. The decision regarding finance is vitally important and picking the wrong option can be costly. The most obvious consideration is obtaining the lowest interest rate. However, it is also vital to consider all the various finance options in order to find the right finance deal for the individual...

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Rolls-Royce Phantom is limited in black
Aug16

Rolls-Royce Phantom is limited in black

Rolls-Royce has hand built 25 bespoke cars called Phantom Black which are aimed at demonstrating the best in Rolls-Royce design, engineering, craftsmanship and emphasise the Phantom’s impressive performance and dynamic character — and the bad news is that they are all sold! High lustre metallic Diamond Black paint is used on the body, complemented by twin silver coach lines. 21-inch alloy wheels come fitted with high performance Goodyear run flat tyres and feature unique black detailing and centre caps with RR badges, engineered to stay upright even at speed. At the rear of the Phantom Black, visible tail pipes hint at the car’s performance. Under the bonnet the 6.75 litre V12 engine has been treated to gloss black inlet manifolds, chrome plated top covers and new black Rolls-Royce badges. The near silent motor provides 453bhp, enough to propel the Phantom Black from 0-60mph in just 5.7 seconds and on to a limited top speed of 149mph. Inside, soft black leather upholstery is edged with Seashell piping, black ash wood veneers are used throughout and while dark in finish, still allow the natural grain to show through. The dashboard is finished in special black metal foil with a finely embossed diamond pattern and a slightly thicker rimmed steering wheel adds to the dynamic spirit of the Phantom Black. Graeme Grieve, Sales and Marketing Director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said, “Phantom Black uses a number of new bespoke finishes and materials to create a contemporary car that blends aesthetics and engineering, emphasising the dynamic character of the car.” All 25 of the limited run of Phantom Black cars have already been allocated to customers around the world. The Phantom Black specification was created through the Bespoke programme at Goodwood. Bespoke allows Rolls-Royce customers to individually specify their car precisely to their own...

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Chauffeur industry showing true colours in first survey.
Aug16

Chauffeur industry showing true colours in first survey.

Some interesting results have been revealed following the recent launch of the first survey into the chauffeuring and limousine industry. The survey which was first given out at the Royal Ascot event has been distributed to thousands of chauffeurs and limousine operators and the result have certainly raised a few eyebrows. Questions such as the way you operate, the vehicles you use and other topics like insurance, cleaning and views on the industry are all covered in the biggest survey of its kind ever conducted. However, there are some results that were expected such as the most popular vehicles both in the executive area and the limousine business. So far the Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the most used executive car and the Lincoln Town Car limousine also comes out on top. Most of the results will not be published until the end of the survey period which is expected to be around the middle of 2007, but some of the obvious facts such as 94% of the industry is male dominated and 79% of those surveyed are company owner/drivers. Other interesting facts have been discovered, such as a very small percentage of the industry use computerized booking systems for their business and less than 10% of clients use a website to book their journeys — even though a massive amount of companies are geared up to take them through their websites. The survey is a great opportunity to air your views and opinions about the industry as all of them will be compiled at the end of the survey period and published in the magazine which is read by all the appropriate authorities. Managing Director of Today Publishing Limited which runs The Chauffeur magazine, Paul Gibson commented; “It is amazing and I thank all those who have taken some time out of their busy schedules to complete the survey and help compile the industries biggest record of exactly what the business is all about”. H e added, “The magazine has invested a lot of time and money into developing this survey and I would like to also thank all the sponsors who have helped to make this happen. It proves that these companies like the magazine are dedicated to sorting out the problems the industry has and give those involved with it the opportunity to air them.” Every completed survey will be in with the chance to win an excellent Clarion 360 GPS unit worth...

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New TucTuc service could put passengers at risk
Aug16

New TucTuc service could put passengers at risk

A taxi service, said the be the first of its kind in the UK is starting in Brighton using Asian tuc-tucs — three-wheeled vehicles. The vehicles are environmentally friendly, running on compressed natural gas with super-low emissions, however, Taxiwise would like to see a minimum safety standard set. A new tuc-tuc service introduced in Brighton and due to be rolled out in cities across the UK could be putting passengers at risk. That’s the view of Taxiwise, the nationwide campaign for the safer use of taxis, after the service was launched last month. Twelve of the novelty vehicles, popular in India, are now available to carry passengers around the city and are touted as being fun for passengers and good for the environment. However Taxiwise, which wants to see minimum standards set for the type and safety of any vehicle used as a taxi, argues that the vehicles offer practically no protection in the event of an accident and represent a backwards step in the standard of vehicle available for passengers. “It is of particular note that one of the main safety features on the imported vehicles highlighted at the launch was the inclusion of driver and passenger seatbelts,” said Celeste Clarke, spokesperson for Taxiwise. “Seatbelts have been a legal requirement for more than 20 years. Every vehicle has to have them. If that is being highlighted as a main safety point, maybe questions should be asked about the appropriateness of these vehicles for English roads. “They offer little or no protection in the event of an accident, so passengers could be at risk of serious injury, and they are not accessible to wheelchair users. “I would also like to know if drivers have to go through the same standard police checks that ordinary taxi drivers do. “The introduction of these vehicles to our streets is a step backwards in terms of the quality of vehicle that passengers can use. We would like to see any vehicle licensed to carry passengers meeting a strict set of safety an accessibility standards, along the same lines as the black cabs do in London.” Dominic Ponniah from TucTuc Limited commented; “The vehicles, as required by the terms of our license, have all been modified to comply with UK safety requirements. These modifications include the addition of side impact protection, roll-bars and seatbelts.” He added, “We have taken every precaution to ensure the safety of our passengers and drivers whilst in the vehicles. Further to this each of our drivers have undergone extensive training in the vehicles prior to taking to the road.” The company says that various improvements have been made to...

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Doctor Limo answers your questions.
Aug15

Doctor Limo answers your questions.

Doctor Limo has now opened the surgery for all your problems, but please try and keep them limousine orientated! I own a Lincoln Town Car stretch limousine on a V-Plate. The car runs fine but I find it hard to change the gears as the gear lever is a bit stiff. Would you know the areas that might need lubrication to resolve this problem? Please help! All of the Lincoln Town Cars of this era use a similar design of shift cable, that runs from a lever at the base of the steering column to the neutral safety switch at the side of the transmission case, passing through a couple of brackets & guides along the way. Since very little of the cable is actually exposed to the elements, it seems unlikely that lubrication is the culprit. If you do want to lubricate it, you will need to force oil/grease between the inner & outer parts. There used to be pressure devices to do this, but to be honest I haven’t seen one for a long time. The problem you are describing is quite possibly due to a totally different reason though. It is very common for the engine grounding to fail and as a result, the shift cable is a nice an easy path for the electrical system to take. This often results in the cable becoming sticky or even solid. If this is the case, it will need to be replaced and the failure of the earth strap investigated and repaired. We have a problem with our 120 Lincoln Town car 1998 model. The problem has come totally out of the blue. The vehicle will overheat mainly when laden with passengers and going up hill. The temperature gauge shoots up to hot and drops straight away when you switch the heater on to full heat, so in affect you can play with it a little. We have had a new temperature sender, thermostat, electric fan, radiator cap and the engine management checked. The gearbox has been checked but still no one can shed any light to the matter. Please help! The answer lies in the fact that the problem is at least (partially) curable by operating the heater. The heater incorporates a small radiator (heater core) into the system, so when the controls are set to full heat, the engine coolant passes through this additional radiator which allows more heat to be removed from it. Therefore, the most likely cause is a partially blocked or in some other way defective radiator. Although you didn’t mention it, it’s quite feasible that the radiator could have been repaired or...

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A helping hand for new limo businesses
Aug12

A helping hand for new limo businesses

So you’re thinking of starting a limousine company? So many people start out with the impression that all you need to do is buy a limousine, park it on your drive and the neighbours will knock and make you an instant millionaire. If only that was true! In reality, you have more chance of the neighbours resenting your new venture than hiring your limo. Finance is often secured on the vehicle so unlike most new start-up businesses where you would have to prepare an in depth business plan and present it to your bank manager, finance on a limo is very easy to get. You purchase the car and then you’re on your own! Limo Trade Limited based in Coventry has developed a unique program aimed at giving new limo operators a much needed helping hand if they decide to go into business. The company has aimed to cover all the points which are normally overlooked by new businesses and to avoid trouble at a later stage. Dave Packwood from Limo Trade commented; “As this industry grows, it is extremely important that the new operators deal with the correct and experienced dealers within the limousine sales network.” He added, “We see it so many times, when operators just go out and find a limousine which suits their budget and hire it out. Then, as they become successful they find they haven’t put any thought into all the other aspects of the business like promotions and licensing etc.” The company has secured fifteen top quality 2003 new shape Lincoln Town Cars as featured on the front page of the Limo Fever calendar. All the vehicles have SVA certificates and are being offered with one year free insurance, a free website for 12 months and £100 of free pay-per-click advertising. The package doesn’t stop there as Limo Trade is also including business stationery, a wedding package including ‘roll out red carpet’, Free Garmin satellite navigation system and a free warranty. All this is being offered to new businesses for £29,995. Dave commented; “We also have similar packages available for purchasing brand new limos including Chrysler 300s and Hummer H3s. Our finance is very flexible and for those who are VAT registered we can even defer the VAT for three months in order for you to claim it back before you’ve even paid it. Rates from 3.85%, No deposit and nothing to pay for a whole year are just some of the schemes we can offer at the...

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