Broker vs. Owner Operated Limo Companies

If you’ve ever rented a limo before, then you probably know quite a bit about the benefits and drawbacks of working with owner-operated, limousine companies. These entities often maintain expansive fleets of high-end vehicles. They also offer their clients a vast range of amenities including wet bars, VIP and privacy booths, limousine buses, flat screen televisions, and more. Shopping your options in limousine companies with the help of a limo broker might seem like the best way to find the service features and terms you need. You should know, however, that while there are certain advantages in opting to book these services via a limo broker, these advantages tend to be few and far between. Following is everything you need to know about the difference between renting from a limo broker and an owner-operated, limousine company.colorado limo rentals owner operated

Navigating Your Options In Service Providers

The top reason for seeking the services of a limousine broker is simply getting help in navigating the often overwhelming options in local service providers. After all, there’s a lot to consider when choosing and hiring limousine services. You have to watch out for hidden fees and scammers. You also have to make sure that you’ll be getting the right vehicle type, and at an appropriate rate. Failing to do your due diligence when screening these companies can result in a lot of financial loss. It can also have a significant impact on any major event that you’re planning, whether this is a wedding, a prom, a loved one’s funeral, a big party, or a corporate affair. According to the average limo broker, these are details that can be taken care of on your behalf, and for a decidedly nominal fee.

Why Working With A Broker Isn’t Always Worthwhile

One of the first things to note about working with a limo broker is that it often adds up to a lot of extra costs for work that you can easily do on your own. The web has made it easier than ever before for consumers to thoroughly vet limousine companies before hiring them. You can use various online platforms to research company histories, read reviews from other, local consumers, check licensing and insurance information, and look for evidence of major complaints or legal issues. Best of all, these are efforts that you can often complete within mere minutes, whether from your home or office computer, or your mobile phone. As such, the often inflated rates that the average limousine broker charges simply aren’t worthwhile.

Much Ado About Nothing

You additionally have to account for the fact that just as there are scammers within the actual limo industry, limousine brokers aren’t always guaranteed to be ethical themselves. Moreover, limousine companies have a much greater, vested interest in offering their clients top-tier services and competitive pricing. They know that consumers are watching their reputations carefully. Moreover, they also understand that the decisions they’re making right now are going to affect their overall profitability long into the future. Conversely, a limo broker is far less affected by unsavory customer experiences even when consumers have used the very service providers that their brokers have referred them to.

A Limo Broker Doesn’t Actually Have Any Limousines

The most important thing to note about hiring a limo broker is that this professional doesn’t actually have any limousines to offer. This is just someone with a website, newspaper ad, or some other marketing medium who’s looking to collect profits without doing any considerable amount of work. Given that brokers do not work directly within the limousine industry, they’re also far less likely to truly understand the seasonal and other nuances within this field.

Service Standards

In most areas, limousine companies are legally required to adhere to a very strict set of industry standards. These are in place to protect consumers and to ensure satisfactory and worthwhile customer experiences. Unfortunately, a limousine broker is not required to adhere to these same standards in areas in which they exist. Limousine brokering is still a largely unregulated practice and thus, you never know which type and level of service you’re going to get, and whether or not you’ll have any acceptable form of recourse after running into problems with these professionals. This means that it’s always preferable to do your limousine shopping yourself. This will allow you to avoid unnecessary, third-party fees. It will also give you access to a much more expansive range of limo options, given that you can consider all limousine companies in your area, whereas the typical limo broker only works with a very small number of local companies.

Politics and Lawsuits

The Voting Rights Act was enacted to make “the promise of the right to vote under the 15 Amendment of the U.S. Constitution a reality, ninety-five years after [its] passage”. Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, sixteen states are required to submit any redistricting plans to the U.S. Department of Justice for preclearance. Preclearance is defined as the process of seeking U.S. Department of Justice approval for all changes related to voting. Section 5 of the Act requires that the United States Department of Justice or a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for District of Columbia “preclear” any attempt to change “any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting…” in any “covered jurisdiction”.

In other words, the Act requires that areas with a history of voting discrimination and low turnout submit and receive approval for any voting change, including redistricting, before implementing the change. This process was designed to reduce discrimination, to increase voter turnout, and to ensure that each and every citizen has equal power to elect their preferred representatives. Accordingly, the Act banned for five years the use of discriminatory literacy tests and similar devices for determining eligibility to vote, or to register to vote, in those areas of the country (all in the South) identified by a special coverage formula contained in Section 4 of the act. Congress converted this into a nationwide, temporary ban in 1970, and enacted a permanent nationwide ban in 1975.

States whose redistricting plans require preclearance are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan,  Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia, but not Colorado car accident laws as expected. States that want to obtain preclearance must demonstrate that a proposed voting change does not have the purpose or effect of discriminating against an ethnic or “language minority group”, which includes African Americans and “persons who are American Indian, Asian American, Alaskan Natives, or of Spanish heritage”. The image below from the Department of Justice shows the states under jurisdiction and areas that successfully bailed out.

Jurisdictions may seek exemption from Section 5 coverage by going through a “bail out”. In order to bail out, a covered jurisdiction has to obtain a declaratory judgment from the District Court for the District of Columbia. The 1982 amendment to VRA included two significant changes to the “bail out” process. First change is that individual counties in a state that is under jurisdiction may separately bail out. Second change is that a covered jurisdiction must demonstrate nondiscriminatory behavior during the 10 years prior to filing and while the action is pending and that it has taken affirmative steps to improve minority voting opportunities. Eighteen Virginia jurisdictions, one North Carolina jurisdiction, and one Georgia jurisdiction have successfully bailed out.

Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act is a temporary provision that has been renewed four times since its original passage in 1965. Section 5 was renewed in 1970, 1975, 1982, and 2006. In July 2006, 41 years after the Voting Rights Act passed, Section 5 and other temporary provisions of the Act were renewed for another additional 25 years with bi-partisan support. The bill to renew the Act was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 390-33, with support from Republican House leadership, led by Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James. Sensenbrenner, Jr.. The U.S. Senate passed the bill 98-0. President George W. Bush signed the bill on July 27, 2006.

Despite the overwhelming 2006 vote in support of renewal of the Voting Rights Act, some have criticized the Act. Representative Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga) said, “Congress is declaring from on high that states with voting problems 40 years ago can simply never be forgiven, that Georgians must eternally wear the scarlet letter because of the actions of their grandparents and great-grandparents… We have repented and we have reformed.” Some suggest that this federal oversight is discriminatory to particular states under its jurisdiction and numerous lawsuits are currently pending challenging the constitutionality of the Act.