How Much Should a Couple Plan to Spend on Transportation for Their Wedding Guests?
An expert weighs in.
Stumped on what to include in your budget for shuttles? This is the insider info you need. Though there's no exact industry standard when it comes to pricing, here are some basic indicators that can help you establish a realistic range for your transportation budget.
Don't expect an industry standard.
Prices can range anywhere from about $100 to $250 per hour per vehicle. Wedding planner Susan Dunne says, "In my experience, there really is no general rule regarding pricing. The minimum you're going to be spending for a 16-seat sprinter is about $200 per hour, plus gratuity. There are many variables to consider which would affect the price, such as the region, how many guests need to be transported, the size of the shuttles, the number of hours needed, the number of stops, and the locations of each stop." Prices may be higher during busy weekends when demand is higher, and can vary depending on the type of vehicle.
Shop around to compare pricing and services.
The only way to properly budget for transportation is to shop around for quotes in your area at the specified time of year you're planning your wedding. Many shuttle companies provide online quotes that are quick and easy to access, but it's also easy to call and get a quote directly from the company's sales representative. If you want to plug an arbitrary number into your wedding budget for the sake of getting an overview, you can estimate a mid-range number of $150/hour for each shuttle that fits about 30 guests.
Ask about what's included in the quoted price.
Depending on your transportation company, gratuity, tax, service charges, and additional fees may not be included in the initial quote, and you'll need to estimate these into your overall cost. Also, are there cleaning fees if someone gets sick on the bus? Are any drinks or ice chests included? Though it may not seem necessary to ask these details when you're initially getting quotes, the costs add up quickly and you'll want your budget to cover them.
Find out if there's a minimum as well as a maximum.
Most shuttle companies will require a minimum of four hours if you're planning on using them for round-trip transit. As well, if you plan to keep your shuttles for more than eight hours (from pick-up prior to the ceremony to the very end of the night), there may be a shift change for drivers or an overtime fee charged.
Ask if you can see the fleet.
Whether in-person or through photos online, your transportation company should have no problem accommodating your request to see their fleet. This is a perfect opportunity to ask the following questions about service. What are the drivers trained to do if a shuttle's AC isn't working? What do drivers wear for weddings? Will someone be on-site to oversee arrivals and departures? If not, is this a service that can be added so you don't have to take staff away from the wedding planning team or catering company?
Use shuttle companies that come recommended through vendors or friends.
If you don't know anyone who's used shuttles in the area, you can always turn to online reviews for research purposes, but the best bet is to use a transportation company your hotel or venue is proud to recommend. There's a wide net of providers out there, and for your wedding, you want to work with a transportation company with a good reputation for providing clean, modern vehicles with high service standards.