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Would you hire a w220 lwb or not?

Discussion in 'General Mercedes-Benz Related Discussion' started by romik, Oct 17, 2012.

Would you hire a w220 lwb or not?

  1. Yes I would

    3 vote(s)
    25.0%
  2. No I would not

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. I would hire w221 instead

    9 vote(s)
    75.0%
  1. romik

    romik Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    S320 CDI/2005/3.2
    Hi all,

    I am not sure whether this is the right place for this type of a poll, so please excuse me if inappropriate post for the forum. I am doing some research prior to buying a lwb S class for private hire business. It is important to mention that I am based in Ipswich, Suffolk, basically we do not have businesses here that offer brand new S class for hire, so I am
    not looking to compete with businesses that offer a fleet of new cars, nevertheless I don't want to get a model that doesn't appeal to the majority due to it being outdated by the new model. Initially, I immediately thought of buying the w221, but Alex posted that it has problems with its diesel engine, as it would be my first venture I have to be ever so careful making my choice for a first vehicle due to limited funding (has to be second hand),
    So I thought maybe of asking members of this board whether they would hire w220 or not.

    Thank you for taking part.

    W220

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...1_sst2.jpg/280px-Mercedes_s_klasse_1_sst2.jpg

    w221

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...tansicht_(1),_30._August_2011,_Düsseldorf.jpg
     
  2. robparker

    robparker Senior Member Authorised Forum Supporter

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    Your Mercedes:
    C55 (203), 220d (115), 200d (110)
    I would say as these sorts of businesses are difficult to get going and make money from, just start with the cheaper 220, they are still luxurious and look modern, and you can gauge if people will actually hire cars atall and you wont have to worry about loosing money with depriciation aswell whilst you wait.
     
  3. V6Matty

    V6Matty Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    S212/10/E350(His) W169/2005/A180 (Hers)
    Friend of mine started this company a few years ago, and went all out with 3 cars from the start (a 300C, S-Class and a Vito 9 seater (I think) ), He hasn't looked back since. He also gets a lot of comments from clients on how nice it is to have a newer car, as you said before image is everything in that business and it only takes one well connected person to not like what you offer to make things very hard.

    May be worth talking to another Chauffer company (maybe not near to where you live as they could be your rivals) and really get their honest opinion on how they got started and what pit falls to look out for with cars and other bits.

    link to my friends company ;)

    http://www.aurajourneys.com/
     
  4. d215yq

    d215yq Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    1987 W124 300D 280k miles
    I don't think the results on this forum are going to be representative and are useful market research. Here people are in the know about the models and will base their decision on this.

    However your average client will not know about which mercedes benz is the best and will, to an extent, assume a newer one is better and therefore a more luxury service and are therefore most likely to do business with you if you have the newer one.

    One thing that is clear is a late W220 will be cheaper in the long run in terms of depreciation, insurance, and probably (though not definitely) maintenance. Whether the extra cost of a w221 is worth it in potential extra business I have no idea, but I wouldn't rely on the results on this survey to determine this! I personally would see no problem with hiring a w220 (nor a w140 or w126 if it got me there in comfort!) but then I'm not the sort of person who hires these things anyway so my opinion is worthless!
     
  5. toby1

    toby1 Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    1998 CL420 C140
    I voted yes, on the basis it might be cheaper.
     
  6. OP
    romik

    romik Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
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    Thank you all very much for the replies.

    I was not sure whether this would be the right portal for such a poll, I will carry out further research at other forums as well.

    My wife and I recalled when we were booking a limo for our wedding day we went with a company that offered a newer stretch. We paid double, of course :)

    Thank you for the link to that web site, I will drop them an e-mail and others too. That's a great idea.

    The reason for being concerned started with Alex mentioning that w221' v6 diesel engine often has problems, I don't know how expensive maintenance of those issues are on average, but expect them to be quite high, not to mention time the vehicle is off the road it's not making money and bookings may have to be either cancelled or another similar car has to be hired in, etc - basically more debits than credits. I did find some research and did come across some "horror" stories regarding w221's diesel engine, so I started considering petrol versions as well, sure higher MPG, but at least potentially better reliability keeping the car on the road for longer periods of time and not in a garage being repaired.

    Any suggestions there, petrol instead of diesel? Keeping it w221.
     
  7. ianrandom

    ianrandom Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    1986 420SE, 1990 420SEC, 1989 2cv6.
    I work part time for a chauffeur company and they have ended up leasing their S class because their high end clients are fussy about it being the latest model, apparently.
    The other thing they do in the mean time is have a personalised plate so as to cover up the year of the car. The clients that use that car are quite high end though.
    A W220 might be viable enough if with a personalized plate, and if in spanking condition in a good colour etc.

    We haven't had any problems with the diesel S we have now, its a gorgeous car too, about a year old.
     
  8. daveyjp

    daveyjp Senior Member

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    B160 SE Blue Efficiency
    Nothing to do with which car, but whatever you get have Wi-fi fitted.

    My wife's US bosses were raving about the fact their airport limo taxi (E class) had it fitted. No expensive roaming charges to pay while they answered e-mails during the one hour trip.
     
  9. brianbrian

    brianbrian Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    w124 250D, SL129-deisel
    Room communications and compfort are a must for a chauffered car, driver in a grey suit. Hope this helps
     
  10. SSR S500

    SSR S500 Senior Member

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    Why not consider leasing the W221 short term to tread water and see what kind of reaction you get. At least that way you can see if your business idea will work with minimal risk.

    W220's are fine cars, but as forum members have said in previous posts, some clients can be very fussy. If you do decide to go for one buy the latest model possible with as many extra's.
     
  11. OP
    romik

    romik Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
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    Hello everybody,

    Thank you again for all suggestions and advice.

    I started considering leasing option, just have to check out how much extra I will be charged for extra mileage, if reasonable I will most likely go for this option with a S350L CDI BlueTEC.

    What are the most important options to have? There are lots to choose from, I don't think I can quite stretch to having all of them included as it will get pricey.

    Thanks!
     
  12. tode

    tode Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    S350 btec 2011
    Since the object is to satisfy the customers, then:
    Internet connection,
    Harmon Kardon,
    Ventilated rear seats ( I believe they're heated as std),
    Infrared glass (yes, it does make a difference),
    Ambient lighting gives a nice finishing touch. ;)
    Stay with smaller wheels (I don't know if you can get 17" in UK)

    If you'll be doing a lot of driving (hopefully), then the front comfort seats are excellent.
     
  13. christopherwk

    christopherwk Senior Member

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    Your Mercedes:
    2016 E220d SE
    I don't know how much experience you have, so apologies if I appear to ramble on here, but I believe the more important thing in this business is yourself.

    It's all very well having the latest car with all the toys (such as in the post above!), but if you're going to be late, get lost, dirty car in and out, clutter in boot, not smart (the amount of drivers I see who are not wearing their suit properly - i.e. top shirt button undone, tie not knotted correctly, unpolished shoes, jacket/trousers are too long/short, is ridiculous - go inside Heathrow and look at some of the private hire drivers waiting, and you'll see what I mean).

    You also need the right character and personality, able to predict the clients needs, know when the client wants to have a chat or when to shut up, discretion - ie not tellng everyone down the pub you've taken this celebrity or that, or you overheard this company is about to take over that company etc.

    I drive a 2007 E320 CDi, with currently 209,000 miles on it, and am able to find work from other companies on a sub-contract basis and clients who are willing to pay as much as they would in a brand new S.

    It will also help if you have a professionally designed business card (came across one with a cartoony type font with a picture of a sunflower on the side!), even better briefly listing your driving/chauffeur qualifications.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2012
  14. OP
    romik

    romik Senior Member

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    Your post is spot on, I totally agree with you. After having spent many years in private hire industry (as a cab driver) I've seen it all. Thank you for posting.
     
  15. tode

    tode Senior Member

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    I would have thought these points were self-evident.
     
  16. christopherwk

    christopherwk Senior Member

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    I wasn't sure of the experience of the OP, whether he was just starting up or not. Now I know romik has been doing it for many years, I suggest going for the cheaper W220 option, and keeping the car clean and well maintained, and experience and word of mouth will still probably get you decent and well-paid work.
     

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