The City of Birmingham is now actively enforcing their transportation ordinance on vintage car companies, and Coats Classic Cars is currently the ONLY vintage car company licensed to operate in Birmingham.
The purpose of the city licensing process is to ensure that all for-hire vehicles are operating safely, whether it be a limousine, taxicab, bus, or a vintage car. Every major city in the U.S., the State of Alabama, and the Federal government have set common-sense standards for passenger safety that must be adhered to.
For many years, vintage cars have been allowed to operate in Birmingham without any real enforcement or regulation. However, as time progressed, the City has received complaints of other companies operating vintage cars in an unscrupulous fashion. We’ve heard many first-hand, from other industry professionals — and even heard about one on the evening news. We’ve even been called to rush to more than one wedding, to take over from a broken-down competitor. We won’t repeat all the stories, here, but we think you’ll agree that chauffeurs consuming alcohol, companies operating without insurance or car registration, and car owners getting arrested for trafficking narcotics is just plain unacceptable. The City felt it was time to enforce the rules — and since an accident by an unsafe or uninsured operator would reflect badly on the vintage car industry as a whole, we supported their decision.
Coats Classic Cars continues to set the bar for our industry. The law already required that all companies – including vintage car – carry commercial liability insurance, have their vehicles inspected for safety, and have background checks and physicals for their chauffeurs. Vehicles must be kept in a clean and neat condition, and chauffeurs are not permitted to drink (or use controlled substances) while on duty. Each vehicle must also be legally registered (tagged). We worked with the city in 2013 to establish specific requirements for insurance and vehicle inspection, particular to vintage cars – standards which we were already meeting and exceeding.
Don’t be fooled: It does not matter where the company is based. If you’re being chauffeured in Birmingham, a license is required. And even if you don’t need a trip from, to, or through Birmingham, it is a very good idea to hire a Birmingham-licensed company — because then you will know that the company is properly insured and operating safely. One of our competitors states that they are “commercially licensed” on the front page of their website. However, they are not licensed for Birmingham. The “license” for the small suburb where they are based, is simply a business license, and does not require any vehicle safety or insurance standards.
The Birmingham Police are actively looking for illegally-operating vintage cars, and have already stopped several. When this happens, the passengers must make “other arrangements”. Don’t let this happen to you, or your clients!
As bad as having a ride cut short on your wedding night might be, an accident in an uninsured car would be worse. We don’t want to see any of this happen to you or to your clients. We’d also rather not see damage done to the reputations of our fellow event professionals, if this happens to one of their couples. Therefore, we’ve made a bold decision: If you, or your client, has booked another vintage car company for a trip in Birmingham, we will honor their deposit to come to us. Whatever they have paid another company which is non-refundable, we will discount our service in the same amount — up to 50% of our retail price. Obviously this is subject to our availability, and this offer is for a limited time. We would rather lose money on a few events, than see a wedding day ruined.
Let’s be clear: It is not our intention, nor do we believe is it the intention of the City, to prevent anyone from doing business safely. We welcome safe, reliable competition — because frankly, we can’t do all the business, ourselves! With the increasing popularity of vintage cars for special occasions, there is room for others in our market. But all of our clients deserve the peace of mind of knowing that the vehicle – and the chauffeur – that they have hired, is safe. We hope that our competitors will choose to adopt these standards and become licensed, and make our local vintage car industry one where regardless of which company you choose, you can be assured that the ride will be safe and professional.
…And we hope you’ll continue to choose us!
Set the Standard!