Matthew McGinness, a senior in engineering at Auburn University, started Auburn Downtown Limo as a senior project. For McGinness, this project started as a small side hobby and now has bloomed into a small business.
One day, McGinness saw an inexpensive limo for sale. He decided to purchase it and with the help of some of his friends from the engineering department, he fixed it up to be in good driving condition. Part of his motivation comes from a love for Auburn’s fun and vibrant culture. McGinness saw the downtown scene in Auburn becoming more active and he thought that he could use his background in engineering to contribute to the community.
Another inspiration for McGinness was winning a contest in elementary school in which the prize was a limo ride. According to McGinness, ever since that first limo ride, he’s loved the atmosphere and entire concept surrounding limos. He wants to make this limo experience financially accessible for all people, especially students.
“So many students who get into my limo tell me they have never been in a limo before. That is partly why I wanted to start the business,” said McGinness.
As an on-call transportation service with affordable prices, Auburn Downtown Limo Service is a mashup of traditional limo services, ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, and taxis. While the average cost of renting a limousine is between $95 and $135 per hour with a minimum rental time of about four hours, McGinness charges only $35 per half hour or $7 per person. These prices and the convenience of on-demand service makes Auburn Downtown Limo especially catered towards students and younger community members.
McGinness began his business, which has just one white limo with a black top, this fall. He sees himself as stiff competition for other transportation services in Auburn. Aside from the business’s success, McGinness enjoys the work. He is his own boss, which allows him to make his own hours and work around his own schedule. While typical limo drivers have an average of about 105 trips per week, McGinness is still a college student and needs to make time for his studies. Running his own business allows him to make a little money, have time to study and attend classes, and to see the joy that riding in a limo gives his customers.