In 2008, two brothers, Ash Sadique and Wayne Fernandes, invested Sh4.5 million in an eight-metre Isuzu Trooper which could comfortably accommodate 15 people for a classy ride.

Mr Fernandes said their business was so successful that an additional limousine was inevitable, eventually giving rise to what has become the Limo ‘R’ Us business empire.

“The demand was very high in the first three months. We had to introduce another limo, and another one, and we are still a growing business,” says the co-proprietor of the luxury car company.

The Isuzu Trooper was a locally assembled vehicle which has been the basic reference point for the six limousines that the firm owns, save for one which was imported.

The Trooper was a cut-up of three similar vehicles and was assembled at Mash Auto, a workshop the two traders started to fit cars with extra accessories or customise them for specific purposes.

“We ensure that the chassis and propeller shaft are extended and balanced for stability and control. It is something done with utmost care and by professionals,” says Mr Fernandes.

The interior is then fitted with consumer delights like sofas, a mini bar, fridge, flatscreen television, and neon lights. The purpose is to induce deluxe relaxation for a consumer for short trips, especially around Nairobi.

Three months after customising their first limo, the two entrepreneurs commissioned a six-seater Mercedes E200, followed closely by a 12-seater Toyota VX and an eight-seater Opel Astria convertible.

Five years down the line and Limo ‘R’ Us boasts six limousines in their yard.

The biggest ride is the double-axle, six-wheel Isuzu Bighorn which is 10 metres long and can accommodate 20 passengers.

The smallest limo is an imported two-seater Lincoln. It was brought into the country last year specifically to serve the high-end business executives market segment.

“We spotted this vehicle being traded with a deal that was too sweet to ignore, so we purchased it. We have never regretted the decision,” adds Mr Fernandes.

However, a limo ride does not come cheap. The hiring charges for the high-capacity vehicles are Sh15,000 per hour for a minimum of five hours and the cheapest goes for Sh8,000 per hour with a minimum time of five hour.

Restaurants and hotels

Despite the high charges, the two businessmen receive dozens of fully-paid bookings and other unconfirmed requests for a day’s escapade.

“The requests are enormous all days long. Saturdays and Sundays are even crazier,” says Mr Fernandes.

Limousine travel services are big business in Kenya, with an increasing number of restaurants and hotels buying their own fleets to ferry top-tier customers from the airport.

Car hiring companies like Royal Hometown and Executive Limos have joined the fray and introduced limousines in their fleets, thereby creating a competitive environment for travel-in-style services.