The white stretch limo with a black top cruises through downtown Auburn, especially on weekend nights, but it hasn’t always been such a common sight.
Matthew McGinness, senior in engineering, began Auburn Downtown Limo hoping to learn more about what it takes to be an entrepreneur while contributing to the lively Auburn atmosphere.
“Auburn is a fun city,” McGinness, a Florida native, said. “I’ve fallen in love with the culture, and I love being a part of that. The city is blowing up, so I wanted to add to the scene and use engineering as a background while I hope to own a business one day.”
McGinness got the idea for Auburn Downtown Limo when he saw an inexpensive limo for sale. He decided to buy it and fix it up with the help of some of his friends in engineering.
His small side hobby became his senior project that soon transformed into a business.
“So many students who get into my limo tell me they have never been in a limo before,” McGinness said. “That is partly why I wanted to start the business.”
McGinness’ inspiration for the limo company also came from an elementary school contest in which the prize was a limo ride. Ever since that first limo ride, he has loved the atmosphere and concept of limos, McGinness said.
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He tries to set his business apart from other transportation services. He is an on-call limo service easily available to students and younger community members in the area, McGinness said.
The pricing is another factor. His slogan is, “Cheaper than an Uber!”
There are no fees before a ride, and McGinness considers the service to be affordable for any college student with rides priced at $35 per half hour or $7 per person.
“[I’m a] limo, taxi and Uber all in one,” McGinness said. “I do anything from taking kids downtown on a regular Friday night like an Uber would, to picking up guests at the Auburn University Regional Airport to get them into town for game days.”
Though the business began this fall, McGinness already sees himself as a competitor with other transportation services in Auburn.
He also enjoys being his own boss.
“With this, I can make my own hours and work around my own schedule,” McGinness said. “If I have a test during the day, I can put the limo aside in order to focus on school work when needed. I am tired of working for other people. With my business, I am having a lot of fun and making a little money while doing it.”
Since he is a senior, the future of the business is still up in the air. He hopes to either sell the business when he graduates or hire someone to help run the business while he is away from Auburn.
For now, though, McGinness just wants to enjoy his time as the student limo driver.
“[I’m] happy to give back positive experiences to Auburn students and the community,” McGinness said.
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