When I was a chauffeur, I loved it. My passion for driving and natural affability made me a natural. My days behind the wheel began as a job, but became a mission. In my quest to become a better chauffeur, I looked to others to find the secrets of the profession. Good chauffeurs showed up on time and looked nice, but what made a chauffeur great? This is what I found out.
Confidence – Weak chauffeurs brag about their celebrity clients and big tips. Great chauffeurs simply exude quiet confidence. With confidence, a chauffeur can ease a client’s tension and control the run. As the old saying goes, “never let them see you sweat.”
Strength – Service is important, but control is essential. The basic function of limousine service is to safely transport clients from point A to point B in a timely manner. You can’t do this unless you control the vehicle. Maintaining an ALPHA position is imperative.
Clients regularly ask chauffeurs to do all sorts of stupid and illegal stuff. A classic example is the client who is late and wants the chauffeur to speed. Weak chauffeurs get run, ALPHA chauffeurs don’t facilitate the stupidity.
Consistency – A great chauffeur will arrive early, be knowledgeable, look professional, and provide exceptional service on every run. No matter the circumstance, he always does great work. He shapes his personal and professional life around the job.
Integrity – Over the years, I’ve known chauffeurs to do some incredibly dishonest stuff. From stealing gas to swapping out engines on company vehicles, I’ve seen it all. I’m always disappointed when a seemingly great chauffeur has a major character flaw.
Great chauffeurs don’t get involved with this nonsense. The pursuit of fast money is rarely worth the risk.
Salesmanship – When a client asks, “how do you like working for this company,” a great chauffeur sells himself and the company. When clients used to ask me this question, I would respond, “I love it. I have a 401k and medical insurance; and their affiliate network provides great service for my clients throughout the United States.” Without salesmanship, you don’t get requests – and without requests, you’re at the mercy of dispatch.
Passion – Great chauffeurs want to be great. It’s their mission. These guys are always looking for new ways to improve their game. This is particularly true for chauffeurs in bad companies. Even if the company is screwing them, a mission focused chauffeur will stay on point and provide great service.
Cooperation – Great chauffeurs aren’t prima donnas. Cooperation and teamwork are an inherent part of the job. These chauffeurs take the runs as they come and rely on their excellence to secure lucrative hourlies.
Insight – Every client is different. Man or woman, young or old, businessman or rapper, New Yorker or Angeleno – every client requires a different approach. The chauffeur who follows policy and addresses a sixteen year old as “mister” is making a big mistake. A great chauffeur instantaneously reads a client and behaves accordingly. Accurately reading clients is what separates the men from the boys.
The Right Stuff
Confidence, strength, consistency, integrity, salesmanship, passion, cooperation, and insight define highly successful chauffeurs. If a driver cares, he will develop many of these traits with experience. In time, if the chauffeur hones his skills, the job will become easier and more enjoyable. In addition, he will make more money and cultivate valuable connections throughout the industry.
Success is elusive for most, but highly skilled career chauffeurs are a bright spot in an otherwise dreary industry.