Most of you reading my Shop Talk Blog run small- to medium-size operations. If you are like me, you started out driving your clients around. I still remember those fantastic days of my wife driving while I stayed home and answered phones, or the other way around. Forwarding calls to our cell phones after hours was the norm. It became a way of life 25 years ago.
As time went on, we started hiring more and more chauffeurs. Instead of me taking care of the books, we hired an office manager to do it. Eventually, we hired a clerk to work in the office with the office manager and take reservations.
Later on, we promoted four chauffeurs to become shift supervisors and make command decisions while we were off at play. We then hired a fleet manager who took care of the growing fleet. Soon, we needed dispatchers to answer the phones around the clock. We also added a valet parking division with a valet manager and event supervisors.
With all these people came the need for trust. This meant letting go of the reins a little bit at a time and trusting people to make the best decisions on behalf of the company. As all of these employees entrusted with decisions still sought direction, I realized that I had come full circle and was getting calls from supervisors, managers and dispatchers.
And so it came to be that we have two managers primarily in control. They are the manager and operations manager. Each takes a lead in administration and chauffeur/vehicle operations. Today, I offered to counsel a chauffeur having some issues and was told it would not be necessary as that was not my job! As you grow, you must realize that you just can't control everything and do a great job at it. You must hire people that are experts in their field and then let them do their thing.
Mini-Series Part 3: It was the perfect proposal inside a stretch limousine, full of rockin' romance. What could go wrong?
Driving Gem: Do your bus drivers know the 10, 15, and 70 hour rules of duty?
Mini-Series Part 2: Limousines might be good for weddings, but prove troublesome for popping the question.
Driving Gem: Do you know the size of your vehicle's sail area?
Mini-Series Part 1: A trailer park, curses, a tumbler of vodka, and a pack of beauties. Could anything go right about this trip?