I ?m not telling you anything new when I say that farm-out, and in turn farm-in, work is something that is an essential part of this industry. Companies rely on others to help out when they don?t have enough vehicles. Conversely, operators with small fleets rely on the business of farm-in work. It is an important part of the way in which operators conduct business in this industry. With that being the case, why is there no uniform standard as to the way in which this is conducted?
I recently spoke with an operator who received some farm-in work from another company, assisting with the heavy workload of the Academy Awards. What operator wouldn?t jump at the chance to help cover an event like this? Not only is it prestigious in and of itself, but it also helps small operators with possible marketing material (i.e., ?I have serviced the Academy Awards for the last three years,? etc.). Truth be told, almost ALL of the operators in the greater Los Angeles area are working in some capacity on Oscar night. The Los Angeles Times reported that more than 1,500 limousines were used at this year?s event.
Anyway, the operator was driving that night and chauffeured one of Hollywood?s up-and-comers around L.A. He did his best to provide the best service possible for his client because it was a reflection of him, his company and the farm-out company, which booked the reservation. However, at the end of the night he didn?t receive a tip. He knew that he had provided good service to his client. He wasn?t sure if the farm-out company had built it into the initial bill and not told him, or if this was just another ?cheap? client.
Should he have had that cleared up when he was taking the job from the farm-out company? Yes. Should the farm-out company have had this point clearly stated in its agreement for farm-out work? Yes.
Most companies already have clear working arrangements when it comes to farm-in and farm-out work. Items such as tips and chauffeur conduct are usually addressed here. However, are the arrangements uniform or do they change from company to company?
It?s only natural that different companies handle arrangements differently. However, there should be some commonality throughout the industry when it comes to this type of work. There should also be consistency in the way in which one company either accepts farm-in or farm-out work regarding all the companies getting or giving the work. The arrangements should be clearly understood by both parties up front.
From the start, a clear understanding of what is expected from both companies (i.e., tips, chauffeur conduct and appearance, payment cycle, etc.) will only make the entire process and transaction easier and beneficial for both parties involved.
It?s important that as many questions as possible be answered up front. For example, questions like When MUST the farm-in company submit its total paperwork and charges? (Within 48 hours is a good rule of thumb.) What is the procedure if the party picked up wants to add substantially more hours to trip? What should the signage say? The arrangements need to be clearly understood by both parties up front.