When prom season approaches, business picks up and you may find yourself in need of additional part-time staff. How do you build a schedule that works for everyone? Your full-time chauffeurs want to keep a regular schedule along with their regular clients. However, the new staff wants to get the quality trips. How do you keep everyone happy?
Communicate With Your Staff Rick Brown of La Costa Limousine in Carlsbad, Calif., says that after September 11, 2001, he experienced a reduction in business. Some of his senior chauffeurs became disgruntled due to a lack of assignments and actually left the company.
?This was the first time this happened since we have been in business,? Brown says. ?I feel a big part of their leaving the company was due to a lack of communication on our part. We weren?t busy and instead of laying people off, we spread the work around. There was also the problem of having someone come in to do just one transfer to the airport. You don?t want to make your senior drivers get up at 5:00 a.m. for just one airport transfer. So you make the new hires come in for the dawn patrol. Then the senior drivers see the new people working and think they are getting the raw end of the deal.?
Brown says he spends much of his time soothing his staff. ?We have to make sure the staff sees the big picture,? Brown explains. ?We believe in telling our chauffeurs the truth. We tell them when we are busy and that we will be hiring additional help. And we tell them that part of hiring additional help is keeping everyone working. Everyone, including the new help, needs to make enough money to live.?
Be Fair With Employees Brown?s focus is communication and fairness to all of his employees. ?We try to give our more senior and full-time chauffeurs the better trips, but over 20 percent of our work is booked the same day. This means our new chauffeurs have the opportunity to get some of the better runs based on being at the right place at the right time. If a chauffeur comes in for one early-morning trip, and the office books another job that might be an ASAP charter, the new-hire or part-time employee might be the best and quickest person to send out on the job. It just works out that way.?
Charles Wisniewski of Teddy?s Transportation System, Inc. in Westport, Conn., has a fleet of 25 vehicles consisting of 21 sedans and four limousines. Two of his limousines are dedicated to specific chauffeurs who drive those particular vehicles at all times. ?Those chauffeurs know they will make good money driving a stretch, but the trade-off is that they must be available nights, weekends and holidays,? Wisniewski says.
He adds that his company does not give preferential treatment to any of his chauffeurs. ?We make our chauffeur choices for all of our trips based on logistics, seniority and merit,? Wisniewski says. ?The chauffeur who gets us out of a jam may get rewarded the next day with a double-header to midtown Manhattan and then back from Newark Airport ? that?s an $80 chauffeur payout in as little as four hours!?
Wisniewski also instructs dispatchers to be sympathetic to a chauffeur?s location. ?We try not to ask a chauffeur to drive 40 miles from home to do only one short and quick (low-commission) run,? he says.
Practice Good Hiring Habits Since Brown?s operation is generally busy throughout the year, he primarily keeps a staff of full-time chauffeurs. However, when he does need additional chauffeurs, he finds out what days they prefer to work and contacts them when he is running low on full-time drivers. These part-time drivers will find themselves without much work during the holidays and the slower times of the year, and he explains that to them.
?When we hire a chauffeur, we are clear about starting at the bottom and working up,? Brown says. ?We let them know that they must work Sundays and they must be willing to start early mornings.?
Brown also attracts staff with ... for more on this topic, check out the February issue of LCT magazine.