Slowing The Spinning Driver Door

Posted on July 1, 2011 by Philip Wockner

Page 1 of 2

Los Angeles operator Philip Wockner has acquired extensive management experience after 23 years in the limousine business.
Los Angeles operator Philip Wockner has acquired extensive management experience after 23 years in the limousine business.

LOS ANGELES — The old refrain “you just can’t find good drivers anymore” is certainly true. Let’s examine the state of executive chauffeuring today in the U.S.

The old adage applies here: You get what you pay for. Our industry cannot afford to attract top flight candidates from other professions; that is our reality. So we must deal with it.

Chauffeur strata
This is the way we see it: 10% of executive chauffeurs are dedicated, focused professionals.
The other 90% of the driver population can be broken down three ways:

  • About 30% have found a home in this business and they will do all things necessary to hold onto their jobs
  • About 30% are in our industry “waiting for their ship to come in.” They may be actors, screenwriters, laid-off attorneys, or other professionals using our industry as a stopgap measure. They are in our business by default.
  • The final 30% are in the executive transportation industry due to their skill level or their ambition level. These folks may have language issues. They may have immigration issues. Or they may have a myriad or a hybrid of reasons that keep them in our industry.

And so we must work with these four types of drivers. This is our personnel pool.

Motivation, anyone?
Can you inspire executive chauffeurs to do better and lift their game? The answer is a definite no. If there is an improvement in performance, it is only temporary. We’ve tried paying more money and offering an awesome array of benefits. We’ve tried many forms of inspiration, including all-expense paid vacations to our condo in the island paradise of Koh Samui in the South China Sea off the coast of Thailand. We’ve suggested that we’ll fund any marketing ideas that the driver may have and they will receive a full, permanent 10% bonus commission on anything they bring in.
Nothing works. Worldwide author/speaker Jim Rohn probably puts it best: If you have an “idiot,” and you motivate him/her, all you end up with is a motivated “idiot.” Success has to come from the heart. We would add that you will not succeed at anything unless you have a courage quotient, especially in this great recession that we are working through. Paraphrasing Albert Einstein: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” In other words, the more you put into this business, the more you get out of it.

Here is a business factoid: You double your effort, you triple your result.

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