How To Handle Overnight Driver Accommodations

Jim Luff
Posted on July 9, 2014

Who Pays?
Someone has to pay for the hotel room. If the chauffeur is staying over with a group and continuing service the following day, it is usual and customary for the client to book and pay for the chauffeur’s room with the rest of the group. However, if the drop off point is so far away that your chauffeur can’t deadhead back to the home base within legal driving hours, you must pay. While you might consider passing this on to your client, it is not the client’s fault we have to adhere to DOT hours and may sour them if it shows up as a line-item charge. But if you drove far enough away that your chauffeur can’t make it home, you can probably spring for a room for the night in the interest of the safety and health of your chauffeur.

Using A “Buyout” Rate
On a limo run, the client may not be purchasing a block of rooms and may want the transportation company to handle its own arrangements for taking care of the chauffeur. In this case, you might consider presenting a “buyout” rate in which case the client pays you a specified amount of money for the vehicle staying overnight as well as the chauffeur’s room and meals. You should charge an amount sufficient to cover hotel expenses, three meals and a fee for loss of use of your vehicle. This amount can range from $300 to $500 per night. If your chauffeur must stay an additional day with no work, the buyout rate should be high enough to pay him for a minimum of eight hours as he won’t be assigned to any other jobs while he sits in the hotel room.

Where To Stay
Your chauffeur is not on vacation so you don’t have to put him up at The Ritz-Carlton if that’s where your group is staying. Motel 6 and Best Western both offer great loyalty programs and corporate accounts, and are located in nearly every city. You may want to consider becoming loyal to a brand and using points for driver stays.

Three Methods for Reimbursement
There are three basic methods for handling expenses incurred by the chauffeur for overnight stays:  

No. 1: The Reimbursement Plan
Under this plan, the chauffeur pays for everything using his personal credit card. At the end of the trip, the chauffeur presents a request for reimbursement form. You can find these on the Internet in various templates for Word or Excel. The chauffeur must be given parameters of what he is allowed to spend for each meal. No other expenses other than room and meals will be considered except for vehicle supplies such as ice, trash bags etc.

No. 2: The Per Diem Plan
Under this plan, the chauffeur is given a check before the trip for a predetermined amount using the same parameters as the reimbursement plan. An example might be $15 for breakfast, $15 for lunch and $20 for dinner. The driver does not turn in any receipts. As a rule, if the chauffeur is prevented from eating at home due to the assignment, but not during the scope of his driving duties, you should pay the per diem. If a chauffeur is traveling home first thing in the morning after an overnight stay, a breakfast per diem should be issued but not necessarily lunch as the chauffeur normally would buy his own lunch during the middle of his on-duty hours anyway.

No. 3: Cash Advance
Under this plan, you would estimate the total expenses of the hotel, meals and any extra cash the chauffeur might need for parking fees, supplies etc. Upon return, the driver presents all of his receipts and any change left over, and a reconciliation is done.

Related Topics: business management, chauffeur training, cost efficiencies, driver safety, fleet management, How To, New Operator, operating expenses, U.S. Department of Transportation

Jim Luff General Manager
Comments ( 1 )
  • anthony

     | about 6 years ago

    years ago i was assigned a client for 7 days straight.... pick up was between 8 to 9 pm and the first day it was a 12 hour day.. i pleaded with the owner to get me a cheap 58.00 motel so i would not waste 45min back to base and 45 min north to pick up location. the owner refused!!!! he was not about to throw away 348.00 plus tax for the room for the week. the job was around 78.00 per hour X 12 hours per day it came out to 936.00. the total for the week came to 6,552 minus gas minus wages... no over time, no travel time..... your typical shady limousine owner this was one of my top 10 hardest jobs i had ever done.... besides being tired and having to waste 2 hours per day driving to and from the pick.

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