Slowing The Spinning Driver Door

Philip Wockner
Posted on July 1, 2011
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 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.

Top 10 Success Tips

Below I have compiled the top 10 suggestions if you want to become a top flight executive chauffeur or improve your business. If you’re a business owner, you must position yourself emotionally and physically to become the best. Here is the good news: 90% of drivers are not interested in self-improvement. They may pay lip service, but their behavior does not match their rhetoric. So if you desire, you can quickly rise to the top.

As business owners or executive chauffeurs, we have to employ the following 10 suggestions every day. Otherwise your competitors who will adopt these 10 will take your “market share.” Business is like sport. To develop a better business, you have to get better and develop more skills. To sum up, let’s borrow the sports analogy that often appears on signs at gyms: “There is no such thing as staying static. You are either improving or falling behind.”

01 Distance: Your residence/office should be within three miles of the major airport in your city as we contend with the era of high gas prices. With a typical SUV rendering nine miles for every gallon, (and if you operate 16 miles from the airport, have a fleet of 10 vehicles, over a 10-year exercise) you do the math. It’s all about the bottom line.

02 Accessibility:
Many drivers today have iPhones/BlackBerrys/Droids instead of cell phones. These things have so many other applications and features on them. The main function (answering the phone) is lost to a degree.

03 Availability: Be available all the time. The more you are available, the more you succeed. Priortize for achievement. Do not confuse activity with achievement.

04 Overhead: Be careful not to accumulate overhead, which is another word for debt. Everything has to be paid for each month. The more debt you have, the more stress you experience. Not being able to use all of your financial muscles keeps you down financially.

05 Organization:
Keep your suits, shirts, shoes or laundry clean and ready and your cell phone charged. Be able to print your airport sign or display it on an iPad. Keep your vehicle fully gassed and your chauffeur kit up to date.

06 Protect vehicles: Provide undercover accommodation for your vehicles; they must stay clean and secure.

07 Interests: Have other interests outside of the livery industry: Exercise, golf, friendships and travel.

08 Set goals: If you plan to fail, you will. If you aim at nothing, you will surely hit it.

09 Brainpower:
Settle all those demons and all those nasty habits and vices. Nothing happens until you focus. You cannot focus your brainpower unless your mind is free of emotional encumbrances.

10 Ask yourself: How badly do you want to succeed?

Even if you pursue all 10 suggestions and follow them religiously, the bottom line remains, as Napoleon Hill expressed in “Think and Grow Rich”: You must have the (white heat) of passion. You have to love the business.
Citing that timeless Chinese proverb: If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life!

Finally, if you think about success all the time, you will invite more success into your life, and if you think about problems all the time, guess what you’ll invite more of, into your life.

ABOUT: Philip Wockner is the owner and CEO of Philip Wockner International, a chauffeured transportation service in Los Angeles. He can be reached at [email protected]




Related Topics: business management, California operators, chauffeur training, hiring chauffeurs, recruiting chauffeurs

Comments ( 1 )
  •  | about 8 years ago

    not the best article I have ever read, to meandering and off subject. Stick to how to keep good chauffeurs and attract new ones. Also talking about the reasons why good chauffeurs may have been driven from our industry: Illegal labor practices, Charging for breakage/accidents - No overtime pay - No pay for down/wait time - Arbitrary/inconsistent discipline - Poor management - wildly varying hours - lack of support

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