How To Make Sure The Client Belongs To You, Not The Chauffeur

Jim Luff
Posted on November 24, 2015

I started in this crazy business driving a private limousine for a legendary country singer. When I transitioned into the for-hire sector of the limousine world, I thought it would be a good idea if every regular client had a regular chauffeur assigned. The year was 1993. We did not have GPS, a dispatcher or two-way radios. Once a chauffeur checked out a limousine, you had to wait until he returned it based on trust.

I was fortunate enough to have one of the most awesome mentors in the industry, the legendary Carey franchise operator Dean Schuler. Dean advised me to never allow a chauffeur to become the "personal chauffeur" of an account. He said, "If your chauffeur jumps ship to another limousine service, your client goes with the chauffeur." He went on to teach me to have a primary, back-up and back-up to the back-up chauffeur, and rotate all of them in and out once in awhile.

During the past two decades, I have learned much more about why it should be a no-no to use only one chauffeur per account even if the client requests a particular one.

I had a male chauffeur who became too close to a female client who often called for a car and asked for "Jason." Jason ended up doing shots of tequila with his female client one night and sitting with her in a bar when I got a call from the bartender. It's good to be connected. I've also had clients hire my chauffeurs to drive their own cars and cut me out. I've had clients whot asked for extra hours on their charter and paid the overtime cash to the chauffeur at a discounted rate, none of which was shared with me. These are just a few examples of things that can and do go wrong when the relationship gets too close. Don't let the client dictate who drives them. It's your company, your client.

Related Topics: chauffeur behavior, chauffeur training, client markets, customer service, difficult clients, human resources, Jim Luff, Shop Talk blog

Jim Luff General Manager
Comments ( 1 )
  • anthony

     | about 5 years ago

    I dont agree with not allowing cutomers to request their prefered chauffeur. In this business there are companies with 15 year employees that did not go out and purchsse their own vehicles. The only way to grow your business and to retain customers is to pay a fair hourly wage and pay the employees their 20% gratuity for their work. I see companies that only produce competitors by not being a fair employer and being greedy. My customers can be someone elses customers if we dont deliver the proper vehicle and proper service. I take pride on farm ins that are given to our senior chauffeurs only to be requested months later by the farm in company, those owners are always shocked and wonder why their customers always request the chauffeurs we sent on their jobs. This is not a science to operators, many have developed bad traits from listening to how others talk about how they run their business. Having a good business plan is a must and paying the employees correct wages equals success. Cutting corners only hurts the company over time. Quality pay= quality chauffeurs=repeat customers 60% of your customers come from your chauffeurs. Anytime a chauffeur leaves a company its usually due to unfair pay

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