Operations

Uber Black Driver Sees the Light

Lexi Tucker
Posted on July 17, 2019

Durieu with his Cadillac XT6

Durieu with his Cadillac XT6

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — As much as the industry may not want to admit it, many small operators either started as drivers for a TNC, or do some Uber Black work on the side to fill in dead legs and slow days.

This division of Uber requires drivers to have commercial insurance, a TCP number, and pass a vehicle inspection – not unlike what an independent operator would have to do to work for a legitimate luxury ground transportation company. What the story of Jordan Durieu, owner of Swan Limousine, shows is within the vast pool of Uber Black drivers are diamond chauffeurs and affiliates in the rough.

Just Paying The Bills

Durieu started driving for TNCs in June 2017 to help him pay for firefighting school when he moved here from France. After a short time, he realized he could be making more money if he did things differently. In December 2017, he bought a bigger car to provide a better experience for his passengers. He saw he was dealing with higher end clients who wouldn’t mess with or stink up his car, and started dressing in a suit to help him stand out.

After a few more months, he realized he loved driving and started looking into all of the licensing and authorizations he would need to launch his own company. In December 2018, he started to drive a Chevrolet Suburban with San Diego Transportation, which also does Uber Black work, while he pursued his own licensing. This gave him more time to focus on learning about his market and the industry, as well as building his business. He officially received his own TCP number (PSG-0038726) on June 27.

Since he first started driving, he’s cultivated loyal clients who recommend him to others, and he struck up a relationship with an executive assistant who has brought him more corporate work.

“Originally, all I wanted to do was pay for school. I’ve always loved driving and providing exceptional service. I see other drivers wearing sweatshirts and jeans, but I spend a small fortune on dry cleaning because I know the importance of staying sharp if I want to build my brand.” While he may eventually volunteer for a small town fire station, his heart is now set on becoming an entrepreneur in the luxury ground transportation industry.

LCT Show Epiphany

Jordan Durieu, owner of Swan Limousine

Jordan Durieu, owner of Swan Limousine

He had been driving a Suburban, which is spacious and comfortable — perfect for the market he serves. When he first decided to go with such a higher class vehicle, he made sure to do his research so he knew he was starting with the right one. His original goal was to take the clients he met through the Uber app and convert them into chauffeured service believers. He’s since grown his client base after they realized what true luxury treatment can be like. “I’m trying to get them to see what our industry can deliver compared to a TNC. I hope the service I provide them gives them a reason to use me and not the app again.”

Although this may be considered an unconventional way to start, he says attending the International LCT Show this year has opened his eyes to how much better the industry does transportation.

“Meeting people at the LCT Show and participating in the education sessions is teaching me how to run this business right. I learned so much on the first day that when I got back to my room and got on my computer to start implementing everything I had learned, my brain shut down for a little while.”

He was surprised by how many people embraced him as a newcomer and took time to talk about the industry with him. He was impressed with a session about delegating tasks. “I’m always trying to make things happen by myself, but sometimes you have to release your grip so you can work more on your business than in it. I’m already looking forward to LCT East in Atlantic City and next year’s LCT Show to see what else I can learn.”

Proving Himself

Being a young operator trying to make your way in the world of business can be tough. Youth can translate to some as inexperience, but Durieu is working hard to change that perspective.

“The main issue with being young is not too many people trust you; therefore, everything you do has to be impeccable. You don’t have room for mistakes. When you know something is needed, don’t wait for someone to ask for it — just do it. We have to show people we can do the job as good as anyone.”

He’s purchased his first vehicle, a Cadillac XTS, on May 16 and hopes to have two sedans and an SUV in the near future. “I’m thankful for everyone who believed in me during this start-up process, but I’m also thankful for those who didn’t believe in me because it gave me the will to keep going.”

Related Topics: California operators, customer service, LCTFast40, Millennials, San Diego airport, TNCs, Uber

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
Comments ( 7 )
  • Jordan

     | about 1 month ago

    Hello Bob, Sorry for the delayed reply, I do not receive notifications when there is new comments. I called Nathan Spears that referred me to someone competent for new operators in my area. If you’d like to send me an email, I could get you in Contact with Nathan. [email protected] Regards, Jordan.

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