Do you enjoy being behind the steering wheel and want to earn money doing it? Well, you could consider being a professional chauffeur. While the job sounds very straight forward, it carries with it many responsibilities towards your employer and those you drive. You will have to deal with people with different personalities and sometimes go beyond your official job description to fulfil clients’ requests.
Is this career path for you?
What is a professional chauffeur?
A chauffeur is a professional driver who is hired to transport people. They use vans, limousines and luxury cars; it is also part of their duties to stock the vehicles with amenities and keep them shiny and clean. It is important for them to know how to perform basic vehicle maintenance and be able to report any concerns regarding its operation.
A professional chauffeur can be self-employed or provide services for several different passengers or even work for a private company, person or the government. The most successful ones are usually on call so they can respond to all their clients’ needs.
Research the job description
The duties of a chauffeur may vary depending on the nature of your job, yet, for most positions you will be required to perform the following tasks:
- Pick passengers from their location
- Assist passengers with entering or exiting the vehicle as well as loading/unloading their luggage
- Transport clients to their destination
- Choose the quickest or safest routes
- Check car conditions
- Maintain a clean vehicle
- Equip the vehicle with all necessary amenities
- Keep records of car expenses
In the US, chauffeurs and taxi drivers held around 233,700 jobs in 2014. The following industries employed the most chauffeurs:
- Taxi and limousine service: 21%
- Healthcare and social assistance 15%
- Other transit and ground passenger transportation 10%
Also, 1 in 5 drivers are self-employed.
The work schedule of these professionals varies; 1 in 5 worked part-time in 2014 while weekend or evening work, late at night or early in the morning are very common. This means that their work schedules are very flexible, with little or no supervision and they can take breaks whenever they do not have a passenger.
The median annual salary for a chauffeur in the US is $32,005 as of February 22, 2017, but this can vary widely depending on a variety of factors.
In the UK it’s roughly £28,000.
In the US most employers require that an applicant is a holder of a high school diploma or an equivalent. The most important requirements for a chauffeur are a legal driving license and clean driving record. Obtain a chauffeur’s license to boost your chances of employment as a professional. Some states also require that one obtains a medical certificate to be allowed to carry passengers. Check with the Division of Motor Vehicles in your state for these requirements and the application process.
The UK requirements are similar, usually you need to have a full driving license, but some employers may require you to have extra training such as the Advanced Driving Test, be able to speak another language or have been in the armed forces.
On-the-job training is a mandatory prerequisite for most employers. Some have a minimum age requirement and consider special driving abilities such as driving and parking long cars a plus. Most employers today also require defensive-driving techniques.
A good personality is a critical asset for a chauffeur. Also, the job will require you to be:
Your employer will expect you to know all streets, hotels, theatres, clubs, shopping malls and art galleries. You will also need to verse yourself with information about various aspects of interest to your clients. Passengers treat a chauffeur as a concierge on wheels. They will expect you to answer a lot of questions about the location you are in or headed to.
The biggest skill as a professional chauffeur is the ability to deal with people with different personalities. Not all people will respect your job, be courteous or kind. You will meet people who are grumpy, picky and demanding, just to mention a few. Some people will treat you with dignity and some as the help. The ability to stay focused in all situations is a bonus in the industry.
A chauffeur sees and hears many things, some which could make newspaper headlines, break marriages or put businesses at risks. Many chauffeurs have lost their jobs due to their inability to keep what they hear a secret.
Being able to remain professional in all occasions is paramount as a chauffeur. This involves talking to clients in a proficient manner, dressing up as required by your employer and having all your documents with you to avoid unpleasant delays and scenarios with the authorities.
Ensuring that clients maintain professional boundaries in the car makes your career more pleasant and saves you unnecessary trouble. For example, clients should know that you do not speed through red lights or allow drugs in the car.
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13% employment growth for chauffeurs between 2014 and 2024. This growth is due to an increase in ride-hailing services using a mobile device. Consider enrolling in a specialised courses in a chauffeur training college to advance your career prospects. With sufficient work experience, you can earn a promotion to become a supervisor, fleet manager or any other management position.
See Also: How to Become a Furniture Tester
Being a chauffeur is a highly visible service position. While it may sound like an easy task, the intrigues of the job can be tasking. If you consider pursuing this career, patience and the ability to stay professional are paramount.
Have you ever considered this as a career? Let us know in the comments section below…
This article was originally published in September 2014.