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A Driven Profession - The Life Of A Chauffeur

Aug 17, 2007
Whether it's corporate or private travel, professional chauffeurs are friendly, discrete and knowledgeable driving companions who will make sure your journey is both safe and comfortable, arriving at your destination feeling refreshed and relaxed.

The chauffeur profession calls for a unique blend of driving and social skills. And yes, there's much more to being a professional chauffeur than simply being a good driver. All chauffeurs are also registered and inspected by the local authorities and should be fully licensed with a security check for your peace of mind. The vehicle owned by the chauffeur or luxury sedan company must be legally roadworthy and fully insured.

Responsibilities for each professional chauffeur may very slightly. Some of the things a good chauffeur should know are etiquette skills, risk management, both personal and public safety awareness. Also, how to drive in a style that enhances passenger comfort, creates less stress for the driver, and reduces fuel consumption and vehicle wear. A typical chauffeur will cater most events, from large conferences to corporate road shows, from airport transfers to shopping trips and days out to weddings.

A professional chauffeur should also know advanced driving techniques, including the recognition and perception of hazards, such as coping with a wide range of road surfaces and weather conditions; as well as have an understanding of modern vehicle dynamics, including skid awareness and dynamic systems. He or she should also know how to plan a route for comfort, efficiency and safety.

Professional chauffeurs operate a variety of vehicles that include limousines or luxury sedans, vans, and private cars for limousine companies, private businesses, government agencies, and wealthy individuals. Chauffeur service differs from taxi service in that all trips are prearranged. Many chauffeurs transport customers in large vans between hotels and airports, as well as bus or train terminals. Others drive luxury automobiles, such as sedans or black cars, to business events, entertainment venues, and social events. Still others provide full-time personal transportation for wealthy families and private companies.

At the beginning of the workday, chauffeurs prepare their vehicles for use. They inspect the vehicle for cleanliness and, when needed, vacuum the interior and wash the exterior body, windows, and mirrors. They check fuel and oil levels, and make sure the lights, tires, brakes, and windshield wipers work. Chauffeurs may perform routine maintenance and make minor repairs, such as changing tires or adding oil and other fluids when needed. If a vehicle requires a more complicated repair, they take it to a professional mechanic.

Chauffeurs cater to passengers by providing attentive customer service and paying attention to detail. They help riders into the car by holding open doors, holding umbrellas when it is raining, and loading packages and luggage into the trunk of the car. Chauffeurs may perform errands for their employers such as delivering packages or picking up clients arriving at airports. To ensure a pleasurable ride in their limousines, many chauffeurs offer conveniences and luxuries such as newspapers, magazines, music, drinks, televisions, and telephones. More often these days, chauffeurs work as full-service executive assistants, acting simultaneously as driver, secretary and itinerary planner.

When it comes to licensing chauffeurs, some states require only a passenger endorsement on a driver's license; other states require only that drivers be certified by their employer; while others require a Commercial Driver's License with a passenger endorsement. While states set licensing requirements, local regulatory bodies usually set other terms and conditions. These often include requirements for training, which varies greatly.

Some localities require new drivers to enroll in training programs consisting of up to 80 hours of classroom instruction before they are allowed to work. To qualify through either an exam or a training program, applicants must know local geography, motor vehicle laws, safe driving practices, and relevant regulations and display some aptitude for customer service.

Other localities require an English proficiency test, usually in the form of listening comprehension; applicants who do not pass the English exam must take an English course in addition to any formal driving programs. Some classroom instruction includes route management, map reading, and service for passengers with disabilities.

Many luxury sedan or limo companies sponsor applicants, giving them a temporary permit that allows them to drive before they have finished the training program and passed the test. Some jurisdictions, such as New York City, have discontinued this practice and now require driver applicants to complete the licensing process before operating a taxi or limousine.
About the Author
Melih ("may-lee") Oztalay, CEO
SmartFinds Internet Marketing
Wherever you're going, Checker Sedan is a better way to get there.
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