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Thread: Limo Drivers Salary

  1. #1
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    Default Limo Drivers Salary

    All,
    I am starting my business in GA and looking for an average salary to pay limo drivers, any help will be greatly appreciated.

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    Super Moderator Limo Scene's Avatar
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    Limo Driver should be paid minimum wage. Chauffeurs is a different matter. I start ours at $13.25 per hour and cap out at $18.00 per hour but I don't employ any "limo drivers". That is an insulting and degrading term. Like an ambulance driver. They are not ambulance driver's but EMT's or Paramedics. Trash truck drivers are even called sanitation engineers.
    Jim A. Luff
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    Senior Member fllimo's Avatar
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    Is that + grattuity and is your gratuity included in your contract or do they have to chase it?
    Mark Sutliffe, Owner
    Finger Lakes Limousine & Coach

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    Limo scene... thanks for the information, I will keep in mind the terminology, I will continue to learn as I go so this was helpful, dont forget I am new to the business. Going forward Chauffeur it is.... and yes, I have the same question that fflimo had, is that total per hour + gratuity or that is what you pay them?

    Thanks!!

    Maria Priestly
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    Empress Elite Limousine

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    Quote Originally Posted by fllimo View Post
    Is that + grattuity and is your gratuity included in your contract or do they have to chase it?
    Gratuity is not included with Luff's pricing and is in addition to the hourly wage he pays. All of the gratuity (minus taxes) goes to the chauffeur.

    This subject has been beaten to a pulp. Please look in past threads.
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  6. #6
    Super Moderator Limo Scene's Avatar
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    Mark, I am intrigued by your comment about "chasing" a gratuity. Tim is right we have beat this to a pulp in other threads but I will clarify again.....

    Webster's defines a GRATUITY as a GIFT. One bestowed upon a person for services rendered and appreciated. A server in a restaurant works his/her ass off for a tip. If you let my beverage run empty, that is points off. Take too long to take my order, more points off. Not checking on my food shortly after bringing it, more points off. Forget to bring the side of mayo and that is triple points off.

    Somehow, people in the limo industry got this presumptuous, greedy, self-entitlement attitude that a gratuity should be assessed as opposed to earned. I don't support that. There is no way to know for sure what type of service you will get if there is no reason to put forth any effort.

    Case in point - I went out last night in a limo. Had a chauffeur that has never driven me drive me to a dinner and then to a post cocktail party. On the way to dinner we stopped for a cocktail. We had beers in the car on the way there and did some shots. We used napkins, used some glasses and left beer bottles in the rocks glasses. Came out......they were still there. Went to dinner and came out - still there. Went to a cocktail lounge after dinner and three of our cars were there. When I got back in the car this time, the car was immaculate. I asked the chauffuer why he finally decided to clean the car. He told me a fellow chauffeur had looked inside the car and told him - "you better get that car cleaned up or Jim is gonna chew your ass".

    Well, when he dropped me off, I didn't give him a dime as he didn't earn it and I don't reward for average performance. No effort - no tip! I don't owe anyone a GIFT and it is insulting to force someone to give a gift for mediocre service.

    It was a harsh lesson for the chauffuer but if you want to work for me, you better deliver over-the-top excellence. Average service doesn't cut it around here.

    BostonCoach has a policy of no-tipping allowed and a chauffeur accepting a tip or even an affiliate accepting a tip is grounds for automatic termination.

    The average chauffeur is making $16 - $17 an hour here with many being employed with us for over a decade. For operating a motor vehicle, that is pretty good money. If you work hard, deliver good service and EARN tips, you can easily boost that figure up. I just had a client call me and tell me he loved his chauffuer yesterday and wanted me to know he gave him a $300 tip for exceptional service. The trip was a nine hour day in a limo. The chauffuer had 10.5 hours of pay with a gross of $164.00 and had the $300 tip added on top of that. That is $44.19 per hour. I don't know too many people making that kind of money. By the way, the chauffeur was my son so I was even more thrilled to get the compliment.
    Last edited by Limo Scene; February 18th, 2010 at 02:15 PM.
    Jim A. Luff
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    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    I still do not understand the policy that Boston Coach holds of no tipping allowed. Does anyone know the reasoning behind this? Also, it has been beaten to a pulp, but Jim, maybe livery companies (including myself) make the gratuity mandatory for the same reason many restaurants make it mandatory for groups over 10 or so. The reasoning is that the bill is so big that 20% seems like too big of a number for tip. Some people just do not understand that 20% is 20%. They think that $40 is a lot for a tip and that is what it should be. Now, maybe everyone (including restaurants) should just pay a normal wage and assume that gratuity is not expected. But let's be honest, even your hourly wages are figured on your people getting some sort of tip...to expect someone to do what we do for less than $20 / hour is not a real expectation (in my opinion - but I am also close to one of the biggest union trade markets in the US).
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    Super Moderator Limo Scene's Avatar
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    I don't know Rich. I just looked at our city transit website and they pay $12.81 per hour for driving. What is it that makes a chauffuer operating a vehicle more important. It is still driving a car. I understand the reasoning behind the large party in a restaurant as it takes a lot more work to serve a table of ten than two and frequently there may be a misunderstanding about who is paying the tip or people might not put in their fair share and almost all restaurant pay their employees minimum wage. We don't. We pay a decent wage and with a 40 hour week, that equates to a monthly salary of $2773 per month and for the type of work performed. It is not rocket science. Our local firefighters start at $24 per hour and that is $6.00 more than our top chauffeurs but vastly different dangers and responsibilites.

    Oh, another thought......I am not into profit sharing. I hire people to do a specific job for a specific wage. How much we charge or earn is not relevant to the pay of the employee.
    Jim A. Luff
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    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Limo Scene View Post
    I don't know Rich. I just looked at our city transit website and they pay $12.81 per hour for driving. What is it that makes a chauffuer operating a vehicle more important. It is still driving a car. I understand the reasoning behind the large party in a restaurant as it takes a lot more work to serve a table of ten than two and frequently there may be a misunderstanding about who is paying the tip or people might not put in their fair share and almost all restaurant pay their employees minimum wage. We don't. We pay a decent wage and with a 40 hour week, that equates to a monthly salary of $2773 per month and for the type of work performed. It is not rocket science. Our local firefighters start at $24 per hour and that is $6.00 more than our top chauffeurs but vastly different dangers and responsibilites.

    Oh, another thought......I am not into profit sharing. I hire people to do a specific job for a specific wage. How much we charge or earn is not relevant to the pay of the employee.
    I agree on the last point. But, in tongue in cheek arguement, there is often a big deal made between the distinction between chauffeur and driver. And yes, I do feel that 1) wait staff should get paid more than min. wage. 2) a firefighter should get paid more than a chauffeur...but also, there are a lot of volunteer firefighters in this area. But to your point, maybe the pay scale is just a little lower in your area. That is certainty possible as I do not know the cost of living by you (that is not meant as anything more than just that the COL is different everywhere).
    Rich Rottier
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    Mr. Luff: How much do you pay your Motor Coach Operators and are they considered Chauffeurs or Bus Drivers. The Big Dog Union Bus company here in Flint Mich. area (home of the UAW) pays their Motor Coach drivers around $13.00 per hour.

  11. #11

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    The reason big limo corporations like Boston Coach dont allow you to ask or accpet a tip is because many accounts have been lost by various companies over the years due to chauffeurs "asking" for tips. If theyre arent allowed to accept tips at all then they won't be "begging" for tips, or "asking" , or "telling a sob story about how they're broke to the client in the back seat".
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    Rich, I have to adamantly disagree that firefighters should get paid more than a chauffeur. Don't get me wrong though, I love and support firefighters. But that's part of the problem. They have a job where everyone loves them. There are so many guys lined up to do the job for free, why should they be paid more? They get paid to work out and sleep. Not to mention that wearing the uniform or showing the badge will get them dates with the most beautiful women. Don't forget the regular benefits, and the wink wink benefits of not getting tickets(99%). No, they definitely don't need to be paid more. I'd do it for free. Also, before you mention they risk their lives for us, that's another benefit. These guys love the adreneline rush and the chance to be a bonefide hero. Once again, I'd do it for free.

    But enough of the hijacking and back to the topic.

    I really like the way that Jim runs his company and pays his chauffeurs a good hourly wage. But he charges the client a 15% "service charge" to make that possible. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it's difficult for most of us to do that(even though we all should in the future).

    I say the normal rate of pay is minimum wage plus a mandatory 20% gratuity.

    Let me say that again for the uneducated douche bag that sent me some angry, racist texts because of an old thread on this subject. I said, "plus a mandatory 20% gratuity".

    Yeah, this tard sent me an evil text calling me a stupid, cheap Arab immigrant because of my opinion on minimum wage. Then he must have done a little research and sent another going off on cheap Jews. When I responded that I included a 20% tip with it, he didn't even have the nads to apologize. What a clown?
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    The problem around here is, the companies with the majority of the work pay a flat $12.00 an hour but not for the hours worked but the contract hours. They also include a gratuity in the bill but do not pass that on to the chauffeur, so the client gets out of the limo and says tip is included, thanks for a great night. Quite the ripoff and they wonder why great chauffeurs won't work for them.
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    Super Moderator Limo Scene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cedar Mill Limousine View Post
    I agree on the last point. But, in tongue in cheek arguement, there is often a big deal made between the distinction between chauffeur and driver. And yes, I do feel that 1) wait staff should get paid more than min. wage. 2) a firefighter should get paid more than a chauffeur...but also, there are a lot of volunteer firefighters in this area. But to your point, maybe the pay scale is just a little lower in your area. That is certainty possible as I do not know the cost of living by you (that is not meant as anything more than just that the COL is different everywhere).
    You know Rich...you have some valid points. I agree there is a difference in drivers and chauffeurs for sure. Driver's, like taxi cab drivers, medical couriers etc. who drive a regular car all day long should get minimum wage. It is a non-skilled profession requiring no special skills outside of a driver's license and a pulse. No high scholl education is even needed. What minimum wage should be to sustain one's self is subjective and a whole other debate - but it is what it is and people have certain stations in life. That is society. There are those at much higher stations in life than me and those way beneath me. Going to college and getting a degree is a personal choice and generally commands a higher pay. That is not to say there are many chauffeurs with a degree that present themselves as well educated, articulate, well-mannered and well-heeled. They should get more than minimum wage for their knowledge and skill. But not so much that it is unrealistic for the level of skill needed for the job.

    You are also right about the COL in each area and you are right, our economy in Bakersfield is far, far less than Los Angeles, a mere 1.5 hours away. Here, you can buy a 2500 square foot house for about $160,000 in an upscale neighborhood. In L.A., that same house would be $250,000. So, the wages I posted that I pay are indeed relative to the scale of economy for my own city. I live in a city known for ag and oil. The field workers make minimum wage and it is big business here. So, for those with no formal education $15.00 and hour is great money here without tips.
    Jim A. Luff
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    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff Levine View Post
    Rich, I have to adamantly disagree that firefighters should get paid more than a chauffeur. Don't get me wrong though, I love and support firefighters. But that's part of the problem. They have a job where everyone loves them. There are so many guys lined up to do the job for free, why should they be paid more? They get paid to work out and sleep. Not to mention that wearing the uniform or showing the badge will get them dates with the most beautiful women. Don't forget the regular benefits, and the wink wink benefits of not getting tickets(99%). No, they definitely don't need to be paid more. I'd do it for free. Also, before you mention they risk their lives for us, that's another benefit. These guys love the adreneline rush and the chance to be a bonefide hero. Once again, I'd do it for free.
    Point well taken Geoff! My brother in law is one of those "volunteer" firefighters. He carries a pager and rushes out the door even during a family dinner (but not during prayer...but you better believe if his father is praying it seems to speed up to get him out the door!). He is happily married and is straight -laced so he really doesn't get all the bennies you mentioned, but he sure loves his "hobby" (they do get paid a small flat amount for each call they respond to).
    Rich Rottier
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