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Thread: Limo Drivers Salary

  1. #16
    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Limo Scene View Post
    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.
    That does make more sense, Jim. Here in Indiana (suburb of Chicago, but still Indiana) a 2100 square foot house is worth $250K - $300K depending on area.
    Rich Rottier
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  2. #17
    Super Moderator Limo Scene's Avatar
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    That is disgusting to crap on people like that. They have to come in early to get the car. They have paperwork to do. They have a car to set up. They have a car to clean up. They have to get gas. They should be paid for every single moment of time they spend taking care of YOUR business.

    Geoff, you hit a raw nerve on the firefighter thing. My wife has been a member of the fire service for over a decade. I can tell you that you must have a college degree to even be considered for getting hired on here. The oral interview, the physical agility test and the academy are grueling. Less the 1/4 of those who apply make it all the way through. There is no doubt that the benefits are excellent. But there are many sacrifices. If our anniversary falls on a shift day, that's too bad. My wife is forced to carry a pager and if it is activated she must leave and any plans we had are canceled. If she is sent to a wildland fire like you had in your city several years ago, she can remain on location for up to 20 days straight. If there is a major emergency when your shift ends, you are not going home. When a child dies and she has done all she can to save him, she is in mental agony for days - but true professionals never show that outside their house. They get traumatized regularly - just as military people do from dealing with horrible situations. She has nightmares. She is required to take continuing education courses all the time. Most volunteers would not do that. Volunteers/reserve firefighters are great but will never have the committment of a career fire service member. People have a perception that they sit around the station all day waiting for a call. Not true. Their are duties every single day - all day long and if a call interupts those duties, they must do them later. There are hydrant checks, facility inspections in your district, station maintenance, vehicle maintenance, gardening duties, cooking duties etc. and then there is the whole interuption of sleep and that is very, very unhealthy.

    I'm done now - but I told you, that hit a nerve. Oh, by the way, my wife just got a ticket for talking on her cell phone so that badge and dept. ID didn't do squat for her. I tried to load a photo of her but don't know how to do it. Maybe I will just add it to my album...
    Jim A. Luff
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  3. #18
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    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.
    That makes me wonder a little bit. Please tell me the difference between a driver and a chauffeur. First of all, maybe my french is a little rusty after all those years, but for sure I still know that "chauffeur" is french and means nothing more than "driver".

    But besides those little details... what exactly do you mean by special skills? I think if you pay a good salary many "drivers" could be great "chauffeurs". There are no special skills required. Unless you define special skill being kind and courteous. Now, do you really think that if you have a college degree some manager would be interested in your "special skill" you have earned at college? Another question would be for me - if you have a college degree and you have all those "special skills" - why are you just a "chauffeur" and not a big potato in some Fortune 500 Company making $$$?

    I would pay any good "driver" with no "special skill" a better salary than a bad "chauffeur" with some "special skills".

    Although I must admit - "chauffeur" certainly sounds way nicer and most cab drivers are really horrible and miserable.

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    Jim you are correct, it is terrible to crap on people like that, especially ones that do a great job. I would go back and drive if it was possible to make a living doing it. I don't need much but paying below min wage is a crime in my mind. In my area a 2000 sq ft home in a fair area can run $300,000. There are some that pay a meager $12.00 to do an airport that can take them 3 hours to complete. And all they are told is if you do them you will get a shot at 5-6 hours at $12.00 an hour. Big deal!! By the time you drive to work and pay for fuel and possibily lunch you can be in a negative. But I have heard a rumor that a employment lawyer has some interest in looking into filing a lawsuit for these guys. Could get ugly for this company.
    I want to die while asleep like my grandfather,
    not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.

  5. #20
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    Fire fighters definitely get a lot of goodies just on their name. A few years ago my car was hit in the back by a fire engine. My driver told me that the fire engine was following too close and was going too fast in traffic. Guess what, the police made a report that my driver put the car in reverse instead of drive and hit the fire engine and he found 2 witnesses to support his report. Talk about honesty and professionalism; not to mention my driver was on FDR (Major highway) going 10-15 MPH in traffic. I spent $2400.00 to fix that car. I knew if I were to take this matter any further, I would end up spending more money and time.

    It is dangerous to give more power, authority and trust to any hard hats. With all the respect, I do respect their work, but they should be where they belong and I think they all have been placed a little higher than reality. I agree with Geoff, but of course, there are exceptions to every situation.

    Sorry for changing the topic, but a nerve was hit somewhere…
    Last edited by bluelimos; February 18th, 2010 at 10:19 PM.

  6. #21

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    Rich, tell your brother in law I said he's a hell of a stud for volunteering to do such a great and needed job.

    Limo Wire, it's companies like that who need to be sued and/or turned into the labor board. Especially if they are actually charging the client "gratuity" and then keeping it from the chauffeur. That's total BS. Also, the chauffeur needs to be paid for all hours worked(gassing up, icing up, whatever).
    Tough times don't last. Tough people do.

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  7. #22
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    L8, I disagree being a chauffeur does require soft skills that not everyone has. You have to be part conceirge, part therapist, well spoken, you have to be able to think outside the box when it comes to providing great service, I have hired enough chauffeurs and drivers over the years, not everyone possesses those skills. You have to have a large enough throat to choke down your pride even when you know your client got it all wrong. Not everyone can do that. It requires much more than being polite.

    Geoff, I hope things work out for these chauffeurs and they get all that they are entitled to. At least one of them was smart enough to dial a number from a TV lawyers ad and it sounds like the lawyer has some interest in helping them.
    I want to die while asleep like my grandfather,
    not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.

  8. #23
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    L8, I disagree being a chauffeur does require soft skills that not everyone has. You have to be part conceirge, part therapist, well spoken, you have to be able to think outside the box when it comes to providing great service, I have hired enough chauffeurs and drivers over the years, not everyone possesses those skills. You have to have a large enough throat to choke down your pride even when you know your client got it all wrong. Not everyone can do that. It requires much more than being polite.
    Limo Wire, I actually think you agreed without knowing it. I wrote
    Unless you define special skill being kind and courteous.
    .
    So, the "soft skills" like part concierge, part therapist, etc. aren't "special skills" you have to go to college for - right? You said you hired a lot of chauffeurs and drivers (where do you make the difference - who is chauffeur who is driver?) and not everyone possesses those skills. Where they all higher educated folks?
    You see, what I mean is that you - as a driver/chauffeur - have to have certainly all that you mentioned. But you don't need any degree or "special skill" unless you define "special skill" as something I would define as a basic understanding of customer service.
    A special skill for me is something like "fluent in one or more foreign languages, computer proficiencies, etc" - pretty much everything what is SPECIAL.
    Providing "great service" is not a special skill but, again, a basic part of our business.

  9. #24
    Super Moderator Limo Scene's Avatar
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    Let me give my definition of drivers vs. chauffuers.

    A chauffeur knows where every major hotel in town is and is usually friends with the concierges. He knows where the luggage carts are stored if no bellman is in attendance and will assist the client as far as to their room if needed. He knows to call the hotel or have the dispatcher call the hotel in advance of arrival if the client has a lot of luggage or needs assistance on arrival.

    He knows the lingo of the charter business including the phoenetic alphabet for tail numbers. He knows the people that park the plane and service the plane are linemen and knows the signals of when to pull to the plane door to load guests. He knows never to drive under the wing of an airplane.

    He knows when to get off the interstate and what side roads to use in the event of an accident.

    He knows the doormen at the clubs and can get his passengers to the front of the line and in many cases pay no cover charge.

    Most importantly, his/her hair is clean and neat. His/Her white shirt is WHITE and pressed. The suit is clean and pressed. The shoes are polished and the manners are impeccable.
    Jim A. Luff
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  10. #25
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    L8 I have known MBA's that couldn't provide great service with a flashlight and a road map or for the 21st century folks a GPS. Just because they did not get these skills from book learnin, does not mean these are not skills. And frankly not everyone has them.
    I want to die while asleep like my grandfather,
    not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.

  11. #26
    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Limo Scene View Post
    Let me give my definition of drivers vs. chauffuers.

    A chauffeur knows where every major hotel in town is and is usually friends with the concierges. He knows where the luggage carts are stored if no bellman is in attendance and will assist the client as far as to their room if needed. He knows to call the hotel or have the dispatcher call the hotel in advance of arrival if the client has a lot of luggage or needs assistance on arrival.

    He knows the lingo of the charter business including the phoenetic alphabet for tail numbers. He knows the people that park the plane and service the plane are linemen and knows the signals of when to pull to the plane door to load guests. He knows never to drive under the wing of an airplane.

    He knows when to get off the interstate and what side roads to use in the event of an accident.

    He knows the doormen at the clubs and can get his passengers to the front of the line and in many cases pay no cover charge.

    Most importantly, his/her hair is clean and neat. His/Her white shirt is WHITE and pressed. The suit is clean and pressed. The shoes are polished and the manners are impeccable.
    Two ways to insure that you will have chauffeurs like this: 1) training 2) pay
    Rich Rottier
    219.808.0976 | richrottier@gmail.com

  12. #27
    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Limo Wire View Post
    L8 I have known MBA's that couldn't provide great service with a flashlight and a road map or for the 21st century folks a GPS. Just because they did not get these skills from book learnin, does not mean these are not skills. And frankly not everyone has them.
    L8 back, I would have to agree with Limo Wire...example of what most in the U.S. (agreed not France) would consider the difference between a driver and a chauffeur: some taxi drivers make great chauffeurs and some livery chauffeurs make great drivers. Some people that work at a fast food joint have the special skills to be able to work in a 5 star restaurant, some of those that work in a 5 star restaurant would not have the skills to dig ditches.
    Rich Rottier
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  13. #28
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    I watched Undercover Boss after the Super Bowl, guy is COO of Waste Management, I am sure he is wicked smart, but could not perform the task of picking up trash in a timely fashion. Does he have skills of course but so do the people that work for him, skills he does not possess.

    My brother in law has a Masters in Compter Sceince, but when his computer crashes who does he call? Me with zero formal training in computers but I have a good understanding of how computers work. Could I set up a network that involves multiple locations around the world, not a chance, would not even try! When he speaks my eyes glaze over, I am sure when I speak his does the same.

    I have known limo operators that in my most desperate situation I would not throw the keys to and asked them to go do a pickup! They do not have the skills.
    I want to die while asleep like my grandfather,
    not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.

  14. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Limo Scene View Post
    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.
    I know this is an old thread, but props to your son for going above, and beyond, and providing exceptional service to his client (I believe that there is a distinction between a customer, and a client). I'm glad to see that people still teach their children the value of hard work, and not to expect anything from anyone. Having earned himself, what works out to be, an hourly rate of what he got is quite impressive. You should get out to the DC area - hourly rates of that aren't as uncommon as you'd think. Regardless of the field, it's not a bad rate.

  15. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cedar Mill Limousine View Post
    That does make more sense, Jim. Here in Indiana (suburb of Chicago, but still Indiana) a 2100 square foot house is worth $250K - $300K depending on area.
    2100 square feet for $250-300K? I'd love to be able to get a house that size for that much! I'm outside of DC, just bought a 3 level, 1 car garage townhouse (1600 sq. ft.) for $340, and that was considered a good price!

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