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Thread: How to position yourself for a tip?

  1. #16
    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    Best way to get overtipped - if the bill is an odd number (like $538 or $794), always give the client the break. For instance, it's time to pay and the total is $533. The client asks how much they owe. As you watch them count the money and they do not have anything smaller than a $20 bill, tell them "you can just give me $520 if you don't have anything smaller - you've been a great customer and I appreciate it". I have done this many times in the livery business and the trucking business. 99% of the time they have not only given $540 (ex.), but then extra on top. People appreciate someone who is not thinking about themselves.
    Rich Rottier
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  2. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cedar Mill Limousine View Post
    Sorry, one more thing...I feel that if the client is not happy (no matter what the reason), the blame falls on the company - be it poor training or poor oversight. If your chauffeur sucks so bad that the client under tipped him/her on purpose, then you need to ask why he/she is still working for you.
    Maybe you misunderstood what I said, We very rarely have a problem. This is why it works for us, I never said it works for every company. I had more problems with the drivers who always expected their 20% versus the chauffeurs who actually earned their tip. I forgot to mention that my chauffeurs do make a base hourly pay before any gratuities.

  3. #18
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    I always use this line... "We never force a tip into the final price, we allow you to tip for whatever you feel the service was worth". After 5 years I still don't force a set tip into the price, rarely do myself or my drivers pull a bad or no tip. My guys usually get $75 (Limo) or $100+ (bus) on a 4 or 5 hour night, sometimes more, sometimes less, but they work for it.

    My guys don't just sit during a run, they empty trash, sweep floors, clean windows, detail exterior, help the ladies out of the bus, etc. We don't sit on our booties.
    Last edited by Digger; July 21st, 2010 at 07:42 PM.

  4. #19
    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    I didn't misunderstand, I was not really talking about your company. Just in general, if your service and chauffeurs are good - why does it matter if the gratuity is mandatory or not? Think of it this way, instead of referring to as gratuity, think of it as pay and if they receive a tip above and beyond, then great. If the client is not happy with the service, we will refund based on the situation.
    Rich Rottier
    219.808.0976 | richrottier@gmail.com

  5. #20
    Senior Member Jon Hook's Avatar
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    Wow, I guess I must be the odd one out here. Personally for me, if I am a customer someplace (be it a restaurant or hotel or whatever), if I see a gratuity amount built in to the price, I am highly offended and won't go back. I do mention in our company literature that the gratuity is not included in the price. To me a gratuity is something extra to be earned by the chauffeur or given by the client under free will. I do not expect it, nor do I use it in any form of calculation as I price our services. I charge what I need to charge to send out the cars and I pay my chauffeurs a good rate for working. Such that if they don't get an extra tip, they still earned their money for their time out. If they do get extra, it is just that - extra, and they are very happy for it. We have only one other company in town as competition and they do charge the 20% gratuity as a mandatory part of their fee. Part of the reason for that is that they don't give good enough service to earn it so they have to get it up front. I refuse to do business that way and people are pleasantly surprised when they call us and see that we do not charge the grat up front. All of a sudden they start to get a sense of how we do business and how the other company does business.

    I just don't think I could bring myself to require a tip. If something is required then it is part of the cost.
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  6. #21
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    I too think a mandatory tip, service charge or what ever you want to call it is a bit tacky. I do however feel it is OK to mention in your sales presentation that a gratutity is customary. Some Chauffeurs are worth a large tip but many hardly earn the hourly rate they are paid by the company.

  7. #22
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    I think the gratuity added in tends to be a market driven situation. In MD it has seemed to be the norm that the tip is included. And frankly I find it to be a good idea for corporate as well as retail work. Nights out tend to be a group of people pooling their money and going out, if you get the tip upfront at least your chauffeur is taken care of for the crap he will probably face with a bunch of drunk people. Wedding days there is so much going on for the wedding party that sometimes the chauffeur gets missed being taken care of. As a chauffeur it was nice to know I would be taken care of, but probably 60% of the time I received addittional monies from clients because I exceeded their expectations. It was always great to hear at the end of the night, " I know your tip is included here is some extra for providing us with a great evening", I then knew my job was complete.
    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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    What I usually do is stick my hand out and clear my throat. It gets the job done.
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    Westfield Limousine Service Inc.
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  9. #24

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    8 people or more together in a restaurant tip is automatically....

  10. #25

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    I find that people that don't tip feel they paid to much for the service or they are cheap. Or you can do like "Ryan's", would you like to put the drviers tip on credit card or pay the driver directly.

  11. #26
    Super Moderator Limo Scene's Avatar
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    I have been following this thread and chomping at the bit to respond as you know this has always been a sore subject with me. I am going to break it down how I see it:

    #1 - NO ONE is entitled to a TIP. Tips became known as such through the acronym of T.I.P.S. - a gratuity or GIFT To Insure Prompt Service. Could you imagine a waitress coming to work knowing that everyone of her customers would be FORCED to give her 20% of the bill? Where is the incentive to check back often, refill beverages promptly, clear plates as they are finished etc. There is no incentive and no one should be entitled to a tip BEFORE service is ever rendered as it removes any incentive. If you are worth a shit, you will get tipped!

    #2 - The analogy of a restaurant is unfair. If I have a party of more than 8, you can bet that server is working his/her ass off to service that table and I usually tip above and beyond the mandated tip when I see someone hustling.

    #3 - Telling a client during the reservations process that a gratuity is not included and "left to your discretion based on the service you receive" is usually enough to pass on the message. But, if they don't tip a whole 15% or 20% and instead bestow a $50 bill on the chauffeur - perfect! You can only empty the trash and add ice so many times. Outside of that, your job is to drive the car - so drive the car!

    #4 - In the event that your chauffeur does get stiffed, send them this letter:

    Dear Client:

    Recently we provided limousine service for you and we enjoyed doing so and look forward to serving you again.

    During the processing of our paperwork, our chauffeurs are required to report the amount of cash tips they received for tax withholding purposes as required by the IRS. Your chauffeur reported he/she received no tip at all from you.

    We are concerned that perhaps the service did not meet your expectations. Possibly we were late or your limousine was dirty or in some other way not up to our normal standards. Whatever the reason, if you were dissatisfied in any way with our service, we would like to hear from you so that we might have an opportunity to correct the problem.

    If by chance it was an oversight on your part, we understand and want you to know our contact with you today is only to make sure everything was as you expected.

    Please feel free to call us at xxx-xxxx if you have any questions or comments.

    Thank you for allowing us to serve you.

    Sincerely,


    Customer Service Representative

    #5 - Pay your chauffeurs enough of an hourly wage that tips on top of their wages are icing on the cake and don't expect them to make a living off their tips. They will be more secure in their jobs knowing it is not an "iffy" thing. I have employees that have been with us for more than 15 years and the average time an employee has been with us is seven years.

    #6 - With the introduction of limo-buses, stretched SUV's and other large high capacity vehicles that charter for as much as $200 an hour, you are talking about an "assesment" of $40 per hour in gratuity PLUS hourly wages. That kind of income exceeds that of firefighters, paramedics, physician assistants, police officers and many other professions that risk their lives or save lives for a living and that to me is absurd!

    That's my take on it!
    Jim A. Luff
    Forum Moderator
    Contributing Editor & Consultant - LCT Magazine

    Limousine Scene - An Award Winning Company Since 1990
    Bakersfield, CA
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  12. #27

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    Everyone gets a tip from me even when they provide poor service just not as much. Should everyone be required to tip depends on the market you service.

  13. #28

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    Jim, I couldn't have said it any better than that, Exactly the point I was trying to get across.

  14. #29
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    Jim: You forgot school bus drivers but I get the idea. I agree, $40.00 an hour tip is a bit much for even the best Chauffeur or motor coach driver.

  15. #30
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    Jim, I do not disagree, but the real issue is how companies pay chauffeurs. In the MD market without a 20% gratuity built in, you would have very few people willing to work. They would not make any money, certainly not enough to live off of. In MD and I am guessing, most companies are paying on average $8.00 an hour for the contract hours, not acutal hours worked. There are a few that pay $10-12.00 but they are adding the gratuity in and not paying the chauffeur the gratuity. The pay for CDL work is more but not that much more. I have seen companies restrict pay for proms to $150.00 for 10 hours worth of work which the gratuity only for that job would have been over $200.00 without an hourly wage. One might say that 15.00 hour is not bad pay but the same applies during prom season so many owners say that is when they can make some good money, same applies to chauffeurs. And one other thing, the job if one is doing it well is much more than adding ice and picking up trash and driving. That comment, sad to say sounds like something an owner would say!
    I want to die while asleep like my grandfather,
    not screaming in terror like the passengers in his car.

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