Becoming a Chauffeur

Similar to a taxi driver, a professional chauffeur is responsible for transporting clients from one place to another while ensuring safety and comfort.

Where the jobs differ is instead of running a meter or searching the city for passengers, chauffeurs usually have a pre-determined schedule or they work exclusively for specific clients.

If you're interested in a career as a chauffeur, here's what you'll need to consider before you get started.

Duties of a Chauffeur

The duties of a professional chauffeur can vary according to your particular job. In general, most chauffeurs either own their own vehicle or drive for a private company.

A few of the job opportunities that may be available for a chauffeur include driving for:

  • A single client.
    • Celebrities and other wealthy individuals often hire a personal driver.
  • A company.
    • Some companies have a staff of drivers responsible for escorting executives.
  • Hotels.
    • Upscale hotels will often have chauffeurs available for guests.
  • Security companies.
    • Some companies that provide security services will also have staff chauffeurs who transport clients.
  • Special events.
    • Private chauffeur companies are a popular option for clients looking for a single night of services for special events, such as:
      • Weddings.
      • Parties.
      • Funerals.
      • Birthdays.

For most of these positions, you will be required to:

  • Transport clients to and from specific destinations.
  • Assist passengers with entering and exiting the vehicle, and loading luggage.
  • Choose the quickest, safest routes.
  • Maintain a clean vehicle inside and out.

Qualities of a Good Chauffeur

As is the case with all jobs, there are specific qualities that good chauffeurs possess.

Some of these characteristics include:

  • A professional appearance.
  • Flexibility.
    • Drivers who work for individual clients may be on call even when their shift is over.
    • You may be required to work late nights.
  • A polite, calm, and courteous disposition, even with tough clients.
  • Expert knowledge of the area, including:
    • Local restaurants and bars.
    • Hotspots.
    • Best routes during peak traffic hours.
    • Shopping areas.
    • Nightclubs.
  • Responsibility.
    • Being dependable and on time is very important.
  • Excellent defensive driving skills.
  • Discretion.
    • Because of the type of clients you may be working for, it's best to keep all actions and conversations confidential.

Requirements to be Chauffeur

The exact requirements you'll need to complete in order to become a professional chauffeur can vary according to the city and state you'll be working. In general, to become a chauffeur you will likely need to:

  • Meet your state's minimum age requirements.
  • Agree to a background check.
    • Ensures drivers don't have a criminal record.
  • Have a clean driving history.
    • Any major incidents may be cause for disqualification.
  • Obtain a chauffeur's license.
    • Required for some but not all states.
    • Passing specific tests is often necessary.
  • Apply for a commercial driver's license (CDL), if necessary
    • If the vehicle you'll be driving can transport 16 passengers or more, obtaining a CDL will be required under federal regulations.
  • Complete on-the-job training.
    • If you plan to work for a private chauffeur company, a training period may be required.
    • Training often includes:
      • Local traffic laws.
      • Driver safety.
      • Overview of routes and traffic patterns.
      • Operating communication equipment.
      • Customer-service practices.
      • Operation of specific vehicles.

General Salary Expectations

The salary expectations for chauffeurs can depend upon:

  • The flexibility of your schedule.
    • The ability to work long hours and late nights will increase your pay.
  • The company you work for.
    • Some companies will pay you a salary if employed full time.
    • If you own your own vehicle, you'll receive more of the profits, but clients aren't guaranteed—which means your pay won't be, either.
      • You'll also be responsible for the vehicle's maintenance costs.
  • Compensation from tips.
    • Chauffeurs often receive tips from clients, which can significantly increase your take-home pay.

Talk to other professional drivers you know in your state of residence to get an average figure for how much you can expect to make as a chauffeur, and make sure to ask each potential employer of their compensation packages.

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