Chauffeur vs driver – what is the difference?

You need transportation but are not sure whether to hire a professional driver service or a corporate chauffeur service?

People hire both to drive them in a passenger vehicle but there are some differences between drivers and chauffeurs.

chauffeur carrying bags - chauffeur driver - professional chauffeur
Should you expect from the driver to carry you bags, like the chauffeur?

Every chauffeur is certainly a driver, but is every driver a chauffeur?

In this article you will find out all about:

1. The type of service drivers and chauffeurs provide

Let’s start with the drivers and chauffeurs definitions.

What is a driver?

Driver definition: A driver is a person who has only one task – to operate a vehicle and drive you from one place to another.

driver - driving - driver operating the vehicle
Driver operating the vehicle

What about the chauffeur?

What is a chauffeur per se?

How should we define a chauffeur?

A chauffeur is more than a person behind the wheel. As the title suggests, chauffeurs are professionals who will get you to your destination in a safe, elegant, and sophisticated manner.

The chauffeur is there to serve you, assist you with entering and exiting the vehicle, and carry your luggage if you need so.

professional chauffeur opening the car doors - professional chauffeur service
Professional chauffeur

With professional chauffeur service, you can arrange an airport transfer with plenty of time to spare before the flight, a scenic route to see the sights or direct transportation to your meeting.

In addition, chauffeurs are readily available to offer transportation services to and from the other types of events, including:

  • Birthday parties
  • Prom nights
  • Bachelor/bachelorette parties
  • Weddings and other special occasions
  • Sporting events
  • Concerts

Qualities of a chauffeur

The main personality traits shared by professional chauffeurs are politeness, calmness, and courtesy. Respecting the client’s time and privacy is imperative in the industry.

Therefore, punctuality, discretion, and trustworthiness make desirable qualities. All conversations and actions in the back of the car stay private and confidential.

Besides the differences between driver and chauffeur, flexible working hours are something common for both of them. Late nights, early mornings, weekends, extended working hours, or having to be absent for a couple of days are all part of the job.

chauffeur waiting in front of a limo
Chauffeur in front of a limo

2. The difference in driver vs chauffeur quality of service

Can anyone be a driver?

Given low or no special requirements, anyone can be a driver.

They see their task as mere transportation between two points, regardless of who or what they transport. The service you get from drivers is simple, without any special perks or treatment.

driver holding drivers license - drivers license - driver
Driver holding a licence

On the other side.

Unlike drivers, not everyone can become a professional chauffeur.

The criteria for the position are high.

Besides managing the vehicle well, chauffeurs are able to manage themselves and keep everything under their control. Ride with them is pleasant, comfortable, and most importantly safe and stress-free.

Additionally, when you hire a chauffeur you can expect a personalized treatment.

Chauffeurs focus on providing the best quality of transport according to the taste of each and every client. These might include special amenities to be included in the limo, special decorations, playing music or a movie to watch during the ride, or the simple pleasure of a cup of coffee after a long day.

In the world of professional chauffeured services, the customer always comes first.

3. Required training and experience for a chauffeur

When applying for the driver’s position, the only requirements are to be above 18 or 21, depending on the law of the country, to own and/or be able to operate a four-wheeler and to have a driver’s license and insurance.

This allows just about anyone to become a driver.

For the position of a chauffeur, there is no specific educational requirement either.

However, there are some general requirements like meeting the minimum age, clean driving and criminal records, not having a history of major traffic incidents, obtaining a chauffeur’s license.

Knowledge of other languages is desirable, while English is a must.

professional chauffeur
Professional Chauffeur

While drivers’ task is to drive passengers from one point to another, chauffeurs are there to serve their customers which makes them subject to some extensive background checks.

The chauffeur must be able to provide a safe and pleasant ride to the clients. They must develop defensive driving skills and learn how to be patient and rational in every situation.

Therefore, companies send their future chauffeurs to training courses prior to their employment. Part of the knowledge they receive:

  • knowledge of the laws and road regulations
  • traffic patterns
  • driving in extreme conditions
  • changing a flat tire
  • landmarks and other city attractions
  • ongoing events
  • etiquette and nice manners

4. Driver vs chauffeur training and requirements differences

Training for these two seemingly similar professions differs a lot. To be a driver you have to fulfill only a few requirements. The requirements are:

  1. To have a driver’s license
  2. You must not test positive for drugs and alcohol
  3. You must not have a criminal record.

To become a chauffeur you also have to fulfill these requirements and many more. The chauffeur training entails much more than these three basics. Listed below are some of them.

  1. Defensive driving techniques
  2. How to recognize potential dangers that may compromise security and safety while chauffeuring VIPs to their destinations
  3. Car etiquette – What to do or not do when entering and leaving the car
  4. Positive attitude and approach to the job 
  5. Professional car cleaning

As you can see, a chauffeur is way more than a simple driver. He or she is able to avoid dangers while driving, make their customers feel safe and good.

professional chauffeur
Professional chauffeur on the road | Source: Unsplash

They know how to clean the car thoroughly, this is very important, especially today.

Chauffeurs know how to approach every customer and provide ultimate customer service.

Driver training

To become a driver you must have a driver’s license. You cannot have a criminal record, and must not use drugs and alcohol.

It is as simple as that.

Training for chauffeurs

Transporting everyone from business experts, superstars, lawmakers, to vacationers is the job of a chauffeur.

You may think that driving a vehicle is simple, but chauffeurs have to go to special training to learn how to move and control different vehicles while escorting their travelers. 

They mostly build these skills by taking courses. There are different courses for chauffeurs available at expert schools, neighborhood universities as well as in professional associations that specialize in chauffeur training.

What are the requirements for taking a chauffeur course?

In order to undergo chauffeur training, an individual must meet all criteria regarding the law for drivers. 

For example, they must be at least of legal age for driving and possess a state driver’s license too. This means you have to be a driver before you start your chauffeur training. 

Driving like a professional

College or training programs require applicants to have a high school diploma or complete college-level coursework.

Training programs for chauffeurs differ in length

Depending on the course the training classes may last one, three, or five days. Some may last even longer.

Not all training courses for chauffeurs are the same

Some training courses for chauffeurs focus on the fundamental duties of a chauffeur, others include different driving techniques. Some even end with a driver’s test to check that the person has successfully learned all that is expected. 

Chauffeur educational programs include:

  1. Safeguard procedures
  2. Oral and interpersonal communication
  3. Customer service
  4. Limousine training
  5. Current chauffeur rules and guidelines
  6. Security awareness
  7. Driver etiquette
  8. Geography of cities

Goals of chauffeur training

One of the main goals of this type of training is to learn how to adequately manage clients and transfer them to their destinations safely. 

Some people progress even further and become dispatchers, directors of limousine companies, or even start their own limousine services.

5. Chauffeur vs driver – dress code

A distinctive difference between driver and chauffeur lies in their appearance, namely their uniforms.

Regular drivers’ appearance tends to not be quite formal. They typically wear a standard suit or a shirt and jacket with a logo of their company.

It can also happen to see a driver dressed in shorts, sandals, and a Hawaiian shirt. They don’t pay much attention to their appearance and are usually only interested in getting as many fares as possible.

On the other side, in the professional chauffeur industry, the dress code is of great importance.

Chauffeurs are required to look very polished, be well-groomed, and dressed in a clean and pressed black suit or tuxedo, dress shirt, and matching ties and shoes.

They may also wear black or white gloves, a hat and an overcoat that matches their suit during the winter season. Their appearance must be elegant, classy and spotless. For all these reasons, there is a pride for the job and a subtle dignity in their attitude.

chauffeur - chauffeur dress code - professional chauffeur

6. The type of vehicles chauffeurs and drivers drive

Regular transportation services use mass-production vehicles.

Drivers are not required to maintain their vehicles, so delay and a car break-down can easily happen. Even though this is inexcusable for travelers, there is nothing you can do if such a problem occurs.

Meanwhile, professional chauffeurs are employed to transport clients in limousines, luxury sedans, or executive vans, along with other types of high-quality vehicles.

A chauffeur service usually operates a fleet of both standard and luxury vehicles where passengers can select the type of vehicle they wish to be transported in. Whichever type you choose, you are sure to get a professional, comfortable, and confidential service.

Professional limo services are known to have a wide range of luxuries in their vehicles.

The flat TV screen, a computer, a sound system, free Wi-Fi connection, air-conditioning, a mini-bar, and interchangeable lights make standard amenities. Some might have game consoles and a dance floor for some more of a fun time.

Other than that, limousines are known for their extra leg-room, high-quality upholstery, and comfortable seats.

Another difference between driver and chauffeur is that the chauffeur is responsible for the maintenance of the vehicles, both external and internal. But being a chauffeur is a fun and rewarding career.

They share some of the most important moments of their customers’ lives, which makes their profession important and valuable.

Who were the first chauffeurs?

Now when we know what differs chauffeurs from drivers in the modern era a question reveals itself.

Who were the first chauffeurs? What was their job description? 

Back in the day, chauffeurs were personal servants of the car owners. They were driving their bosses around and at the same time maintaining the vehicles.

The term chauffeur says a lot about their job in the past. When translated French word “chaufer” has the meaning of stoker. 

And this is what early chauffeurs did. They stoked the engines of the earliest automobiles. These engines were steam-powered and required a little work to get going. The engine had to be preheated to start. 

The earliest versions of petrol-powered cars were started by “hot tubes” in the cylinder head. The tubes needed to be heated before the engine started.

All this was done by the chauffeur.

 After the initial ignition, the engine would continue to operate due to the natural compression cycle which kept the tubes at the appropriate temperature.  

The job of a chauffeur didn’t end there. They took care of car maintenance and cleaning the vehicle. They were also expert mechanics, since the cars used to break down very often and the tire punctures were not a rare occurrence.

In the late 19th century the term chauffeur described people who were skilled automobilists. Americans also used this term instead of the term driver, because the best cars came from France and also because of the big friendship with the French people.

After this era the meaning of the term chauffeur evolved to today’s modern understanding that we talked about in this article. 

driver vs chauffeur conclusion - driving - driving mercedes benz
Chauffeur in a ride

Driver vs Chauffeur – Conclusion

At first thought, the differences between a driver and a chauffeur might appear negligible.

However, if we sum up all of the above, a conclusion is that the professional chauffeur provides you with the highest quality of service including:

  • only the best vehicles, luxurious, comfortable and neat,
  • a safe ride with trained, experienced and focused chauffeur,
  • a strong impression left by chauffeur’s impeccable appearance and manners,
  • a royal treatment no one can be immune to.

The moment you wish to feel like a royal for a day, refer to EdelSwiss – we will make your wish come true.

5 4 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Do you want to travel in style? Request a price for your trip today!

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x