A “limousine service” represents a pre-booked hire car with a driver. Limousine doesn’t refer to a car brand but rather to car features. Limousines are considered to be large luxury sedans which usually have a glass partition separating the driver’s seat from the passenger compartment.
The concept of a chauffeured vehicle has been in existence since the 18th century. The very first limousine was developed in 1902. The first actual stretch limousine was designed in 1928, in Arkansas, USA.
A chauffeur is a person employed to drive a passenger motor vehicle, which especially refers to a luxury vehicle such as limousine. In the beginning, the automobiles were steam-powered and required an operator to stoke the engine. The word ‘chauffeur’ comes from the French language and means exactly that – the stoker. At first, only rich people could afford automobiles and the stokers were personal employees of vehicle owners. Soon, the demand for this service increased and chauffeur service companies providing both the driver and a vehicle for transporting clients were born.
Today, there is a great demand for professional limousine chauffeurs worldwide. But to become one, having a driver’s license is not enough. There are certain criteria which need to be fulfilled in order to become a part of the chauffeur service in Switzerland.
1. Duties and responsibilities
The job of a chauffeur requires transporting clients to and from specific destinations, assisting passengers with entering and exiting the vehicle, and loading their luggage. That is what differs chauffeured from taxi service. Then, professional chauffeur has to know the
Dress code is quite important in the industry. A professional chauffeur has to be well-groomed, to wear clean and pressed the black suit, a shirt, and a matching tie and shoes. Most drivers wear black or white leather gloves, too. Depending on the limousine or the corporate culture of a car service company, there are also chauffeurs who wear hats and uniforms. Inside and out maintenance of the vehicle must be the same – spotless.
Besides having an impeccable appearance, if you want to become a professional driver you might have to agree on flexible working hours. You may be required to work late nights and those who work for individual clients must be available even when their shift is over.
A professional chauffeur is a calm, polite and courteous person, even with tough clients. Respect for clients’ time and privacy is imperative. Therefore, punctuality and discretion are desirable qualities. Because of the type of clients you may be working for, it’s best to keep all actions and conversations confidential.
Besides excellent defensive driving skills, a clean driving history is required as well. Professional chauffeur also has an excellent knowledge of the area, including local hotels, bars and restaurants, hotspots, shopping areas, nightclubs and other attractions the city offers.
One of the most important traits which all chauffeurs share is their passion for exclusive and luxurious urban transport. Almost everyone in love with driving values the luxurious and impressive vehicles and driving one is a dream for many.
Working in a chauffeur service in Switzerland provides the opportunity to drive such vehicles daily. Also, chauffeurs cherish their love towards their city and its suburbs and enjoy exploring them. In fact, after only a few weeks on the road as a chauffeur, one can develop an intricate and beyond the compare knowledge of the city and the roads within it.
Additionally, chauffeur should also familiarize with limos. He should learn about all of their features, car types and sizes, which amenities clients prefer and how to troubleshoot problems which possibly may occur.
As with any job of working with people, a chauffeur must have patience. Although driving a limousine appears as a glamorous job, it doesn’t mean that chauffeurs don’t have problems with passengers. From time to time, you can find yourself dealing with unruly clients. This can include clients who drink too much at parties and other events. When this happens, you must have the patience of a saint as well as the ability to handle the situation.
The exact requirement necessary for becoming a professional chauffeur can vary according to the city or country. Anyway, there are some general requirements such as meeting the minimum age, not having a criminal record, not having a history of major traffic incidents, passing specific tests, and obtaining a chauffeur’s license.
Although there is no specific educational requirement, knowledge of languages other than mother tongue is an advantage. Good command of English is a must.
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
In Switzerland, there is also Chauffeur Limousine Academy you can enter in order to specialize for becoming licensed limousine driver or VIP chauffeur. There you can get a D1 certificate of professional competence for commercial road passenger transport. A successfully completed driving test is recognized both in the CH and EU.
Chauffeur Limousine Academy provides training in the following areas:
• Driving school,
• Vehicle maintenance and care,
• Police services (safety and security),
• Diplomatic service,
• Fleet management,
• Operational management,
• Business and hotel training management,
• Account management and hotel concierge,
• Long-standing and experienced limousine chauffeurs,
• Limousine entrepreneurs,
• Business leaders,
• Event and incentive organizations (agency).
There are many perks of working in a chauffeured service company. You will meet new people, from ordinary to VIP, visit new places, and gain some new experience each time you sit behind the wheels. Each day is a different adventure. Being a chauffeur is a fun and rewarding career. You are often around people when they celebrate important moments of their lives – proms, weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties. You can choose to work either full time or part-time, which is great if you are in need of additional income.
Regular limo users are usually ordinary people going to special events, like weddings, proms, parties, funerals, sporting events or night-outs. Those are often ‘bread-and-butter’ clients. Some companies that provide security services may also have staff chauffeurs who transport their clients. Some companies have a staff of drivers for escorting executives.
Upscale hotels usually have chauffeurs available to transport guests to and from the hotel or even around the city to sightseeing. Additionally, executives, business owners, celebrities, dignitaries, and other upper-class people often use chauffeured services when going to meetings and other events. It is also not that unusual for them to hire their very own personal driver. Consequently, there is an image of glamour associated with limo drivers.
The salary expectations for chauffeurs can depend upon the flexibility of their schedule. The ability to work long hours and late nights will increase the pay. Limo drivers can choose to work fulltime or part-time and there are companies that pay a regular monthly salary for a full-time employee. Usually, it is the driver who is responsible for the costs of vehicle maintenance.
When working with your own vehicle, you will receive more of the profit, but clients aren’t guaranteed, therefore neither is payment. On the other side, chauffeurs often receive generous tips from clients, which can significantly increase the overall gain.
So, if you are passionate about driving, you have above-mentioned characteristics and would like to become a part of the chauffeur service in Switzerland, or in your country of residence, find the information about open vacations in your area.
You can do it by searching the internet, visiting limo companies or by inquiring other professional chauffeurs. And do your best at the tests, this job is worth it.