How to start a chauffeur business
Chauffeurs offer a convenient and stylish method of transportation for those who can afford their services -- most often government agencies, high-ranking businessmen or the wealthy.
Chauffeurs cater to their clients by going above and beyond, providing services such as holding umbrellas, opening doors, loading bags, and providing food, entertainment and telephone service. Some even act as assistants.
If you hold yourself to high standards and can provide exemplary customer service, running your own chauffeur business could prove quite lucrative. Start-up costs are high, however, so it's important to begin by drafting a business plan.
Obtain a chauffeur's license, if required by your state.You may also need a commercial driver's license, if you will be operating a vehicle that carries 16 or more passengers, including yourself.
Acquire luxury cars for your business. Chauffeurs may drive limousines, stretch limousines, vans or private cars, which are regularly cleaned and inspected to ensure that they are in the utmost condition. If purchasing used vehicles, ensure that both the interior and exterior are in excellent condition. Look for limos outfitted with a GPS system and amenities such as a bar, sunroof, car phone and high-definition TV.
Secure a properly zoned garage for your fleet. If operating a one-man, one-car business, you may be able to work from home. However, once you establish a fleet or hire additional drivers, you'll need to secure a location, preferably within a reasonable distance from a reliable mechanic, downtown, the airport, high-end hotels, or corporate business parks.
Purchase commercial auto liability coverage and register your vehicles with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Then obtain a Motor Carrier Identification Report from your Department of Transportation and obtain safety decals to affix to your vehicles.
Hire drivers who present a professional image, are well-groomed, have a clean driving record, are physically fit and speak well, preferably in more than one language. Train your employees on basic chauffeuring procedures. Provide them with a manual that details what they can and cannot do on the job. Outfit them with tailored uniforms.
Market your business. Establish a website and obtain high-quality business cards. Contact executive assistants at mid- to large-sized companies in your area. Get listed in local chauffeur directories.
- Going above and beyond for your clients doesn't mean allowing them to break the law. Don't allow passengers under the age of 21 to drink alcoholic beverages in your vehicles. Be prepared to work evenings and weekends.
- Chauffeur license
- Clean cars
- Department of Transportation decals
- Business cards
- Employee manual
- Garage or location