Why being a chauffeur is about so much more than safe driving.
If you’re considering hiring a private chauffeur it’s prudent to think about what exactly you’d like the role to entail, as these days the job is about much more than a clean driving licence.
Traditionally a chauffeur is a skilled driver, employed to safely transport their employer as and when they need. That remains the case, but the modern-day chauffeur – whether employed by a family or on a corporate basis – must also be skilled in a range of other areas.
As a bare minimum, chauffeurs must be polite, professional, well organised, mechanically-minded and – importantly – discrete.
The role can be an extremely rewarding one, as chauffeurs visit many different locations and regularly meet new people – it’s an ideal career choice for people who enjoy driving and delivering high-quality customer service.
What a family chauffeur role entails
The duties of private chauffeur vary greatly depending on the requirements of your employer. Generally, tasks include:
- Driving your employer and their associates between various locations,
- Driving the client’s family members between locations including to school or social events,
- Helping passengers with luggage,
- Restocking the vehicle with refreshments and other items that passengers might wish to have during their journey,
- Giving passengers information about their journey,
- Performing small errands,
- Opening doors for all passengers,
- Helping passengers get in and out of the vehicle,
- Keeping the vehicle clean and in excellent running order (mechanically speaking).
A family chauffeur may also be asked to perform other duties including going shopping on behalf of the family and carrying shopping bags. Chauffeurs’ working hours can vary hugely, depending on the unique requirements of each employer
What an executive chauffeur role includes
Driving for the employee of a company is known as either an executive chauffeur or a corporate chauffeur. The role is similar to that of a family chauffeur, but if anything tends to be more formal. This is not always the case though and is entirely dependent on the individual(s) and company in question.
The job tends to be about airport and hotel shuttles for employees and their clients, as well as transport to meetings and engagements.
How to become a chauffeur
As a minimum, a chauffeur must have a valid UK driving license. Having a clean record for safe driving is also important because most employers will not hire a chauffeur with any penalty points on their driver’s license. A chauffeur should have at least 3 years of driving experience.
Some employers will require chauffeurs to have completed a safe driving course or an advanced driving course.
Examples of advanced driving courses:
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) offers a wide range of courses and seminars including:
- Driving for work course,
- Avoiding collisions seminar,
- Alcohol awareness seminar,
- Confidence post-incident training,
- Speed awareness seminar,
- Night driving for work workshop,
- Familiarisation with UK Driving course.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) also has a chauffeur-training course that is designed to improve the level of safety and security that chauffeurs provide to clients. Attendees will learn:
- Potential safety and security risks that occur when chauffeuring VIPs to their destinations,
- Defensive driving techniques,
- Professional car cleaning techniques,
- Chauffeur etiquette,
- How to develop the attitude and skills required to be a chauffeur.
The British Chauffeurs Guild has a home study training course that teaches the fundamental aspects of being a chauffeur, such as:
- Car care,
- Personal presentation including attire and personal hygiene,
- Pickup and drop off procedures,
- Safe motoring and driving techniques,
- Information about IAM and RoSPA tests,
- How to be a security-minded chauffeur.
Successful completion of this course gives participants the Standard Diploma of Merit and the Guilds ‘Chauffeurs Permit’. Membership to the British Chauffeurs Guild requires approval, which is determined by your skills and experience as a chauffeur. But membership significantly boosts your prospects of finding work as a chauffeur.
What do you need to become a chauffeur?
- Basic knowledge of vehicle maintenance,
- Experience in a customer service or hospitality role,
- Security awareness and self-defence skills,
- First aid qualifications,
- The ability to be flexible and accommodating for clients,
- Strong geographical knowledge and ability to navigate in difficult traffic environments,
- The ability to speak one or more foreign languages is a bonus,
- The ability to be polite, considerate and diplomatic,
- Discretion and the ability to maintain a client’s privacy.
If you would like to take on a chauffeur, please contact Melissa Offer Private Staffing on +44(0) 207 101 3173. The same number applies if you are considering a career as a private, family or executive chauffeur. We look forward to hearing from you.