Research what it takes to become a chauffeur. Learn about the knowledge, licenses, skills and personal attributes needed to work as a chauffeur to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Driver Training degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
A chauffeur is a professional driver who is hired to transport people. They use limousines, vans or luxury cars, and part of their duties includes stocking the vehicles with amenities and keeping them clean. They also perform basic vehicle maintenance and must report any concerns about how the vehicle is operating. They may be self-employed, provide services for various passengers, or work for a person, business or the government. Some may be on call and respond when their clients need their services.
Post-secondary education is not usually a requirement for chauffeurs. However, you will need good driving skills, the ability to communicate well and map-reading knowledge. Limousine companies typically offer on-the-job training that can last up to two weeks. Their programs teach you customer service skills, driver safety, communications equipment operation and how to process the necessary paperwork required by the company. You could be responsible for transporting elderly or disabled citizens, requiring you to know how to handle mechanical wheelchair lifts and other health care devices.
Formal training programs are available in professional limousine and taxi driver schools and some community colleges. You’ll learn defensive driving, language enhancement and local geography. In addition to knowing how to drive, some fundamental mechanic skills might be helpful.
All motor vehicle drivers require state-issued licenses. Depending on your state, the size of your vehicle, and the number of passengers you transport, you may also require a commercial driver’s license (CDL). If you’re responsible for transporting 16 or more passengers, including yourself, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires a CDL Passenger Endorsement. In order to obtain this license, you must pass knowledge and skills tests on subjects such as loading and unloading methods, railroad crossing procedures, correct emergency exit practices and emergency response.
As part of your job, you’ll help passengers enter and exit your vehicle and make arrangements to collect customers at scheduled times and at predetermined locations. You’ll be responsible for keeping your vehicle in good working condition and performing routine maintenance, such as checking the oil, tire pressure and essential fluids. Depending on company policy, you could offer conveniences and additional luxuries to your clients, such as reading material, music or beverages. Customer service plays a large role in your job, and you might be required to carry or load luggage or other belongings. In some instances, you might take on the role of personal executive assistant (pay information here) to a passenger in addition to your driving duties.
As a chauffeur, you should possess patience and an even temperament. These qualities can be beneficial when you’re driving in heavy traffic conditions, waiting for customers or dealing with different personality types. While performing your duties, you’ll usually need to be professionally attired in a suit, dress, tuxedo or company uniform. You should be punctual and have good geographic knowledge of the areas in which you work.
Alternate careers include bus drivers and taxi cab drivers, each of which perform services that are similar to those that a chauffeur provides. Bus drivers and taxi cab drivers also transport people from one location to another. Bus drivers have predetermined routes, while taxi cab drivers drive varied routes based on the needs of their clients. Chauffeurs may perform both of these services, depending on their employer. All of these professional drivers perform basic vehicle maintenance and report concerns.
Transit bus drivers and taxi drivers may collect fares from passengers who seek airport transit services. Bus drivers need a commercial driver’s license, must meet vision, hearing and physical requirements and must complete on-the-job training. Taxi cab drivers need a driver’s license, a clean driving record, and, like chauffeurs, may also need to pass a background check. They may need to be licensed by the state or city where they work.