What does the chauffeur do?
The duties of a chauffeur
The duties of the professional chauffeur
More than a butler on wheels
A professional chauffeur is expected to perform many duties. Often no two days are alike in this line of work. A chauffeur’s daily routine may not be very routine after all. The bespoke nature of the profession keeps the job interesting and a challenge. But there are some fundamental duties that a chauffeur will have to perform on a daily basis. A chauffeur is sometimes the one constant in a sea of change. Always on hand to help, assist and support the client in a myriad of ways. Described as a ‘butler on wheels’, the chauffeur needs to be flexible as they are dependable. Concierge work is often diverse and can be challenging. Juggling the demands of the client whilst remaining calm and unflappable is no easy trick. But driving safely & smoothly is mandatory.
The basics of the profession
The basics of what the professional chauffeur does will give you an idea of the fundamental duties.
- Driving – Picking up passengers and dropping them off at the destinations
- Route planning – Considering traffic and weather when planning routes
- Follow the route – Following GPS devices and ‘mental’ route
- Luggage assistance – Helping passengers with shopping, bags or luggage
- A helping hand – Assisting passengers to safely board and alight from the vehicle
- Informing the passengers – Keeping passengers updated with their journey status
- Informing the office – Keeping the office informed of any developments
- Maintaining the shine – Cleaning and maintaining the vehicle
The art of driving
The best chauffeurs’ pull away serenely and glide to a gentle stop. They drive with great anticipation. Reading the road ahead to allow plenty of time to react in order to give the most comfortable ride, for the passengers. It is an art. The devil is in the details. And so is the joy. Chauffeur driving skills for example can make a great difference to the safety and comfort of the passengers. Plus the carbon footprint and emissions of the journey.
"It’s the same technique whether you’re driving a road car or a race car."
Sir Jackie Stewart, triple F1 world champion
A helping hand
Passenger and luggage assistance
Opening the passenger’s doors is an important task for any chauffeur. Knowing when to offer a supporting arm to assist the client alight the vehicle is important. Opening the doors is a fundamental duty for any chauffeur. From suitcases to laptops, great care must be taken. Similar care is required to check nothing has been left in the vehicle, such as a mobile phone or sunglasses, which can make or break someone’s day. Carrying heavy luggage for the client, takes the weight from their shoulders and helps make the journey more pleasurable.
“If someone is being absolutely critical of me as a driver, what could they say? I am also critical of myself to try and keep things in perspective. That is very important.”
Polished to perfection
Wikipedia says that, ‘A chauffeur is a person employed to drive a passenger motor vehicle, especially a luxury vehicle such as a large sedan or limousine’. Keeping the vehicle pristine and in good mechanical order is essential. Polished to perfection, a well-maintained chauffeur car is a beautiful thing to behold. In excellent working order means one less thing to worry about. Tyre condition and pressure. Check. Oil and water levels. Check. Lights working. Check. Service interval maintained. Check. Peace of mind. Check. A good chauffeur will always be cleaning and polishing, whenever they have a ‘spare’ moment. A car clean is never done. It is always a work in progress.
In control of the controls
The vehicle's controls and features
Knowing the vehicle’s controls means the chauffeur can quickly dial in the right temperature for the client. Or switch radio stations, to something more pleasing to the client’s ear. Similarly operating electric blinds or seats should be well practiced. Some homework here really seperates the good chauffeurs, from the great.
The origin of the word chauffeur starts around 1896, from the French term for “stoker”, because railroad and sea vessels were steam-powered and required the driver to stoke the engine. By 1902, the earliest automobiles, like their counterparts, also relied on steam. Here then, comes the first nod towards a professional car driver. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Good communication skills
Clear communication with the office and client is also essential. From receiving the collection details to liaising back the clients’ preferences such as preferred coffee choice. Or tea. All are important details. All make the difference between a great chauffeur experience or not.
Preperation, preperation, preperation
Taking the time to familiarise the route is an important chauffeur duty. Planning the route gives the chauffeur the chance to drive the route in their mind first. A chance to create a plan B, just incase something goes a miss with plan A. With the introduction of luxury all-electric chauffeur cars, the electric chauffeur needs to allow for charging the vehicle if appropriate. Learn about the history, dreams and future of luxury electric vehicles.
Got what it takes?
“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”
Stay up to date with the Highway Code
Following the rules of the road
Abiding by road regulations or performing vehicle maintenance are constants in this work. It is imperative that the chauffeur abides by road regulations at all times. Knowing, and staying up-to-date in the Highway Code deeply helps. It is a fundamental duty that the chauffeur never speeds. Or drives in any other unsafe way. The greatest chauffeurs drive safely, smoothly and serenely.
The art of chauffeuring
Responding to the client
Forecasting and responding to the client’s questions and concerns makes for a satisfied client. Keeping the client happy is arguably the most important duty of any chauffeur. For business clients, a good chauffeur can really help their day run smoothly. From getting the coffees, to arranging luncheon reservations the chauffeur is like a mobile personal assistant. As well as a ‘driver’.
Collections and deliveries
As requested, completing collections and deliveries on behalf of the client is another example of an essential chauffeur duty. Shopping and local deliveries help the client manage their time. Discover more about a typical day in the life of a chauffeur. For larger collections and deliveries, take a peek at our discreet delivery luggage van service.
A reflection of local knowledge
Occasionally a chauffeur will be the client’s tour guide. Not to the standard of a blue or green tour badge holder, but as a chauffeur-guide to offer anecdotes and a general overview. The best chauffeurs are local experts, and can help their clients discover some of the lesser known history and facts of the area.
“I am an artist. The track is my canvas, and the car is my brush.”
Confidential and discreet
A chauffeur often has a close relationship with their clients. All iChauffeur chauffeurs sign a non-disclosure agreement. What goes on in the car stays in the car. A chauffeur may be privy to sensitive information, it is important that this is treated in the utmost confidence.
What does the chauffeur really do?
Are you interested in becoming an iChauffeur chauffeur? Look at our partners page if you have suitable experience or learn how to become a London chauffeur. Are you looking to hire a chauffeur? Call us on 020 8400 4829, visit our contact page, or use our booking form, to book a chauffeur-driven journey.