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Should You Make Your Living Driving Other People or Their Vehicles?

The Good and Bad Reasons to Drive Others or Their Vehicles

According to most drivers, there are many good points they appreciate about driving a taxi, for a chauffeur service or as a driver for a limousine service. Drivers for a valet service tend to have slightly different perks, however, much of the time their job holds little difference from the others.

Valet Service Drivers

A driver working for a valet service does not own the vehicle they drive. They do not set their own hours. Usually, they wear a uniform while working. Their employers may not be easily located, and many valet service companies have no offices or headquarters. Valet service drivers usually have managers and a boss who expects a portion of the tips they make.

Taxicab Drivers

In the United States, people, companies and laws blur the meaning between a taxi driver and a chauffeur service driver or between a chauffeur and a limousine service driver. Taxi drivers tend to use clearly marked cabs designed strictly to transport you from point A to B.

Limousine Service Drivers

Drivers with a limousine service usually serve in a similar capacity to chauffeur service drivers. Their vehicles, however, are distinctive long, limousines or specialty vehicles artificially lengthened to a longer, stretched vehicle style. Limousine drivers may own their cars or work for a limousine service.

Chauffeur Service Drivers

Drivers for a chauffeur service normally drive luxury vehicles called town cars. They not only get you from point A to B, they typically wear a uniform, possess impeccable manners, assist you with many small details and generally remain with you or nearby until you are ready to go from point B back to A. Chauffeurs occasionally own their town cars. Most of the time they work for a chauffeur service company. Sometimes they drive specifically for one person who is their employer and provides their vehicle.

If you ever hailed a taxicab, you might be curious about their job. Many taxi drivers love to chat with their passengers and would gladly tell you about their jobs. A driver who works for a limousine service or a chauffeur service is often less garrulous than a taxi driver. If you make it a point to ask specific questions, you may get brief, polite answers. If a valet service driver has a free minute, they will tell you about their jobs. Usually, they are too busy to talk while working for a valet service.

Still, that does not tell you the good and bad points about driving people or their vehicles for a living. When you are curious about a career as a chauffeur or limo driver, polite answers will not answer your inquiries. Some digging found that these are some of the pros and cons a driver may encounter.

Driver Perks

  • Your vehicle is provided – not only is your vehicle provided for work purposes, you do not have to purchase your own car because you keep your taxicab all of the time, (at least, with most cab companies). Some chauffeur service drivers keep their work vehicles all of the time. Unless the driver owns it, limousine service drivers do not keep their cars all of the time.
  • You do not have to provide insurance – you, your passengers and the vehicle are insured through the taxicab, chauffeur, limo or valet service company. Many cab companies and a valet service might require you to pay part or all of the high deductible no matter who is at fault.
  • You get to see great sights – with 4th of July approaching, many drivers will take passengers to and from various fireworks displays. Taxicab and chauffeur service drivers can park and have the best view of the fireworks. Limousine service drivers usually have their passengers in their vehicle much of the time.
  • You set your own hours – if you are an early bird, set your alarm for 3 a.m. and be on the road for those early calls driving people to the airport. Come home and take a nap and hit the road with renewed energy for the crowds leaving work late in the afternoon. Those same crowds may head to restaurants and bars after work or later in the evening and they do not want to deal with traffic! They want your services. Valet service drivers usually work scheduled shifts.
  • Build up a private reserve of clients – some companies supply drivers with business cards, if they do not, make your own. Hand your card out to every rider you have and include your cell phone number. Many drivers build a base of customers who only use them for their taxicab or limousine service needs. Occasionally, those customers own or manage large companies and strongly suggest their employees use your services as a fleet driver. The owners of these companies may hire chauffeur service drivers directly.
  • Access to the best concierges – if you want tickets to a sold-out-for-years football game, make friends with the concierge at the best hotels in town. They are good at their jobs because they never forget someone who does them a favor. This applies to all four types of driver services.
  • Earn money doing what you love – if you love to drive, this is the right job for you!
  • Meet interesting people – if you consider yourself a people person, driving is a wonderful profession. People love to talk about themselves. If you give them the slightest opening, you will find out information about different cultures and parts of the world.
  • No boring desk job – you will not be stuck in a cubicle working in an office. On a beautiful day, you will be outside enjoying the weather.
  • Drivers never lack work – there is always a demand for taxicab and valet service drivers. You will never lack for work. Mind you, there is competition, but build your customer base and in the meantime stay close to busy nightspots.
  • No four-year degree needed – it is fairly easy to become a driver. If you are a good driver, your driving record should look good. Take a safety class or two and there is not much more to the job than learning every inch of the area you intend to drive. Chauffeur services, limousine services, taxicab companies and valet service bosses all appreciate a dependable, safe driver.

Driver Drawbacks

Now, there are bad parts to a career as a driver. Here are a few valid concerns to consider before starting any driving job.

  • Danger to drivers – despite major improvements in the past 10 to 15 years, taxi and chauffeur service drivers are listed by USA TODAY as number 17 on the list of the 25 most dangerous jobs in America.
  • Weekends and Holidays – well, you basically do not have weekends and holidays when you earn your living as a driver. Those are the times your services are in demand the most. You can take weekends off, however, do not plan on making much money if you do so.
  • Vehicle rent is always due – many drivers lease their vehicles from their taxicab company, chauffeur service or limousine service. Valet service drivers do not have to worry about this problem. Most leases are due each week by a certain time. If your fares cover your lease fees, you are in good shape. Any extra is profit, so work for those tips. A cab or car for hire lease is not cheap. It can average out to $65 or more a day, and some days your fares and tips will not reach that amount.
  • Plan on working daily – any time off is time you do not earn money toward your weekly lease fee. Even if you earn enough to cover your lease, you still need to make enough on top of the fee to pay all of your bills and living expenses. Despite the occasionally big tipper, it is not easy to make enough profit on a daily basis to make a living.
  • Pay for your own fuel – you do have to buy your own fuel for your taxicab. Some chauffeur service and limousine service agencies reimburse drivers for fuel. Valet service drivers do not need to worry about fuel costs for the cars they drive.
  • Health risks – due to the amount of time spent around exhaust and other emissions, drivers face twice the cancer rate as other occupations.
  • Responsibility for others – valet service drivers constantly encounter drivers too drunk to drive their cars. Taxicab drivers, chauffeur service and limousine service drivers have a responsibility to drive safely and defensively to protect themselves and their passengers.

In the final analysis, only you can decide if the good parts of a driving career outweigh the bad. It is good, however, to know a little of each.