Luxury Coach & Transportation

August 2019

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION AUGUST 2019 23 If we've got an event in Charlotte, I'll bring my South Carolina guys up. If we're busy in South Carolina, I can bring my other guys down. We train and teach them our driving areas so they know, and if we have to call them at the last minute they know where they're going and that helps with continuity." Extra Benefits Muhsin provides incentives for chauffeurs for getting the company an appointment, lead, or information about what they see some of their competitors doing in the marketplace. Schneider tries to have one Saturday barbecue every month from April through October. "We still have over 100 runs on Saturdays, so a lot of the chauffeurs come in and we feed them, and send them out happy and full. We also have a nice holiday party at the end of the year with a partner we do a lot of business with." He also leverages his relationships with restaurants, casinos, and venues to get tickets, gift cards, etc., in exchange for service so he can gift them to staff. Canady says allowing office staff to work from home can be a big draw. "I've got a couple of staff members who can work from home, and I've also got one in one of my South Carolina offices who works exclusively from home. It's worked out really well. I have at least one staff member at each of my offices who can log in from their house just to help us keep things moving along." Preparing for Peaks When busy times loom, you may want to start aggregating some temporary people who come in every year. If you've got multiple locations, cross-training comes in handy; your staff should be able to help anywhere during downtimes in one location. If you use temps, be sure they are thoroughly trained on your standards. Who knows, they may enjoy the work so much they decide they'd like to work with you full-time. "It's a way to expose people to a positive environment," Schneider said. Muhsin says events that draw staff away from the "same old" can be a great change of pace for chauffeurs normally doing airport pickups. "ey go out to these big events and really enjoy it." Slow Times During the summer, camps are big in Canady's area of service so she works with a few and shuttles people from the airport to the camps and back. Schneider was inspired at one of his kid's sports games. "I happened to overhear a conversation of frustration because the student school bus for their away game didn't show up. We started a conversation about doing school transportation. Now we're the preferred transportation provider for the St. Louis Archdiocese." In the summers, they pursue many of the school bus drivers who are off and want to keep working to earn additional income. Muhsin does many transfers between San Diego and Los Angeles, and a chauffeur drives two-and-a-half to three hours to get there each way. "What I train my staff to do is one hour before they arrive at LAX, they'll start calling affiliates we deal with in the L.A. market and say, 'Hey, I have a driver dropping off in LAX in an hour. You got anything going south?' and we tend to give them a deal on it. It's not the best money, but it does cover expenses and it makes the chauffeurs happy." — Schneider says he gives referrers a reward in staggered amounts: $100 upfront, $250 a short time later, and then the last $150 if the candidate stays at least 90 days. Make the Most of Each Employee Muhsin trains every person on his team to be able to do any position — dispatch, reservations, or sales. Sometimes you may discover one position is a better fit for someone who was originally hired to do something else. "I think it's important once you hire somebody, they don't have to be assigned to that certain role. Instead, you should bring them in, train them, and see where they fit best within your organization." Training is ongoing, and happens every 90 days. "Even chauffeurs who have been with us for five or six years meet with our chauffeur manager for one hour in the office to go over matters like what's new or the protocol for specific accounts. ere's a lot of training material out there, but you have to tailor it to your own business." He's had people come in from other companies only to discover they are only a driver…not a chauffeur. "It's important to train them to tailor to your business because they're the face of the company. If that chauffeur doesn't perform to specific standards, you will lose clients." If you're moving into the coach business, you're well aware of the difficulty in finding skilled bus drivers. "I found it was almost impossible to hire a decent CDL driver willing to drive a bus and be a chauffeur at the same time," Muhsin said. erefore, he started to promote within his company. He took five of his chauffeurs driving sedans and SUVs, put them into a training program, and paid for the entire program and the time it took them to complete it. Schneider has a Four Seasons Hotel in his market with an excellent in-house training program on their approach to customer service and client experiences, and he sends his chauffeurs through it. "ey're generous enough to allow us and they like the fact we're interested in learning more about the property and how they want their clients treated. ey're happy to do it because they feel like they're delivering a better experience for their guests." Canady is unique in that she has four offices in three different locations, so she cross-trains office staff to be able to work in any of them. "If one office is having an issue, we can transfer phones and our staff can answer and not miss a beat. I also bring chauffeurs and our drivers into our busier areas. PHOTO/ILLUSTRATION: GETTY.COM/COMICSANS

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