Some years ago, Limousine & Chauffeur Magazine interviewed an old friend Greg who at the time was the Chauffeur manager at Metropolitan Limousine in Chicago. I clearly remember his challenges and how he sought to overcome them.

He quickly realized that being a driver is not a first career choice in our society. Some choose the position to finance training or education for their future chosen professions. Some choose it to subsidize their work exit strategy, enter semi-retirement, or even because the inactivity of retirement drove them crazy.

He realized he had to show potential employees that this is a noble profession and that anything one does is worth doing well and excelling at.

Not everyone is suited to being a rocket scientist or rock star.

I have known several drivers over the years who are always chasing the elusive “dream job”. They leave only to return 3 months later saying, “It didn’t work out.” There must be a good reason for their return, right?

They know the job. It allows for a good standard of living. Why not stick around I would always wonder.

Way back in the day it was so much simpler. Fleets were all cookie cutter based. Everyone dressed in the same black suit, white shirt, black tie, and chauffeur’s hat. They all followed the rules and most importantly had solid work ethic.

Today, work ethic seems basically non-existent. “APPnology” has essentially rendered the driver population into reckless lawlessness. Loyalty is long gone, and the tail is wagging the dog.

In the early days it amused me how most companies had had similar “DPD’s” — driver personality disorders.

Bob the big shot who always spoke in third person:
“Bob does not do airport runs.”
“Bob only drives the newest sedan.”
“Bob finishes by 400pm daily.”

Tommie the Teamster:
“If we unionize things would be a lot different here.”
“If we were union, you can turn that run down.”
“Unions would let us charge portal to portal time.”

Brooks Brothers Stevie who looks like a million bucks and always dresses to the nines:
Could find any address without a map or GPS.
Personal hygiene, well, he smelled like the Northbound end of a Southbound rodeo.

Lastly, Mikey the Mapmaker:
Looks good, smells good, dresses great.
Personality equals Mr. Rogers.
He couldn’t find his way home with breadcrumbs, 2 maps, a GPS and a police escort.

A funny phenomenon has recently been occurring. As most are aware many of the software programs allow you to enter preferred or non grata drivers for client profiles. It is a sad state, but it is what it is. Funny side note, many programs also allow you to tag a profile with “VIP”, that always makes me laugh. Does that imply the other 32 orders are not worthy of respect?

Back to my new observation. Since we service such a large and diverse clientele, we find that we are default data miners. As an example, if a driver leaves a company we do not delete his information, we simply move him to our retired file. This gives us numerous advantages. For instance, he may get hired by another company that we service who do not require spouse or back up contact info. We can always search our database of 20,000 retired drivers and many times have been able to get a backup channel or even in some cases correct a bad number.

Sometimes when a driver switches companies within our ranks we may remember some events that caused that driver to leave. We may even have a friendly bet as to how long he will last at this new company knowing some of his past behavior or habits. Typically, we are right. Right to the point of wondering if it is our place to share what could be disparaging information to save our clients the trouble. However, we feel strongly that is illegal, unethical and we never actually know the complete story because we only have a pin hole view in our client’s operation. Obviously, if there was an egregious act involved and it slipped through the new companies vetting process we would act but that has only happened twice in 40 years.

About two years ago a driver left one company and went to another that we service. The original company could not send a schedule that would not have minimally 2 orders that said, “No Joe P.” Naturally, we realized this relationship would not last. Then the impossible occurred. Within weeks we could not get a schedule with no less than one “Request Joe P”, later two maybe three requests.

As time progresses this starts happening more and more. I was perplexed what causes someone to act or perform so differently under a competitor’s regime. Although I have not yet perfected the formula, I do now realize that the driver’s mindset is directly related to his comfort level, customized environment, and degree of appreciation and respect.

When a company develops and deploys that fine-tuned mixture. You will have the perfect cookie cutter crew again. In effect, we are exploiting the good in us through the good in them, and then it will even be possible to leverage that dynamic to their co-workers.

Stay tuned.

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