Whether you’re looking to make space in your schedule or treat yourself to a luxury add-on to upgrade your lifestyle, hiring a chauffeur can be a smart move.
But what is a chauffeur, exactly? How much does a private chauffeur cost? And what’s the best way of picking the right chauffeur service for you?
Relocate Antigua’s experts in lifestyle services give you the downlow on enjoying a safe ride and buying yourself a little time to spare…
A chauffeur is a person employed to drive private clients to and from their chosen destinations. Generally speaking, chauffeurs operate luxury vehicles and luxury sedans and limousines more specifically. The term comes from the French word for driver, although as we’ll see later on, the two don’t quite mean the same thing.
Once upon a time, chauffeurs were salaried members of households, hired by private employers on the same basis as live-in nannies, chefs, personal assistants and housekeepers. Although that can sometimes still be the case, nowadays chauffeurs are more likely to be employed by specialist driver companies, hired out to private clients on contract, or on an as-and-when basis.
You might call on a chauffeur for a one-off special event, or book one in to cover your day-to-day transport needs on a rolling contract.
Chauffeur vs driver
Drivers and chauffeurs aren’t exactly interchangeable terms. Drivers provide a fuss-free solution, getting you from point A to point B, with no additional frills or embellishments.
Chauffeurs on the other hand offer their clients a tailored service with finer attention to detail. Chauffeurs can assist with luggage loading and unloading, stock up on snacks and refreshments for you and your fellow passengers and make recommendations – all while treating you to a smooth ride.
Although just about anyone with a clean license can become a driver, chauffeurs follow meticulous training paths, and put the emphasis on impeccable service to rival that of any concierge. You can also expect to see chauffeurs behind the wheels of higher-end vehicles.
Chauffeur duties and responsibilities
Chauffeurs drive you around town, to and from the airport, and make sure to keep you safe while getting you where you need to be on time.
Each chauffeuring contract or package will encompass your own personal specifications and needs, but there are a handful of duties and responsibilities that all chauffeurs are bound to comply with:
- Maintaining a neat, tidy, and respectable appearance at all times – including uniform
- Caring for their vehicle: refueling, cleaning, freshening up and seeing that all necessary maintenance checks and repairs are carried out
- Keeping on top of insurance, paperwork and the latest legislation
- Collecting, transferring and dropping clients off on time
- Ensuring the inside of the vehicle is comfortably heated or cooled
- Opening and closing doors so clients don’t have to
- Running errands and collecting goods and items on the client’s request
- Assisting with loading and unloading personal belongings
- Keeping communication open and liaising with the client or their company to ensure they know where they’re going, and when
- Displaying professional, courteous conduct at all times
- Abiding by the rules of the road and local safety regulations
- Staying up to date with the latest in training standards
- Ensuring discretion and protecting confidentiality and privacy
- Mapping out the best routes and avoiding inconvenience such as traffic jams or road blockages
In many respects, when used on a regular basis a trusted luxury chauffeur can quickly become part of the family, somewhere between a personal assistant and a concierge.
Today’s chauffeurs continue to uphold the tradition of wearing uniform on the job, which maintains a certain level of professional distance between them and the client, and injects the experience with a hint of old-school glamour – a welcome touch in our modern, hectic lives.
- Chauffeur hat
The chauffeur uniform varies from country to country and between establishments and companies, but some of these items of clothing are instantly recognizable around the world, such as the iconic chauffeur hat, or chauffeur cap as it’s sometimes called.
- Chauffeur suit
Chauffeurs will generally wear plain, non-patterned suits and white collared dress shirts with a dark tie as standard.
Shoes should be black and pristinely polished on a daily basis, with socks to match. Some chauffeurs might also wear long black leather boots for a more traditional feel. Jackets are often double-breasted, and may sometimes also be embellished with frogging or brocade.
Because chauffeurs can often spend a long time outside in chilly weather, a dark overcoat is standard winterwear.
- Chauffeur gloves
While not compulsory, many chauffeurs continue to wear white gloves. Not only do they lend the overall uniform a sense of old-fashioned charm, they’re also a subtle way of hinting at flawless personal hygiene, cleanliness and standards.
Some chauffeurs working in particularly high-value or prestigious households go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to their uniforms.
The Queen of England’s chauffeur dresses in ornate red and gold brocade finery as a mark of respect to the monarch. This elaborate uniform is in keeping with ancient custom and tradition – you’re unlikely to find anything as flamboyant anywhere else!
At the Ritz London hotel, chauffeurs are trained to the highest of standards, with the uniforms to match. Clean lines and golden trim detailing are combined here for a sober, elegant effect.
Here in Antigua and Barbuda, we’re known for our understated approach to luxury. The island’s chauffeurs pride themselves on crisp, suave uniforms with minimal embellishment, for a professional and elegant feel and a smart finish.
Why not experience the magic for yourself? Drop us a line and let us find, book and arrange for a private chauffeur to whisk you around the island.
A career as a chauffeur driver offers steady pay, flexible hours, and the opportunity to engage with people from different walks of life.
Being a chauffeur takes more than just a full and valid driver’s license, however. If you’re wondering how to become a chauffeur driver, your best option is to start with an accredited professional training course.
The United Kingdom and United States are two of the rare few countries to offer certified, professional chauffeur training programs.
Chauffeur Training in the UK
- In the United Kingdom, all private chauffeur drivers need to be licensed by the Public Carriage Office (PCO) and be awarded their PCO License.
- Once you’ve been certified by the PCO, you can sign up with a training provider such as the Chauffeur Training Academy. This educational body runs short and long courses to get you certified and up to speed, and also offers professional development training to keep you sharp.
- The Specialist Operations Academy is another outfit offering certified courses that cover driving risk assessment, driving posture and security checks, to name but a few modules.
- Finally, you can sign up for membership to the British Chauffeurs Guild for job opportunities and extra cachet to add to your CV.
Chauffeur Training in the US
- In the United States, the National Limousine Association is your go-to point of reference in the limousine chauffeur training industry. Apply for membership for all the latest news and events in the sector, and make the most of educational webinars and networking platforms.
- Pax Training is the NLA’s official partner, and can point you in the direction of a training program near you. The company even has a training app you can tap into.
If your home country doesn’t offer accredited chauffeur training programs, make the most of the breadth of online resources and webinars out there to work on your skills in your own time. It’s a good idea to contact your national motor association to check whether they offer advanced driving courses, too.
How much does a chauffeur cost?
So – how much is a chauffeur? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question. The rate you’ll pay will depend on the flexibility you require, the hours worked, and the kind of contract you’re hoping to put in place.
Prices will also vary depending on whether you’re booking a private chauffeur on a high-demand date – your very own driver for New Year’s Eve celebrations will set you back more than a run-of-the-mill Tuesday morning, and hiring a chauffeur driver for prom when every other family in town has the same priority will cost you.
The size and make of the vehicle will impact on pricing, too, as will the unsociability (or not) of the working hours requested.
- Hourly rates: According to Fash, hourly rates for private chauffeurs range from $30 to $50. In the UK, expect to budget for around £45 per hour.
- Monthly salaries: The Eden Private Staff company suggests that on-call live-out chauffeurs in London command salaries of anything from £35k to £60k a year.
- Package rates: Over at Waverley, the experts in luxury chauffeur services, packages are available for weddings and special events, ranging from £360 to £540. These services include chilled mineral water and the daily papers, as well as complimentary 4G Wi-Fi.
Although not compulsory, tips of around 10% of the cost of the service are always welcome – and don’t forget that in the United States, they’re practically compulsory for all services.
The benefits of hiring a chauffeur
Hiring a chauffeur may once have been considered an inaccessible luxury, but the service is becoming increasingly widespread for clients looking to simplify their lives and spend time on what really matters.
There are loads of benefits to hiring your very own ‘concierge on wheels’, some of which may not be immediately obvious:
- Maximize your time: Work, make important phone calls and catch up on emails on the go. Enjoy the freedom of not having to stress over your itinerary.
- Travel in complete safety: Professional chauffeurs are held to the highest of industry standards. You can sink back into your seat and relax knowing you’re in safe hands.
- Boost your time management: Private chauffeurs take on the mental load of getting you where you need to be, when you need to be there. No more worrying about rush hour traffic, blocked roads or any potential lateness.
- Get insider insights: While your private chauffeur will always leave you to get on with the important stuff in peace and quiet, you can feel free to ask questions and make conversation if the mood strikes. Professional drivers are always in the know, and will be well placed to advise you on everything from restaurant recommendations to late-night pharmacies – and they’ll take you there, too.
- Cut back on stress: Road rage and frustration at being unable to find parking become things of the past. Settle back and enjoy the ride!
- Indulge in a touch of class: Arrive in style. Need we say more?
Where can I hire a chauffeur?
Once a fairly closed world restricted to a tight inner circle, professional chauffeur companies are popping up all over the place. Working to the highest of standards and offering slick service with a smile, these agencies draw on a pool of professional drivers.
Whether you’re visiting the island on holiday, or making a lasting move for a new Caribbean life, Relocate Antigua has all the contacts you need to get you set up with your very own driver or chauffeur.
We’ve been experts in helping expats move to Antigua for years now, and offer a turnkey service for a smooth, bump-free touchdown. Our car and chauffeur offer is part of our broader VIP & concierge services range. From VIP airport handling to private jet and helicopter experiences, our aim is to get you travelling around the island in style.
If you’re seeking to hire a private chauffeur on a one-off basis, or looking for a more permanent service, get in touch with our talented team of Antiguan experts for more information on how we can help transform your island experience. We work with Antigua’s very best certified drivers, bringing you a little taste of everyday luxury – and our expertise in all other areas of high-end island living means we serve as your one-stop shop for all things premium.
Final thoughts: comfort, flexibility, and safety
Choosing to work with your very own private chauffeur can do wonders to enhance your quality of life. Forget about hailing down a last-minute taxi or cramming onto an early morning bus – a driver you can rely on to whisk you away in an air-conditioned car is a small luxury that is surprisingly affordable.
Taking the hassle out of everyday driving and serving as a trusted professional you can rely on to get you where you need to be, chauffeurs offer comfort, flexibility, safety and a welcome hint of glamour.
Alongside our personal assistance and relocation services, Relocate Antigua strives to bring you the very best in trained, professional chauffeurs to whisk you from airport to beach, and hotel to town. Whether you’re looking for a part-time chauffeur, a live-in employee or a one-off driver, our team is in touch with the people you need to know.
Reach out to our friendly advisors today for a free consultation, and let’s start planning out the driving services you need.