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CHAUFFEUR - Profile

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Interview with Jack Sullivan, owner, Fairfield Executive Limousine in Connecticut.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A DRIVER?

In order of importance, I look for good work ethics. Next is presentability. You have to have a good personality. My drivers have to be able to carry on a conversation with the person in the backseat. Then, experience. Has the person been to [local] airports, how long has he been driving? Finally, appearance.

WHAT TYPE OF DRIVERS DO YOU USE?

I have twenty-one vehicles with six full-time drivers. The rest of my drivers are part-time, and if I get busy, I bring in sub-contractors. I have a lot of young guys; but I also have guys who have lost their jobs in the middle of their career. I have two full-timers who are in their fifties and sixties, people who took early retirement.

TELL ME ABOUT SUB-CONTRACTORS.

These are people who own their own vehicles. I might have thirty jobs in a day and need them to fill out the schedule. They worry about maintaining the car, gassing it up, the insurance, and all the stuff I worry about with my own cars. They get paid on a per-job basis, and if they work for two or three companies, they can make a fine living this way.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR OWN DRIVERS?

They get paid per trip plus tips. My full-time drivers normally do three trips in a day. I would say they gross [pay before taxes] $670 to $840 per week.

IS THIS A GOOD CAREER TO PURSUE TODAY?

It's more of a step, not a career. I have drivers who solicit work from people in the back, although you have to feel out the situation. Many passengers don't want to be bothered. It's a good opportunity for networking. Most of my drivers are doing this until they find something else. I only have two who see this as their career.

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