Low standards just a sign of the times?

Some would argue that Chauffeur standards are dropping, or are we simply hanging on to a golden era that’s long since disappeared? Andy Dubberley investigates…

We have many a debate on the Chauffeur Network UK Facebook page surrounding standards in our industry and it’s undoubtedly an emotive subject with many having differing views.

As an example, I recently posted a photo of two S-Classes outside a major London hotel, parked side by side but looking very different. I watched as one chauffeur removed various potions from the boot and spent several minutes sprucing up his car making it look immaculate for his clients. The other S-Class received no TLC from its driver, who chose to sit inside reading a newspaper. The wheels were dirty, tyres brown and bodywork untouched.

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I wanted to show what I saw as the two faces of our industry but while most people got the point I was trying to make, one person launched at me, calling me pretentious and asking if I’d considered that the second chauffeur might be on a low wage and therefore wasn’t going to bother cleaning the car.

The latter point above begs the question as to whether chauffeuring in this modern world of ours still needs to adhere to those high standards of yesteryear, or has the whole ethos of our profession changed? As I look around me in Central London, it’s obvious the vast majority of chauffeurs still have enormous pride in what they do because their vehicles are gleaming and they themselves are immaculately turned out.

But there’s been more subtle changes in our industry, changes that represent a drop in standards to some but are simply echos of our modern society to others…make up your own minds.

A very interesting one popped up on the network recently – tattoos. I have tattoos, but none are visible when I’m working and, personally speaking, I wouldn’t employ anyone that had visible tattoos when suited and booted. Understandably, other chauffeurs feel differently and commented they think visible tattoos on a chauffeur are completely acceptable these days. We all know the perception of being ‘inked’ has completely changed in recent years but does that mean it fits comfortably in with what clients expect and how chauffeurs should look?

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