The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Chauffeur Business

Surely, there can’t be that much to this chauffeuring lark, I hear you say. Simply purchase a two year-old E-Class, get the geeky kid next door to knock you up a website, put a couple of cards up in the local newsagent’s window and wait for the work to come rolling in! Funnily enough, we probably all thought this, but reality has a nasty habit of bringing you down to earth with a very large bump. Starting up a chauffeur business is just a tad more complicated in reality, as Andy Dubberley explains… Lets be honest, those of us who’ve been in business a while can feel ever so slightly proud of ourselves – despite the sleepless nights, the empty diary for a week at a time during the early days, the far too common appearance of the dreaded engine management warning light and the local licensing officer in his tan socks and slip-on shoes, we’ve stuck at it and come through the other side! Quite a few years down the line, I’m considerably older and possibly even a little bit wiser, so it now appears to me that business start-ups in our industry fall into two groups. Firstly, there are those people who have taken the time to understand what is required, both financially and practically and who appreciate chauffeuring for the skilled profession it actually is. Perhaps they already have a background in chauffeuring of sorts, whether it be as a military staff car driver or experience gained from working in the close protection field. They will have researched our industry, asked already established operators the right questions and vitally, they will already have a full understanding of the associated costs. Then we have the ‘others’. Those with a redundancy payment or pension pot burning a hole in their pocket and want something to “stop them getting bored”. It’s all about having a little earner to give them a few extra quid towards a round of golf on a Sunday morning. These wannabe chauffeurs wholeheartedly consider themselves well-suited to being part of our industry because they, (and I quote), ‘like driving’ or ‘used to work in sales so I know the UK well’. I always find this view of what we do really rather insulting and extremely narrow minded but they’ll learn, oh how they’ll learn! Whilst I shall leave the latter group to their own devices, what follows is a brief insight which might just be helpful to those of you who are collecting your facts before deciding whether to take the almighty leap into the world of small business ownership. Are you the right person?...

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Armoured Range Rover to give chauffeured clients increased protection
Sep07

Armoured Range Rover to give chauffeured clients increased protection

Land Rover has released details of a luxury armoured vehicle which is the first to be fully engineered by the manufacturers Special Vehicle Operations team. The new Range Rover Sentinel is to be hand built at its Oxford Road facility, providing the highest levels of protection an SUV can offer against a wide variety of attacks. The Sentinel is based on the standard wheelbase Range Rover Autobiography. It delivers the supreme comfort, command driving position and all-terrain capability of the Range Rover, while providing peace of mind thanks to outstanding occupant protection and, outwardly, looking identical to the standard model. This mobile fortress is designed to withstand the most damaging and targeted of threats including penetration by 7.62mm high velocity, armour piercing incendiary bullets. This exceptional vehicle delivers lateral protection against up to 15kg Trinitrotoluene (TNT) blasts and defence against DM51 grenade explosions from both beneath the floor and above the roof. At its core is a specially-developed six-piece armoured passenger cell, made of super-high-strength steel, providing world-class protection from attack. The standard glass has been replaced by multi-laminated armour privacy glass of optical quality, providing excellent clarity for the driver and occupants, while also delivering bullet protection. The Range Rover Sentinel is fully certified to VR8 standard against ballistic threats by QinetiQ®, an independent organisation that was formerly part of the British Government’s Defence Establishment Research Agency. John Edwards, Managing Director of Jaguar Land Rover Special Operations, said: “The Range Rover Sentinel is one of the most extraordinary Range Rovers ever produced. It has been expertly engineered by Special Vehicle Operations to provide class leading levels of protection to occupants against extreme attack, whilst retaining the Range Rover’s luxury and refinement with off road capability.” Sentinel retains the plentiful legroom of the standard model that comfortably seats two full-size adults in the rear. A payload of up to 650kg can be carried thanks to revised Dynamic Stability Control and Ride Stability Control systems. The Command Driving Position found in all Range Rover vehicles remains, giving the driver a clear and unobscured view of the surroundings, particularly useful in the event of an attack. The suspension has been up-rated to ensure Range Rover’s legendary ride comfort and handling are retained, yet still delivers precise on-road dynamics to allow occupants to escape attack. The Sentinel has undergone the same testing as a standard production vehicle and retains the outstanding off-road capability for which Land Rover is famous. The Sentinel has an anti-tamper exhaust, a self-sealing fuel tank, auxiliary back-up battery and a split charging system. The 100mm opening in the driver’s window for document delivery ensures the vehicle is secure....

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Industry First Drive. New BMW 7-Series for 2015
Aug27

Industry First Drive. New BMW 7-Series for 2015

TheChauffeur.com gets behind the wheel of the new BMW 7-Series range and discovers what is in store for UK Chauffeurs when it arrives on our shores later in the year. Dr Ian Kuah takes to the roads of Portugal to find out if the new 7 will continue to go head-to-head with its German rivals. “As BMW’s flagship model, the 7-Series carries the heavy responsibility of not only setting the technology bar in its class, but the driving dynamics one too. The engineers have done their job well and where the previous model gave best to the Mercedes S-Class in ride quality, the new 7-Series has now closed that gap. With more power and a weight saving of around 130kg the new car is faster and more agile than its predecessor. Importantly, as it is a limousine, overall refinement and ride quality are also noticeably improved. To confirm that VIPs will have no complaints, I spent half the time in the rear seat, which is comfortably spacious in the standard car, and impressively roomy in the LWB version, which has 140mm more legroom. All our SWB test cars had the optional electric rear seats, which made the journey even more comfortable. However, the Executive Lounge Seating option in the LWB car offers the ultimate restful experience. Normally, you have to press and hold a button to move such a seat to its fully reclined position. BMW thoughtfully provide a more convenient one-touch arrangement, and it is possible to halt the process in intermediate positions. And when the front passenger seat reaches the end of its forward journey, the big video screen then realigns its viewing angle to the vertical. As customers have different requirements, permutations of two individual rear seats or a normal three-seat arrangement without the rear centre console are there for the asking. The move to remote control for rear seat occupants of either wheelbase models sees a neat solution in the form of a Samsung tablet with BMW software that allows access to all the cars systems from the audio system to heating and rear seat massage functions. While Harman Kardon continues to provide the entry-level audio system in the new 7-Series, Bowers & Wilkins replaces Bang & Olufsen as BMW’s top-of-the-range audio alternative. With a real high-end domestic audio manufacturer in play at last, the 16-speaker, 1,400 watt B&W Diamond system’s tonal balance is natural and musical rather than hi-fi spectacular. The one caveat is that it sounds better in front than in the rear. Many people wrongly equate a soft ride with comfort. BMW recognises that a supple primary secondary ride in conjunction with...

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Scottish Chauffeur boss nominated for business award
Aug27

Scottish Chauffeur boss nominated for business award

The director of Scotland’s leading chauffeur company has been recognised as one of the most prominent female business leaders in the country. Heather Matthews, Managing Director of family-run firm Little’s, which co-ordinates chauffeur services throughout the world, has been shortlisted for Female Business Leader of the Year at the Scottish Business Awards 2015. The nomination follows an unprecedented year of business for Little’s, which involved an extensive re-brand of the company and maximising the opportunity of a phenomenal rise in visitor numbers to Scotland due to major events including The Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup. Little’s won key contracts throughout what tourism chiefs hailed the ‘Year of Homecoming’ as well as building upon its already well established client base, yielding impressive results for the firm. At the core of the company’s success was Heather’s forward thinking approach to modernising the company in anticipation of what she knew would be a landmark year for business in Scotland. Heather Matthews, Managing Director of Little’s commented: “It fills me with great pride to be nominated for Female Business Leader of the Year. “Over the last couple of years Little’s has made some big changes to ensure that we maintain our position at the top of the industry as we listen and respond to our clients’ evolving needs. “These have been bold and quite pioneering changes for our industry, however what has been of utmost importance to me is that we keep our core family values at the heart of the company, offering our clients an exceptional level of personal service. “To be recognised by the Scottish Business Awards in a category of such high calibre and influential fellow businesswomen is a real honour and I look forward to attending the ceremony in November”. As well as a new brand identity, a relaunch of its website and a new online portal for clients, Little’s also introduced a new range of hybrid vehicles to its luxury fleet in Spring 2015, in a drive to become a more environmentally friendly enterprise. Josh Littlejohn, Founder of the Scottish Business Awards commented: “The Scottish Business Awards is now a major fixture of the Scottish business calendar and this year the Scottish business community will have a lot to celebrate at our ceremony with George Clooney. Heather’s nomination in this prestigious category reflects her growing influence and achievement as a female business leader.” The prestigious Awards, which last year welcomed Sir Richard Branson, will play host to Scotland’s business elite as well as this year’s speaker Hollywood actor and activist George Clooney. Renowned as the UK’s biggest business dinner the event will take place on November 12 2015...

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Updated: Chauffeur Maurice died a hero at Shoreham Airshow
Aug24

Updated: Chauffeur Maurice died a hero at Shoreham Airshow

A note left at the scene of the devastating air crash in Shoreham on Saturday, as hailed Chauffeur Maurice as a hero. Michael Sturgess has told how 76 year-old Maurice Abrahams let his vehicle in at a junction, which then meant the chauffeurs classic Daimler was caught at a red light when the tragic accident happened – this act of kindness saved a family’s life. Mr Sturgess said his family looked back at the horror and saw Maurice’s vehicle in the devastation. 76 year-old Maurice Abrahams from Brighton was working for Lewes based Chariots Chauffeurs, and was on his way to collect a bride when his vehicle was hit by aircraft debris on the A27 on Saturday. It is believed 11 people have lost their lives after the Hawker Hunter jet crashed onto the A27 at Shoreham on Saturday during a failed stunt manoeuvre. Editor of TheChauffeur.com, Paul Gibson witnessed the air crash at the weekend. He commented; “Words cannot express how the team are feeling right now – witnessing such a tragic event has been devastating. Our hearts go out to all those innocent victims caught up in the tragedy, and especially to Maurice, his family and colleagues. The Mail Online published this statement from Jay Sherwin from Chariots Chauffeurs; “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of our driver who was caught up in the tragic air crash. We ask the media to respect the privacy of his family. We will be making no further comments at this sad time.’ Tributes to Maurice have been made on the Chauffeur Network UK Facebook group. Investigations into the crash and search for more victims continues. Image: © Paul...

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Audi released special A8 model to mark anniversary
Jul24

Audi released special A8 model to mark anniversary

A little over two decades have passed since the groundbreaking Audi A8 was first introduced, and Audi UK is celebrating the enduring appeal of its luxury saloon with a bespoke model – the Edition 21.  Incorporating a choice blend of the latest developments in design, technology and luxury from the recently revised A8 range, many of which are fitted as standard exclusively to this version, the A8 Edition 21 will be available in standard and Long Wheelbase formats priced at £72,525 OTR and £76,490 OTR. A limited run of just 121 cars is now available to order, and customers can expect first deliveries to begin in November. A tailored selection of interior and exterior styling enhancements sets this special model apart, starting with the recently introduced Sport styling package. Creating a look that references the flagship S8 model, it comprises redesigned front and rear bumpers as well as pronounced side sills, and is normally reserved for standard wheelbase A8 models. Adaptive Audi Matrix LED headlights – which debuted as an option for the new generation A8 and were the first ever fully digital LED headlights on a series production car – are also fitted as standard in conjunction with LED rear lights and dynamic indicators fore and aft. Also unique to this model are 20-inch double spoke alloy wheels with a titanium-look finish that complement the four exterior colour options, which include the Daytona grey pearl effect shade that is only normally available for the 520 PS S8.  Privacy glass from the B-pillar rearwards is also standard. Building on the already extensive SE Executive specification which was recently further enhanced for A8 models, the Edition 21 creates an even more rarefied atmosphere through a special interior design package from the Audi exclusive selection. Uniquely fitted as standard to this version, the package is available in two striking colour combinations; cognac brown with black contrasting stitching or black leather with red contrasting stitching. Comfort front sports seats with memory function, 22-way adjustability and integrated pneumatic lumbar and side bolster support are fitted as standard. A black cloth headlining and three-spoke multi-function steering wheel complete the interior enhancements. Illuminated door sill plates bearing the ‘Edition 21’ emblem add another degree of exclusivity. In terms of infotainment and assistance systems, all Edition 21 models also gain access to the Audi connect portfolio of telephone and internet-based services to complement their HDD-based satellite navigation, plus a BOSE surround sound system in addition to the standard items fitted to SE Executive models. These include the Audi parking system advanced with reversing camera, a power-operated boot lid with hands-free opening and powered door closure. Propelling...

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