Sunday, October 22, 2017

TOPIC: Tell us about your uniform guidelines. Are there times you don’t require your chauffeurs to wear a suit?

Allie Benson Our chauffeurs provide their own black suit, white shirt, black socks, and black dress shoes. We provide each of them a company tie and name tag and also offer a shirt program for a small fee that ensures our chauffeurs will have clean white shirts available to them each week. As we are located in the Midwest, we have a wide range of weather. Our chauffeurs are encouraged to supplement their uniform with additional pieces to accommodate the varying temperatures (black vest to be worn in place of a suit jacket during the summer, black gloves, black hat, and black overcoat for winter months). We find this system works best because everyone is able to find a suit they are comfortable wearing while maintaining the image our clients have come to recognize.

Allie Benson, Administrative Supervisor
Majestic Limo & Coach in Des Moines, Iowa



John Byers Our requirement is that chauffeurs (male and female) wear a black suit, black tie, white pressed dress shirt, and shined black shoes. We reimburse full-time chauffeurs up to $100 a year for uniform replenishment, but all chauffeurs must supply their own uniform. Male and female chauffeurs have the same requirements; however, female chauffeurs can wear a black business suit with pants or knee-length skirt. The uniform is the same regardless of season. The only time our chauffeurs are not required to wear a suit is when they are assigned to a “rep” job at a large event. In those cases, they may wear khaki or black pants and a Pure Luxury polo shirt or hat.

John Byers, Director of Operations & Logistics
Pure Luxury Transportation in Petaluma, Calif.



Valérie Martineau Cowan We generally require our chauffeurs to wear a suit at all times. While we don’t impose a uniform, we do request that the following guidelines are respected: well-cut dark suit, white or light blue shirt, dark tie, black socks, and dark shoes that match the suit (i.e., no brown shoes with a black suit). When they are doing hourly work or in cold weather, we allow a black coat.

For women chauffeurs, we require a black outfit with a scarf and black shoes—the heel size is left to the chauffeur’s discretion within the limit of reason for safe driving. We request no perfume and a bare minimum of jewelry.

During the summer, we allow suits to be of lighter colors (light gray, beige) as long as the overall look is elegant yet not ostentatious. Although rare, celebrities on tour have requested chauffeurs wear casual/chic clothes instead of suits.

Valérie Martineau Cowan, Owner
Gut & Berg Limousines in Paris, France



Paula DeBiasi Technically, we do not have an official uniform. We provide a list to all chauffeurs and independent operators describing what is considered appropriate attire, which includes a black or dark blue suit (no pinstripes), white or light blue shirts, and a plain black or dark blue tie. Women may wear either a black skirt below the knee or slacks, no open-toe shoes or sandals, and they may wear a scarf instead of a necktie. Overcoats for men or women must be black and cloth. We also suggest that jewelry be modest (no bangle bracelets that could be noisy), and all tattoos must be hidden. Men must remove any earrings.

Clothing with sports teams or religious or political logos is never permitted or appropriate. The only change we allow in the summer months is a short-sleeve shirt (men or women), provided there are no visible tattoos.

Business casual attire is only permitted when we have day trips and with the permission of the customer. In that case, we contact the chauffeur directly and explain what is considered appropriate (e.g., black or tan trousers, polo or button-down shirt, and no open-toe shoes or sandals). In our experience, business casual can be loosely interpreted, and should be specified to not include sweats or active wear. A customer doesn’t want to see a chauffeur in a hoodie and sweats—yes, this actually happened to us one time. We enforce the attire through ghost rides, spot checks at the airports, and direct customer feedback.

Paula DeBiasi, President
Chicago CoachWorks in Chicago, Ill.



Eric Devlin We recognize how important it is to project professionalism and quality at all times. Premier ensures that the shirts and suits are professionally cleaned and pressed by having a local dry cleaner come to the office and pick up dirty shirts and suits three times a week. As a thank-you to our valuable team members, Premier pays for half of their cleaning expense. This is a voluntary perk in which the chauffeur may choose to participate. Premier supplies the custom-made gold silk ties.

Female chauffeurs use a gold silk scarf instead of a tie, but otherwise their attire is the same as the male chauffeurs. During hot summer days in Dallas when it is north of 90 degrees, chauffeurs are allowed to substitute a black vest for the black suit jacket; however, they must always have their suit jacket with them. On rare occasions, a client has requested that a chauffeur dress more casually—for sporting events, etc. In a case like that, Premier will comply with the customer request. All other trips require the standard chauffeur attire.

Eric Devlin, President/Owner
Premier Transportation Services in Dallas, Texas



Steve Felt We don’t have a specific uniform except that it has to be khaki or black slacks, a collared shirt, and a black jacket without any brands or labels on the outside. Sometimes we wear heavy winter coats, hats, and gloves if it’s snowing hard. Since we usually drive in the mountain region of Colorado, it’s much more casual than in the cities due to the heavy snow. In the summer, chauffeurs usually wear khakis and golf shirts, unless the corporate client or affiliate requests suits.

Steve Felt, Owner
Colorado Black Car in Denver, Colo.



Edison Kahakauwila Chauffeurs are just drivers unless they are attired appropriately. This means that they are required to wear a suit that meets both the standards of my company and what the chauffeured transportation client has expected. In addition to the standard black suit and conservative tie, chauffeurs must also have their name tags worn on the left breast lapel or pocket as a part of their uniform.

The best way to insure consistency is have a relationship with a local suit provider that will fit and offer a discount to your chauffeurs. Under our tax rules, we cannot provide a suit that could be reasonably worn outside of work; it’s considered as an expense to be borne by the employee.

For us, the uniformed look between a male and female chauffeur is considered the same. We do require black overcoats in inclement weather, and in the summer, suit jackets are still worn, but with short-sleeved dress shirts.

Edison Kahakauwila, President
L.A. Limousines & Transportation Services in Vancouver, British Columbia



Wendy Kleefisch We require our chauffeurs to wear a black suit, black shoes and socks, and white shirt, with a black tie issued by the company. There are no exceptions, except for breast cancer awareness month in October, when I issue pink ties. After a chauffeur has been with us for 18 months, I will purchase them a new suit. I’m proud to say that my chauffeurs are currently on their third or fourth suit as I don’t have a huge turnover rate. Without my chauffeurs I’m nothing! Also, it’s a complete write-off, so invest in what makes you money.

Wendy Kleefisch, Owner
Brevard Executive Transportation in Indialantic, Fla.



Abdou Louarti Our chauffeurs are employees, and we require them to wear a black suit, white dress shirt, and black dress shoes. We provide turquoise ties to standardize the look. For our female chauffeurs, they have the option of wearing a traditional tie or a cross-over tie. Most of our chauffeurs have at least two uniforms, but we often assist new chauffeurs with the purchase of a suit through a payroll deduction program. In Tucson, the summers are brutal, so we allow a black vest to replace the suit jacket for all transfers except for VIPs. CDL chauffeurs for minicoach shuttles and tours are allowed to wear a company-branded polo shirt in white, black, or turquoise. For all-day transfers, this lets the chauffeur change into a suit for more formal dinner transfers.

Abdou Louarti, General Manager
Diamond Transportation in Tuscon, Ariz.



Steve Qua We require our chauffeurs to wear a black suit, black shoes, socks, a belt, a white shirt, and a company tie. They are also given a suit allowance when they come aboard and we provide the company tie. When the tie gets dirty, they can stop in for a fresh one; we buy them by the gross. Female chauffeurs are welcome to wear a more feminine-tailored suit including a skirt, if they choose.

In the past, our chauffeur staff would wear a company jacket—wool in winter and cotton in spring and fall—but we switched to suits several years ago. While we felt our people looked more professional and were more comfortable in the car wearing company jackets, once affiliates started requiring suits, we had to change our policies.

However, there are times during the summer when it gets so hot and humid that wearing a suit jacket can be unhealthy and/or could create a body odor issue. Those instances do not have a hard and fast rule, and are taken on a case-by-case basis.

Steve Qua, President
Company Car and Limousine in Cleveland, Ohio


Vince Schneider We require both our male and female chauffeurs to wear a black suit, white shirt, and black shoes. During winter, we do offer JED black coats available for purchase, but we will subsidize the cost of the coats by 50 percent. We do a lot of school sports transportation, so on those trips the drivers can wear black pants and a white JED polo shirt without a tie.

Vince Schneider, Co-owner
JED Transportation in St. Louis, Mo.



We’ve loved hearing your answers to our benchmarking questions since debuting this interactive section—but we always welcome suggestions for future topics, too!

Have you wondered how others in the industry have tackled a concern you’re currently facing, handled a delicate issue, implemented a certain policy, or do you simply want to propose a topic for our consideration?

Send an email to rob@chauffeurdriven.com and you just might see your query answered in a future issue. We look forward to your input!


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