If you are looking for a chauffeur driven car, it is safe to assume that you will want one the has an established reputation for service and reliability. But what else?
No two companies offering chauffeur driven cars are alike and inevitably you will have to establish between what is hype and fact. A starting point is to ensure that the company is licensed. All companies operating chauffeur driven cars are required to be licensed for private hire with their local District Council, or in the case of London, with the Public Carriage Office (PCO). Similarly, all of the vehicles that are offered for hire or reward must be licensed by the relevant authority and, only licensed private hire drivers can drive a private hire vehicle. The requirement for licensing ensures that the chauffeurs are subjected to both a medical and a criminal records bureau check.
Another little know fact, but nonetheless, very relevant if your are seeking to hire an executive chauffeur driven car, is the question of the private hire plate. All private hire cars are required by law to have a private hire plate fixed back and front. If you are seeking to impress, then a yellow plate fixed to the back of your chauffeur driven Bentley Arnage is going to look a little out of place, however, the news is not all bad. Some suppliers of executive chauffeur driven cars have succeeded in gaining an exemption, meaning that they do not have to display the private hire plate. If this is important to you, then it is worth checking with your chauffeur services company first.
If you are a business or business traveller, then the choice of vehicles available to you may be a significant factor. Whilst it is important for your chauffeur car services company to have a reasonable number of ‘bread and butter’ executive cars available at short notice, it is also helpful if they have other models, such as people carriers, top of the range vehicles, including for example a Rolls Royce and, maybe even stretched limousines.
Standards are important and within the chauffeur industry, these will vary widely, depending entirely on the type of service the operator actually offers and the level of control over the delivery of this service. For example, many chauffeur companies employ owner drivers, in much the same way as a private hire “minicab” company would. The main difference is that the owner drivers have executive cars rather than the usual family cars used by minicab firms. This provides the chauffeur cars operator with scale and choice, but it can come at the expense of control, given the chauffeurs are effectively self-employed and the vehicles are not necessarily company owned and therefore, maintained or subjected to daily scrutiny. Nonetheless, this model does work and is quite commonplace.
Others may act as agents or brokers, offering chauffeur driven cars from third party chauffeur car hire services companies, with the agent billing the customer and then sub-contracting the work. This is a generally accepted and commonplace practice, provided a strict check is kept on the companies that are being sub-contracted to. That is often easier said than done. Once again, this may be the core business model of the chauffeur services company, it could just be used to supplement the peaks and troughs of the main business and offering more flexibility to their clients.
Company owned vehicles and employed chauffeurs are more rare and tend to be the smaller operations. What they may lack in scale, they tend to make back in terms of control over service, reliability and staff matters. Once again these companies will tend to use other companies to assist as and when necessary.
Some, but not all, executive chauffeur car service companies will offer account facilities. If this is important to a business, then it will need to go to the top of your list. However, most companies will charge a fairly significant premium for those wanting accounts facilities, perhaps as much as 10 to 15% representing the increased risk and affect on cash flow.
Cars for Stars Limited is a well established and experienced, award winning company providing chauffeur cars and limousines through an extensive branch network. Cars for Stars in London is licensed by the Public Carriage Office (PCO) for private hire. Other Cars for Stars branches are franchised and therefore licensed through their respective local authorities. All Cars for Stars offices are obliged to adhere to the high standards and service as the Group. The local authority licensing regime means that the businesses are subject to regular assessments and scrutiny to ensure that they comply with all of the regulations and standards, the vehicles are also subjected to bi-annual tests, in order that they can retain their private hire vehicle licence. In addition, the chauffeurs must be licensed to drive these vehicles. For a chauffeur to obtain and maintain their licence they must be subjected to and pass a medical and will also be subject to a Criminal Records Bureau check.
Cars for Stars offer a full complement of chauffeur driven cars and American limousines for hire and all of their vehicles are exempted from the requirement to affix a private hire plate to the vehicle. As a full service chauffeur cars company, Cars for Stars offer a range of services, which include business and leisure travel, tours, wedding cars, transfers to and from airports, long-term hires, tours, European travel via the Eurotunnel other forms of event transportation. The range of cars is extensive, but includes a choice of entry level chauffeur driven cars such as the Chrysler 300 and Mercedes E Class, executive, people carriers, 4×4’s, long wheel base cars including the Jaguar XJ, Mercedes S Class and BMW 7 Series as well as the pre-requisite smattering of top marques which include the Bentley Arnage, Rolls Royce Phantom and Maybach 62. Limousines come in different shapes, sizes and colours. As a licensed provider, the maximum number of passengers that can be carried, irrespective of size is eight.