Monday, 17 December 2012

How To - Private Hire Licence. Planning & Preparation.

Planning & Preparation

A major part of your service to the customer has been completed before you even meet.
Planning and preparation can make or brake the journey and may be the difference between success or failure.
If done properly your customer will be impressed with the smoothness of  their journey and how professionally you have delivered them to their destination.
Impress them and you may have a repeat customer and, certainly, recommendation by 'word of mouth'.

Some of the obvious considerations include route, time sensitive issues, any additional costs.

Part of your planning has been considered when you have supplied a price. For example, a journey into London may attract the congestion charge that will have to be added to your fee. Adding car parking fees is another obvious charge. Forget to add these extras and you will see your profit diminish and you can hardly alter your quote later.

Southampton Chauffeur Hire provide services that include variable considerations depending upon the type of journey and requirements.
Treat each journey individually and research each aspect.
There are some first time experiences where there will be only a few resources so you can only gain the knowledge by completing the journey. There are places that I will give examples, namely Wimbledon and Twickenham, the 02 Arena and Calais. I will explain later. Using the categories or pages on the website I have given some examples of the variables involved.

Airport Transfer & Airport Car Southampton 

1/ Time critical - Normally the customer will state the time of pick-up but sometimes they will ask for your advice. Time of day and traffic volume, will be the variables. Allow time for unseen circumstances like traffic incidents and bad weather. Always allow more time than needed as it is better for the customer to arrive early than to suffer the stress and worry after suffering a delay that puts the arrival time and flight in jeopardy.
2/ Luggage - Ensure that you vehicle's boot capacity is big enough. Confirm this with the customer at the quote stage. Cruise passengers can carry more luggage than air travellers as they don't have to worry about weight. Also they carry more luggage to cater for evening wear.
3/ Airport destination - Some airports are easily accessible while others, like London City Airport, demand a route through London or via the Dartford Tunnel. This will increase the journey time.
4/ Car parking and 'meet and greet' - Some airports (Bournemouth) charge for entering the airport grounds, even to just drop-off. Others charge to pick-up (Luton). Consider adding to your quote for parking as collecting your passenger will incur extra time as well as the parking fee. 

Executive Travel including Hampshire Executive Travel & Bournemouth Executive Travel

Business/corporate clients use executive standard travel for a variety of purposes that also include entertaining and social engagements. You may take a customer to a business meeting or to the airport but it could be to Twickenham to watch England v Australia. Therefore, depending upon the purpose, it may be time critical.
Conversation will include business matters in addition to general conversation. Be aware that business conversation will be confidential while general conversation may include you. Judge when you should contribute and when you should be inconspicuous.

Wedding Car Hire including Hampshire Wedding Car Hire & Bournemouth Wedding Car Hire

1/ Time critical - 'Get me to the church on time' goes the song. You may only be asked to take the bride and bride's father to the wedding venue but you may have several trips before the final journey. Taking other members of the party may be included like brides maids or family members. Normally several trips are OK if the wedding venue is nearby. Be aware of issues on the day. For example Southampton Registry Office is near the docks and adjacent to the main shopping complex. If the cruise terminal is busy or it is a busy shopping Saturday at Christmas or sale time, traffic volume will lengthen the journey time. If Saints are playing at home this will have the same effect.
Allow more time for these issues. Weddings are happy occasions where some guests have not seen each other for along time and have a lot to talk about. Getting guests there early will not cause any problem. Your main concern is delivering the bride and escort to the venue on time.

2/ Wedding car decorations - The weather can be a consideration for how you dress your car. I have florist prepared door and bonnet decorations and ribbons that will stain in the rain. I have purchased cheap waterproof bows and ribbons to use in bad weather. Please let your customer know that you may use the less attractive decoration if the weather is inclement as you don't want them to be surprised or disappointed.

3/ Wedding car parking at venue - Some venues have restricted parking that may mean you park nearby to the entrance and the wedding couple will not know where their car is located. For their reassurance let them know where you will be located.

4/ Route to reception venue - Your happy couple have emerged from their venue officially married and it will be their first opportunity to discuss the day's previous events and their wedding ceremony. They may not want to take the quickest and shortest route to their reception. Ask if they want to take the scenic route and take time together before entering into the next part of the celebrations.

5/ Music - Consider playing a CD containing wedding type music. This will complement your wedding car image (ribbons and bows) and add to the ambience and atmosphere.

6/ Car and chauffeur presentation - Both you and your car should be immaculate. Car spotless inside and out. Air freshener used. Suit and polished shoes.
Give yourself plenty of time for car preparation and getting yourself ready. You don't want to put yourself under stress. 

Luxury Private Hire

This category includes the other reasons why you will be hired. Any reason why your customer will want a luxury chauffeured car to take them to the special occasion. It could be as a prom car, retirement 'do',  Christmas or New Year party.
Each journey will require individual research.
Here are a few examples to give you an idea.

A) Wimbledon Tennis. An elderly couple who were not disabled but could not walk far. Research, on the official website map, showed the closest car park and access to the grounds was for coaches. Upon arrival I was permitted to drop-off and collect from the location.
B) Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. Google Street View was good to show me the road layout and access points and possible drop-off and pick-up points but I realized that traffic volume would impact at the time sensitive times. A phone call to the general enquiries office resulted in the staff member imparting her local knowledge and suggesting a nearby service road adjacent to Tesco Express. Having arrived early, at the pick-up point,
I was able to park and collect my customers.
C) The 02 Arena, London. A phone call to the Enquiries Office did not assist and I was merely referred to the website map. Google Maps showed that there was a likelihood of congestion as the car parks and taxi points are adjacent to the arena. The Private Hire area is a 100 metre one way cul-de-sac next to the main entrance/exit.
At the time of collection the area was grid locked. Roundabouts and junctions were blocked causing buses to block access points. Drivers sounding their horns and the public streaming out onto the roads.
My customers were happy to wait and accepted the situation. However I saw that, prior to the car parks, there were pull-ins and areas suitable for waiting. By arranging with the customer they could have evaded the delay and walked a couple of minutes to an amended location. This would have saved about 45 minutes.
Consider printing off the website map and handing it to your customer. If you can not get to the agreed collection point you can call their mobile and request any new instructions.
D) Wembley Stadium, London. The customers wanted to be dropped at a local pub for a meal etc. prior to the game. Drop-off was fine but at final time the roads were coned and parking officers were everywhere. The collection point was not accessible. I was lucky in that I found a parking space just a couple of hundred yards away and phone my customer.
E) Twickenham Rugby Stadium. Prior to final whistle the police restrict access in the whole area (including the A316). There are No Right Turns and blocked roads. There are 'Tow Away' areas and parking officers. It is difficult for taxis to arrange to pick-up as the authorities try to encourage use of official car parks and to keep residential streets for locals. Fortunately my customers were regular visitors and arranged for me to collect them from a street that was about ten minutes walk from the stadium.
F) Calais. Dogs, unless assistance dogs, are not allowed on the ferry with foot passengers and Eurostar does not allow pets. I was hired to drive, via Eurotunnel, to Calais and collect the customer and dog. I then transferred them to Southampton, back though the tunnel. This 'job' required research as to legality for me to collect in France. Comply with French law (Breathalyzer kits, GB sticker etc.). Route from, and to, Calais Frethun Station, Pet Passport and Eurotunnel 'Check-in' procedure.

For every return journey make sure you give your customer your business card. If contact has to be made, for whatever reason, then can remain 'in touch'. Politely enquire if there mobile battery has enough charge.

Be aware, that for most events, the police and authorities will restrict access prior to the finish of the event. Get back to your collection point in plenty of time before the restrictions are put in place.

I hope this has been of some help and I'm sure I will be adding and updating this page with other examples.