Chauffeured transportation can save the business traveler time and eliminate stress.
This article illustrates how Chauffeured transportation is not only more cost effective, but can make a business traveler more productive and relieve the stress associated with other forms of transportation such as self drive or rental car.
It was 7:00 a.m., the start of another day in Boston, when Mike Palermo stepped off his plane at Logan Airport and began looking for his rental car. Palermo was smiling as life was good. He was earning over $90,000 annually, had a healthy benefit package, stock options, and a menu of other perks. His compensation package was well into six figures.
The young executive’s only complaint was his company’s policy of not allowing him to rent chauffeured transportation on business trips because of cost and image factors. It was 7:20 a.m. After struggling to get his luggage into the car rental courtesy van, Palermo was on his way to a location near the airport where he would pick up his vehicle. Now 7:48 a.m., the mid-sized car is delivered. With map in hand, Palermo is headed downtown to New England’s largest bank for a major presentation at 9:00 a.m. It’s 8:12 a.m. and signs for the new Ted Williams Tunnel indicate that only police, commercial vehicles and livery vehicles are permitted access.
Palermo is diverted to the Callahan Tunnel where a delay is immediately evident. With 48 minutes until meeting time, Palermo is concerned, but not panicked. Now 8:40 a.m., Palermo exits the tunnel, but does not see the small sign for downtown Boston and misses the turnoff. The young executive finds himself on an obscure street on the north end of town. It’s 9:05 a.m. After a quick call on his cell phone to apologize, Palermo looks for a parking spot. At 9:20 a.m., the embarrassed executive greets the bank president and attempts to focus on the important meeting ahead.
An unusual event? Hardly. The Runzeimer Reports on Travel Management examined, “The Value of Executive Time” in a company report and estimates that the simple act of renting a car for one day requires the following time:
1) 30 minutes to rent the car.
2) 90 minutes to locate addresses, get directions, arrive at the destination and park.
3) 30 minutes to return the rental car.
Compare the above to the chauffeured sedan waiting at the airport for the busy executive. Palermo exits his plane at Logan, hands his suitcase to the driver and is out of the airport in 15 minutes. Instead of worrying about getting the rental car and navigating through an unfamiliar city, he focuses on the final preparation before the meeting. The professional chauffeur knows all the best routes. A visitor must stick to the one route provided by the rental car company.
Further, instead of loading the rental car with luggage, returning it to the office, and being transported by a courtesy van, the chauffeured passenger has his vehicle loaded for him and is then dropped off at the terminal.
The business traveler saves a tremendous amount of time and is not subjected to any stress. Is a taxi a viable option for the executive hurrying to make an appointment? According to Charles Clemmons, president of First Choice Limousine in Boston, a taxi driver provides a different level of service than a professional chauffeur.
“A taxicab driver has no incentive to get you to your destination as quickly as possible,” says Clemons. “He is paid for clicks on the meter. If he uses every short cut, he may reduce a $30 ride into a $20 ride. He loses on the fare and the trip. My driver wants to get you there quickly and safely because he knows his job is to get you to your destination as quickly as possible. He is not rewarded for extending the trip.”
Charles Dwyer, Ph.D. and professor of Education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, travels over 150,000 miles every year. He believes much of the thought process that goes into selecting a chauffeured vehicle over a rental car is psychological.
“The entire focus of a business trip is different when I know I have a chauffeured car waiting for me,” he says. “My comfort level and my overall outlook on the day are entirely different. I can focus on why I made the trip, whether I have a speech or a meeting, etc. I can get in the back of the car and either work or relax. Renting a car and finding my way out of the airport and to my meeting really produces tension and anxiety.”
According to Dwyer, there are hidden costs when estimating the expense of a rental car. “It costs to park your vehicle at the hotel,” he says. “I have stayed in luxury hotels where this can be $20 per day. You have to factor in the extra insurance costs, as well as the re-fueling charge. I have paid as much as $3.60 for a gallon of gas. A quote from a rental car company never resembles its final bill.”
The country’s largest chauffeured transportation company had been using this cost justification tool for the past several years. The impetus for selling the service in this manner came from the passengers.
“The executive will use these figures to justify to his company’s controller that hiring our services will save money,” “All it takes is a little numbers crunching. The bottom line is that chauffeured transportation saves money.”
THE NUMBERS BRING IT ALL INTO FOCUS
An executive earning $100,000 per year costs his company about $93.21 per hour (including salary, benefits and overhead). If the executive is renting a vehicle, he will waste three and one half hours executing rental car activities, such as renting the car itself, located addresses, getting directions, arriving at the destination, parking, and returning the vehicle.
Additionally, you have the actual cost of the rental car. After all is said and done, almost $450 is spent by the executive’s company on ground transportation.
The executive could have had six hours of chauffeured sedan service for $340 or less. At the same time, the executive could have been working in the back of the vehicle, rather than driving.
An executive earning $75,000 per year can also save his company money by hiring chauffeured transportation. This executive makes about $70 hour. If he were to rent a car, his company would still spend about $360. While the savings is less, the executive will still be that much more productive. The following figures illustrate how cost intensive renting a vehicle can be for a company can be for a company:
Executive’s Salary: $100,000
Executive’s Hourly Salary: $93.21
Daily Car Rental Rate: (with a Town Car from Hertz at DIA) $110.00
30 Minutes of Executive’s Time to Rent Car: $46.81
90 Minutes of Executive’s Time to Locate Destination: $140.43
60 Minutes of Executive’s Time to Drive to Airport: $93.21
30 Minutes of Executive’s Time to Return Car: $46.81
Total Cost of Car Rental: $442.26
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