How we assure great client service and hospitality.

November 06, 2013

- Posted by Stephen Chapek

more than a limo service

If you're interested in hiring a chauffeur service or luxury van for an upcoming event or day out, one consideration is pricing. You want to know how much this service is going to cost. In particular, clients have a bit of anxiety over how to handle the tip. Is it included, is it not included, how much should I tip, how do I tip? etc.Our Gratuity and Tipping policy

At Brilliant Transportation, we strive to be transparent in our pricing so clients are not disappointed when their trip cost more than expected. So, let’s talk about tipping and how we have designed our gratuity policy to be consumer friendly.

Our Gratuity and Tipping policy

First, a little background. In the executive transportation and chauffeured vehicle industry, it's common for companies to conceal the full cost of a trip to minimize ‘sticker shock’. After all, limousine service is a luxury item and many companies accordingly charge high prices. But to attract more customers, they try to minimize the cost at the outset so you’re more comfortable giving them your credit card. Once they have you on the hook, don’t be surprised to see a bunch of additional charges, like service fees or gratuity fees, tacked on top of what you thought was your final bill.

This is what is known in the industry as ‘Plus, Plus’ pricing. Your limousine will cost you 'X' amount of dollars, plus all this other stuff and plus some more. In this scenario it's not uncommon for a client’s bill to double the original estimate.

When you're comparison shopping, and we believe you should, we encourage you to ask all the hard questions and uncover all the additional fees, surcharges, service charges, etc. summarily added to your bill without transparent disclosure.

Why We Do It Differently

At Brilliant Transportation, we don’t believe in doing business that way. We want to add value to your special event, not create frustration. Having clear pricing up front is part of solution. We practice inclusive, ‘Net, Net’ pricing where the services you are paying for are included in the hourly price up front, instead of bundling a bunch of additional charges at the end of your trip.

Of course, this does not mean flat rate pricing all around. Each individual limo trip is different, from the number of hours, locations, number of vehicles, etc. Thus, each trip has to be quoted individually, but we always give you the most accurate quote possible for the circumstances of your unique trip.

There are unanticipated factors that can impact the cost of your trip, like wait times (for passengers who are late for their reservation), parking lot fees, parking tickets incurred due to being asked to stand in no standing zones, or even cancellation fees. These types of incidences have to be handled on a case by case basis and are dealt with at the end of the trip when all the information is known. For more information on these expenses, see why we price differently than every other limousine company.

Brilliant is inclusive as possible in terms of our hourly price yet we value your input. Therefore, our gratuity policy is that tipping is discretionary. We leave that matter up to the client to decide how much to tip. You could say, ‘well isn’t that an extra cost?’ But there are important reasons we leave this up to the customer.  

Have you ever been in a situation, say in a restaurant, hotel or taxicab where there was mandatory gratuity added to the bill, but you felt you received inadequate, or even terrible service? Odds are you have, and I’m sure you weren’t thrilled with the experience. You had no choice in the matter, because they didn't give you a choice.

Have you ever traveled to Europe and experienced mediocre (at best) service at restaurants? The waiters and waitresses, by and large, are indifferent. They bring your food and beverage but do so at a leisurely pace and aren't actively engaged in your welfare. Why? The customary gratuity added routinely to the check may be the answer. They get paid the same whether they deliver mediocre service or exceptional service. By and large, we maintain that service standards are higher in America than in Europe because of the discretionary gratuity policy. American employees are financially incentivized to provide superior service daily.

At Brilliant Transportation, we never want this scenario happen to you. Of course, we hope that none of our clients ever have an unsatisfactory experience with us, and we work hard to make sure that is so. But mistakes and misunderstandings can occur from time to time, which dampen customer expectations. We want to give you the choice of tipping in accordance with your experience.

Even within our company there can be variations between a satisfactory experience and an exceptional experience. In some cases when a client receives exceptional service at companies where the tip is already included, or capped at a certain amount, the chauffeur is excluded from the possibility of earning a higher tip for the exceptional service he or she provided by going beyond the call of duty.

Giving clients the choice of providing the level of gratuity they are comfortable with empowers the client and aligns the service and priorities between the client and chauffeur to its proper level. Fixed gratuities ensure poor performance and result in mediocrity. After all, if you were driving someone and you knew you were going to get tipped no matter what you did, would you work as hard?

What would be considered a good tip?

Again, while we hesitate  to put a hard number on it, a good benchmark is 10-20% of your total, or a fixed dollar amount such as $50-$200. For example, on a typical trip 3 hour trip in a Brilliant Van, your hourly subtotal would be $675. A 20% gratuity for that trip would be $135.00.  Of course, your circumstance will vary, as will your level of satisfaction. We encourage you to tip as you please.

We strive to have every chauffeur particularly well trained and on point, we find a particular bond often forms between clients and a particular chauffeur.  Whenever possible, we honor chauffeur requests; although we cannot guarantee availability.  

In closing, your chauffeur is an essential part of having a terrific trip and, where warranted, we encourage you to show your appreciation. Often, the acknowledgment of satisfaction and appreciation of the effort and hard work is equally important as your financial generosity.


Topics: Brilliant Transportation, Customer Service

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