As busy as people are in business, politics or even getting married, it's no wonder 166,890 taxi drivers and chauffeurs were employed in the United States as of May 2011, according the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Chauffeurs -- another name of limo drivers -- offer an experience more than a ride. They may provide people with luxurious traveling space, snacks and drinks. If you are personal, patient and dependable, the job of limo driver may suit you well, and you can earn a decent hourly wage, plus tips.
Limo drivers earned average hourly wages of $12.03 as of May 2011, according to the BLS. If your wages were among the top 10 percent, you would make over $17.87 per hour. In this field, your hourly rates are usually based on experience, geographical area and the type of employer with whom you work. For example, you might make significantly more as a personal limo driver to a movie star or singer than for a busy business person.
Hourly Wages by Industry
Hourly wages for limo drivers were highest in the movie industry, according to the BLS -- $25.76 per hour, where drivers escort actors and actresses to Hollywood parties and red carpet award shows. You can also earn an exceptional hourly rate of $23.61 working in the aerospace industry. However, expect closer to average wages as an employee of a limousine company at- $13.38 per hour, and even less working in the travel accommodations business -- $11.32.
Hourly Wages by Metropolitan Area
To earn the most as a limo driver, move to the Tacoma, Washington, area. There, they earned $18.44 per hour in 2011, according to the BLS. You would also earn an above-average wage in the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, Connecticut metropolitan area -- $17.60. Hourly rates were still above average in the New York-White Plains-Wayne, New York-New Jersey and Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, Massachusetts areas -- $15.84 and $12.96, respectively. But you would only make $10.16 per hour in the Billings, Montana metropolitan area.
Good vision, hand-eye coordination and basic math skills are some of the necessary skills of a limo driver. As for math skills, you must keep track of people's fares and provide change when necessary. Customer service skills are also essential, as that's what gets you repeat business. A high school diploma can help, but is not required, though some drivers might have bachelor's and master's degrees. It's all part of the dynamics of a recovering economy with more older Americans working longer.
The BLS reported that jobs for taxi drivers and chauffeurs, including limo drivers, will increase 20 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is faster than the national average growth-rate of 14 percent. Whether you want to work temporarily while continuing your job search, or full-time, a clean-driving record and flexible schedule will get you in the driver's seat faster.
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