To Tie, or not to Tie, that is the question. The very question I was forced to ask myself when I very first started Personal Class Travel. Like many men, I am not a fan of wearing ties, and will only do so when absolutely necessary, and reluctantly. On the occasions I have had to wear a tie, I have removed it at the very first opportunity. Or at the very least, loosened it, and undone the top shirt button.I remember thinking as a child, when I was having to wear one every day in school, if I ever got to a position in my life where I had the choice whether to wear one or not, I wouldn’t. Back then though, it appeared that everyone wore a tie to work, apart from manual workers. Even Eddie Stobart drivers wore ties. It was almost as if the world said, in order to be successful and achieve in life, a tie was essential. Then Richard Branson came along, with his Jeans, shirt and no tie wardrobe, and proved that you didn’t have to wear a tie in order to get to the top. He certainly has done OK without one.Steve Jobs never wore a tie, he did ok, Mark Zuckerberg never wears a tie. Jeff Bezo appears to go tieless, as often as he wears on. No tie, yet at the helm of massive corporations. Clearly then, a tie isn’t essential to get to the top.
Sure, plenty of CEO’s, Managing Directors, and leaders of commerce do still wear a tie, but many do not. In my twenties and thirties it became clear to me that I did not have to wear a tie to be sitting in charge of a FTSE 100 company. So my desire as a child, not to wear a tie, when I was in charge cemented. A tie was not required. It was optional.
So why in my Forties, was I forced to ask myself this question once more? The question had been answered, hadn’t it? It would appear not. At least not in the Private Hire Industry. There seems to be a belief that Chauffeurs MUST wear a tie. Which is fine, as Personal Class Travel is not intended to be a chauffeur company. However, here is where the crux of the issue arises. On the face of it, it seems that the Private Hire Industry is split neatly in two. You are either a minicab firm, or a Chauffeur Company. Personal Class Travel is neither. We sit between the two. A minicab firm are the ones who take you to the pub, shopping, around town. Uber. To the driver, you are “just another fare” they probably won’t see you again, and all they are interested in is getting as many fares done in one shift as possible, to earn as much money as possible. Service Levels, on the whole are not high up in a minicab drivers thoughts. A Chauffeur Company is the one who will pick up in a Mercedes S Class, or a Rolls Royce and the driver will be suited and booted. To Chauffeurs, Service is EVERYTHING. They want your return business. They want to see you again, and they want you to book them again. The fares are higher, but the levels of service are so much higher. This is the philosophy of Personal Class Travel. Service, Service, Service. Satisfaction, Satisfaction, Satisfaction. We want to see you again, we want you to book with us time after time. So of the two, minicab or Chauffeur, Personal Class Travel are closer to a Chauffeur company, than a minicab firm. Which means the question, “To Tie, or Not to Tie” once more raises it heads. It is still very much expected that Chauffeurs are fully suited and booted at all times, which means the dreaded tie. I could have decided to take the company down the full Chauffeur Route, but that again would have presented other issues, in the vehicles I currently operate. They would be deemed “not up to scratch” by the industry at large. As I said earlier, Chauffeurs are expected to drive Mercedes S Class, Rolls Royce etc. Expensive luxury vehicles basically. Where as myself and my drivers currently drive Kia’s and Ford’s, with a couple of Mercedes E Class thrown into the mix. Should I upgrade to a more “Chauffeur Approved” fleet of vehicles? Not a this stage, in the companies life. I don’t want to put that scale of debt onto a fledgling company. So I decided to stick with the fleet at my disposal, and not enter the Chauffeur Market.