Celebrities often have personal drivers, some of which are employed full time. Personal drivers, also considered chauffeurs, drive limousines, luxury cars and even the vehicles of those for whom they drive. Other personal drivers drive taxis or work for car services. In some cases, personal drivers may serve dual roles as security personnel. This and other factors, such as experience, employer and gratuities determine their salary range.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median annual salary levels for drivers, which includes chauffeurs and taxi drivers, was approximately $22,000 as of 2008. In comparison, Simplyhired.com lists the average salary for personal drivers at $43,000 as of 2011. Salaries typically do not include benefits such as health insurance. Additionally, personal drivers such as taxi drivers must pay fees to their taxi companies to lease their vehicles.
Simplyhired.com reports the average annual salary for limousine drivers at $34,000 as of 2011. In places such as New York City and Los Angeles, they earn as much as $40,000 and $38,000 respectively. Generally, limousine drivers work for limousine companies although some are self-employed.
It is not uncommon for personal drivers -- particularly those who work for well-known figures and celebrities -- to also perform duties as personal assistants and even bodyguards. Michael Potter, driver for the late author Stephen Cannell (who died in 2010) notes that drivers who work in this capacity earn between $50,000 and $150,000. The salary range for dual service drivers employed by agencies is between $45,000 and $75,000 annually.
While personal drivers to the stars or other well-known personalities typically do not earn tips, limousine drivers, taxi cab drivers and other types of chauffeurs may. CNN Money states that taxi drivers should receive 15 percent of the fare as a tip. In some instances, taxi drivers may earn as much as 20 percent of fares. Similarly, limousine drivers may receive as much as a 25 percent gratuity for excellent service and as low as 10 percent for bad service.
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