The Five Rules of Limo Success

I’m always asked, "Is driving a limo a good way to make it in Hollywood?" My answer is, "Absolutely." Many successful actors and producers start in the behind-the-wheel part of the business before branching out. But if you want to save yourself a little heartache, you’ll follow these five rules:    1. Don’t pull up to […]

Last Updated: March 31, 2009 @ 7:18 PM

I’m always asked, "Is driving a limo a good way to make it in Hollywood?" My answer is, "Absolutely." Many successful actors and producers start in the behind-the-wheel part of the business before branching out.

But if you want to save yourself a little heartache, you’ll follow these five rules:
   
1. Don’t pull up to a puddle. This is just common sense. You don’t want a client coming out of the car and sloshing mud all over her $500 shoes. But "don’t pull up to a puddle" is a metaphor. You want your client to look good. At the very least, C&W — which is limo code for clothed and waving.

Beyond that, you are a key to what I call "the emerge." This is the moment when the client steps out. And in case you think that’s easy, a done deal, I’ll post a link to a site where you can see dozens of videos of celebrities getting out of limos and hugging the curb. For some, mastering the craft of acting comes more easily, oddly enough, than being able to maintain their balance getting in and out of a car. Of course, some are naturals. The first time I watched Anne Hathaway get out of my limo, I knew she was destined for an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award someday.

2. Everyone is the President. There can be loud music and champagne corks and buttons popping back there, but in your mind, that isn’t Colin Farrell, that’s Barack Obama. Precious cargo. Besides, someday, if you envision that real hard, who knows, it might come true.

3. No blind spots. Have you cleaned the filters on your biodiesel engine? Are you topped off? Does the vehicle shine? Is the Bluetooth connection working? The GPS? All the other media? Are the bar and refrigerator stocked and the flatware and linen spotless? Can you receive real time tweets about traffic conditions? Is the spare at proper psi? Is the earthquake survival kit stowed?

What about the sideview mirrors? When I see the way most of the world adjusts its car mirrors, it makes me laugh. No precision. No thought. It usually takes me a good 15 minutes to adjust my mirrors.

4. You get the most mileage out of a smile. As in "smile and shut up." One of the most satisfying feelings for a limo driver comes when you pull up at the end of an evening, just as the sun’s rising, and people pile out rubbing their eyes and asking, "How the hell did we get here?" That’s when you know you’ve done your job. When nobody’s noticed the ride or the driver.

5. Don’t let your ex-wife get into the backseat with another man. This turned out to be my toughest rule. But it’s a story for next time.

“Stretch” is the handle of a 25-year-old, L.A.-born driver who hasn't been cited for a single moving violation in the four years he's been behind the wheel in the most demanding limo-driving environment on earth. He's an independent operator whose goal, he says, is "to get people where they need to be" with a priority on security and comfort for his clients in the creative community.