The driver and Oga (boss) – A Driver Management Company Perspective

In the last 2 years of building DriveMe Fleet Services, we have gained invaluable experience dealing with both drivers and clients. We have experienced many different personalities as our business operations are centred on ensuring we accommodate all these personalities and then connect the right driver to the client’s unique requirements.

In this period, we have developed strategies on how to deal with the different kinds of people we come across daily.

As we build a business that is working tirelessly to change the narrative of how drivers perceive themselves and also how the clients engage and treat their drivers, we consider the Nigerian context in our approach to influencing the narrative.

In this article, we will attempt to describe our ideal driver and client. We will also give some examples from our experience.

At DriveMe, part of our work is to;

  1. Maintain a large pool size of drivers around the city
  2. Ensure the drivers are trained to be professional on the job
  3. Match drivers and clients based on unique requirements of both parties
  4. Maintain a high level of customer satisfaction

Who is the ideal Driver?

“I have been driving for 12 years”

A lot of the drivers we come across daily, base their professionalism on the length of their driving experience. In our opinion, years of driving experience is important but other attributes contribute to professionalism, which includes;

  1. Attitude to work

This is very critical to customer experience as a driver that does not have the right attitude to work or take his job seriously will probably get to work late often and fail to take instructions. Regardless of corporate or personal, a driver with a bad attitude is typically unable to hold a job. In some cases you find the drivers struggling to provide references from past work, thereby claiming that the prior boss has left the country or the prior company laid-off drivers to cut cost.

  1. Communication

What is said, how it’s said and when it’s said is important in communication. We have come to know that some drivers are not as educated or even exposed making good communication a challenge in many cases. Some cannot speak English and would rather communicate in pidgin English, some cannot read or write, while some speak and communicate excellently. The ideal driver should be able to read, write and speak ‘ok’ English and also know not to speak unless spoken to.

  1. Appearance

Dark trousers, white or blue neat shirt (tucked in), shoes, neat hair cut plus shave, short and neat nails. We expect a professional driver to always look presentable.

  1. Personal hygiene

This is a big deal! Many cars have air-conditioning; imagine having a driver with an interesting presence (body odour). That right there is really scary to imagine. It is strongly advised that a driver should shower at least twice daily, wear deodorant, carry a face towel and wash hands after using the restroom. At DriveMe we encourage all our drivers to have a small bag they carry to work every day, in it, they should have a comb, face towel, deodorant and maybe soap. This is essential because they wash the car in the morning and will probably sweat while at it, so, the content of their bags should be used to freshen up after keeping the car clean.

  1. Care for the car

A driver can know how to drive but is not attentive to developing issues with the car in his care. An example is a driver who did not notice the temperature gauge of a car going up until the car started to overheat.  A driver should keep the vehicle neat at all times, drive the vehicle with care, pay attention to issues and report them accordingly.

  1. Road knowledge

This can also not be underemphasized, a driver should know some routes within the city and be willing to learn new routes. Although some drivers may not know a lot of places (this does not make them a bad driver). At DriveMe, we have commenced training our outsourced drivers on the use of Google maps, this is included in our training curriculum.

At DriveMe part of our work is to ensure that drivers deliver excellent services to our customers by engaging three senses (sight, smell, hearing).

Who is the ideal boss (oga)

The customer has a crucial role to play in ensuring they get the best performance from their driver. We have come across customers who are really nice to their drivers while some treat them quite unfairly. The ideal oga should some or all of the following attributes

  1. Keeps to agreed working hours

We have met with clients that say they only need their driver to work from 6.30 am – 7 pm but end up using the driver till 11 pm daily. This is a major issue as drivers, in this case, feel exploited.  Some cases recorded include clients who get home after midnight, don’t care how their driver gets home and also expect them to return to work by 6 am. We understand Lagos traffic can be horrific sometimes, however, show a bit consideration towards your driver.

  1. Courteous in communication

Drivers want to be treated fairly.  As much as we train drivers on how to better communicate, we believe clients should also be courteous to their drivers. We have recorded cases of verbal and physical abuse from clients, this is highly demoralizing to the drivers and will definitely affect performance

  1. Realistic about expectations

“I need a driver that will resume for work at 4.30 am”, “I need a driver that knows every corner in Lagos”, “I need a driver that can double as my personal assistant”(Some drivers, especially graduates might see this as an opportunity to advance their career or add more value at work) ….etc.

  1. Can tip

A tip always goes a long way. A tip is not compulsory but can increase motivation especially in the Nigerian economy where the agreed salary is most likely not enough to live on.

  1. Pays attention

“Why do I have a driver if I have to look at the road” – This is a valid argument because you expect the driver to get you where you’re going. In some cases the client may know how to get to the destination, the driver may know how to get to the area but not the exact street you are going to. Please endeavour to direct your driver at least, the first time you’re going to a location.

There is not a perfect person, but with understanding, patience and fairness, the world of driver and oga relationship can be so much better.



Published by

Damilola Odunlade-Akeju

Chief Executive Officer

DriveMe Fleet Services


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