Wednesday Dec 28 2011
Need a ride home? call on Driver Please
By: Gloria Beverage, Placer Herald Editor
Rocklin man part of start-up team for unique personal driver business
Michael Parker can truly say he loves his job. As Director of Operations for Driver Please, Parker is a member of the start-up team for the unique service headquartered in Roseville. A resident of Rocklin for five years, Parker had worked as a paramedic in the San Jose area for close to 18 years before moving back to the foothills and college. He needed a part time job, so hired on as a driver for the company founded by Mike Dumke last spring. Over time, Parker agreed to work full-time with Dumke on building Driver Please, a company that provides an alterative to private car services and taxis. “We always use the customer’s car,” Parker said. “That’s the novelty of it.” While one of the primary benefits is keeping drunk drivers off the road, Dumke’s vision is to provide affordable transportation options to people who can’t or don’t want to drive themselves. The idea for the service was sparked by a conversation at a party, Dumke acknowledged. A Granite Bay resident, Dumke often travels to the Bay Area for meetings and trainings and found it more convenient to hire a personal driver rather than depend upon public transportation or taxis. After learning an acquaintance had been utilizing the same driver, Dumke recognized the opportunity to provide a unique service. “We have designed our service to be easy, affordable and dependable so people have a viable option besides getting behind the wheel,” Dumke said. The service provides highly-qualified drivers who are rigorously screened (criminal background check, DMV record review and personal interview), insured and bonded, Parker explained. They are also required to be professional in their appearance and demeanor. “One of our founding principles is trust,” Parker said. “(You need to) know that the person showing up at your door has been thoroughly vetted and screened.” The flexibility of the work schedule has attracted a unique and interesting group of individuals, he added. “One driver has a masters’ degree in theology and is working on a Ph.D., Parker said. “We have former police officers and an ordained Baptist minister.” When requested, Parker explained, the assigned driver arrives at the customers’ home in his own vehicle and does a safety check of the vehicle before setting off with the customer. “The driver provides front door service,” Parker said. “When you arrive (at your destination), the driver will hand you a business card with name and cell phone number on it. The driver then goes to a coffee shop or café nearby to wait until you call.” Customers can also arrange for pick-up service after a night of partying. In that case, two drivers are sent to the location. While one driver drives the customer and vehicle back home, the second driver follows to pick up the driver. “I have found the service incredibly valuable,” said Granite Bay resident Mike Briare. “I have used it for events like Giants games in SFO, Kings games, concerts… No waiting in lines to get out of the parking lot. No worries about having a beer at the game and, best of all, I get to sleep on the way home.” Briare indicated he has also called on the service to transport his elderly parents, especially when they are traveling out of town. “The drivers are always nice people and I feel safe with them behind the wheel,” he concluded. Driver Please is a membership service with an annual $29 fee. For personal driver service, patrons pay a pick-up fee of $25 plus $2.95 per mile up to 10 miles and $1.50 per mile after that. Parker indicated some businesses have hired the driving service for special events or parties. “We take clients to doctor’s appointments, shopping, to San Francisco for a show or Giants game, wine tasting, concerts, fun nights out and more,” Dumke said. Dumke has now set his sights on expanding the business to the San Francisco Bay area as well as other areas. And Parker believes the business will succeed. “Mike (Dumke) has a proven track record of starting up successful businesses,” Parker said. “He’s dynamic and really involved in the community. Personally, he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.” ________ Good to Know: What: Driver Please Cost:?Annual individual/family membership is $29. Patrons charged a pick up fee of $25 plus $2.95 per mile up to 10 miles and $1.50 per mile after. For more information: visit DriverPlease.A or call (877) 687-3748.