The digital revolution has had a profound impact on the taxi industry. On-demand taxi apps, ride-hailing, and the traditional black cabs have taken over the roads in our cities. IBISWorld found that the total revenue of the UK taxi industry was at a whopping £9 billion in 2019. The taxi industry is growing at an exponential rate, and it’s time for you to join it.
Follow this guide to start your own taxi or private hire firm.
The legal side of things
Before you can set up your business plan and join a service, you need to address the legal side of becoming a taxi driver. You must hold a full driving license from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), Northern Ireland or European Economic Area State in the UK. You must hold the right to live and work in the UK, undergo a thorough DBS check, and be over 18. However, please note you cannot be licensed until you are 21.
You might also need to get a medical examination and complete a topographical skills assessment for private hire licenses.
Make a business plan
Once you have your license, you can start to work up a business plan. You need to decide what type of service you will offer, how many hours you can work, and the equipment needed. You could purchase a minibus to expand your fleetand carry more customers.
Private hire firms
Private hire cabs must have a prior booking when collecting passengers. These firms are usually branded with ‘private hire only’ and their company name. You will face a steep penalty if you pick up passengers with no prior booking.
A taxi service can pick people up off the street without a booking. For example, people may queue at a taxi stand and wait for a black cab in city centres. Black cabs are regulated, and your local council controls the fares. If you decide to be a taxi service driver, you will be self-employed. You have to go through multiple checks to be awarded a license.
London is a little more complicated for taxi drivers. You need to pass the Knowledge of London test to become a taxi driver in the capital. You need to learn and memorise landmarks and streets within six miles of Charing Cross. Be warned – there are thousands to remember. Transport for London can grant a license for the whole of Greater Londoner, or just for one of the different suburban sectors.
Become a taxi driver this year to earn some extra cash or to make a full-time living.
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