If you’re thinking of getting into the taxi industry, there are many things to think about.
The first is whether to go private hire and join an established firm or go self-employed and take on the traditional cabbie lifestyle of driving a Hackney Carriage.
If you’ve decided to go down the self-employed, black cab route, consider these key areas before getting into the industry.
Chances are becoming a taxi driver will offer a sizeable cultural shift from what you’re used to, so there’s plenty to weigh up.
On the plus side, being a self-employed driver gives you the flexibility you’ll be hard-pressed to find in other work. It’s up to you when you want to work and you can manage your own wages (which come in as you earn them).
The only targets are set by you, making it a low-stress role. And if you like meeting and talking to new people, there aren’t many better jobs out there.
Conversely, you’ll likely need to be out most evenings and weekends in order to attain the most profitable fares. You’ll also need the drive and ambition to keep yourself to a schedule that makes you money and be happy spending long periods of time behind the wheel, regularly dealing with heavy traffic.
It’s important to be sure this lifestyle is for you before taking the plunge.
Buying a Cab
The reason you need to be sure about the lifestyle is that the next step is buying a vehicle, which will mean a considerable outlay on your part.
Becoming a black cab driver means meeting a range of rigorous standards and having an up-to-scratch vehicle is a big part of that.
Depending on your budget, you might wish to look second-hand. Any purchase of a used cab should be approached with caution; make sure you do your research in advance and ensure the vehicle is properly maintained.
If you have the capital, going for a state-of-the-art model is likely the best option. The new Ford Procab or Mercedes M8 from Cab Direct (who also offer used vehicles) represents a significant investment off the bat but will offer you quality and peace of mind for years to come.
Know the Industry
The impact of ride-hailing apps like Uber is something to consider when getting into the taxi business.
There’s no doubt that black cabs have faced challenges from the success of Uber, however with the brand’s recent struggles in London and advances in contactless payment technology in normal taxis, black cabs have gained some traction against the platform’s competitive advantages.
Look into the market in your area. Consider who you’ll be up against and how strong certain brands are in the local market. If you can establish a niche to attack, stick to it going forward.
Once you’ve considered these key areas, it’s time to get stuck into the finer details and enjoy the ride to becoming a self-employed driver.