For many people, the prospect of starting out as a taxi driver is an enticing one, with a constant stream of customers lining the streets of every city and the barriers to entry not much greater than the cost of running a car and acquiring a licence.
Of course many choose to sign up to drive for an existing firm in their local area, enabling them to be part of a large network of drivers with access to an existing customer base, albeit reducing some of their earnings. Some, however, take the bolder leap of setting up their own taxi firm. If this is what appeals to you, then here are some things to consider if you want to join them.
Unfortunately it’s not as simple as getting in your car, driving around, and charging people to get in and take them to their destination.
You’ll need to make sure you have the appropriate licence in place from whichever local authority branch may be responsible for private hire vehicles. You will have to have the right insurance too so that you can be covered for any damage or accidents that happen causing injury to your clients.
And of course you need to make sure you have the right roadworthy car. You may need to tidy up your vehicle first and take it in for an MOT before you turn it into a professional tool. Alternatively, you might want to group together with a group of other drivers to form a company together, in which case you’ll need to build a whole fleet of cars.
With any vehicles you should make sure they are accessible for people in wheelchairs or who need mobility support too: look for a specialist firm like Allied Mobility to help you find the right equipment.
In order to take bookings you’ll also need to set up a phone line and ensure it is staffed reliably at the times you advertise so that your customers can reach you when they need you.
Once you’ve got all the necessary paperwork dealt with and your cars and staff ready to go, it’s time to introduce yourselves to your market.
Get your cars branded with your name and number so that people will come to recognise you when your drivers are out and about. Consider placing ads in local newspapers, or alternatively simply have some cards or leaflets printed and put them through local people’s letterboxes. Don’t forget that while a lot of people may not read the junk that comes through their doors, they are more inclined to keep useful info like taxi numbers next to their phone in their hallway.
Building a presence on social media is vital these days too, with more and more people finding out about what’s on in their area through Facebook and Twitter.
By following some of those tips you can make your taxi firm the leaders in your area. One more thing: Just like for any other business startups, you need to do your due diligence before you start your taxi firm.
Be sure you research the market thoroughly, and be aware that you differentiate from your competitors. Most importantly, make sure you focus on your license as, to my surprise, some neglect this very basic requirement of running a trusted taxi firm.