How to become a self-employed taxi driver in the UK
No matter where you are in the world, whether it be a bustling city or a calm rural countryside, there will always be a need for taxi drivers. If you enjoy interacting with other people, are comfortable behind the steering wheel for long periods of time and would love to be on the road, being a self-employed taxi driver might just be the right career for you. If you want to manage your own work schedule, including the number of hours and days you’ll be working, the self-employment route offers these advantages.
Our guide will give you a quick overview on what you need to know to become a self-employed taxi driver. Finding the right cover doesn’t have to be stressful, you can easily compare taxi insurance online to get the best deal possible.
Taxi drivers are able to work in either black cabs or white cabs. The key difference between these is that black cabs can pick up passengers from a taxi rank, be flagged down the street, or pre-booked in advance. White cabs are only able to pick up those passengers who have pre-booked. Black cabs are predominantly found in larger cities where there is a higher demand for the service, generally charging customers by the meter. White cab taxi drivers will charge customers a fixed fee, and can often be cheaper when factoring in traffic delays and adverse weather conditions.
All taxi drivers are legally obliged to have a license, which must be displayed in their vehicle whilst they are working. The local authority will set the conditions to obtain this license. The following parameters will apply for the majority of applicants wishing to pursue this career:
Hold a full UK driver’s license for at least 12 months
Be aged 21 or older
Provide evidence that you have the right to live and work in the UK
Pass a DBS and CRB check
Pass an in-depth medical exam
Pass a specialised taxi driving text
As a self-employed taxi driver, you’ll need to have access to your own vehicle, you can either buy a car outright, purchase through finance options, or you could lease a vehicle. You must ensure your vehicle adheres to standards set by the local authority.
Being a taxi driver doesn’t require any formal training, although you will be required to have the following skills:
Excellent customer service
A good geographic understanding of the area you will be working in
Basic math skills
Physically fit and healthy to carry out your duties
No matter what you decide, whether it’s a black cab or a white cab, a large proportion of taxi drivers are self-employed. A great starting point for your new career would be to work on a freelance basis, or within a small taxi company to get the much-needed initial experience. Working for a taxi firm to begin with will allow you to benefit from being able to access their customer base, in addition to the administrative support the company will also provide.
There are a number of advantages to working as a self-employed taxi driver; you are now the boss, and can choose your own working hours and days. This allows you to manage your schedule and gives you flexibility when balancing home life and work life. Here are just a few of the other benefits you can expect when going self-employed:
Able to work as many hours as you wish
Reduce your tax bill through business expenses such as vehicle hire, taxi insurance, fuel etc.
Take annual leave whenever you desire
The amount of money you will be able to earn will ultimately depend on how many hours you decide to work. If you’re comfortable working unsociable hours, you will be able to charge more during these periods.
When you’re taking the first steps in this new journey, contact a few local taxi companies that may be hiring. Each company will have many different drivers working various shift patterns. This will allow you to gain continuous work while you build up your own customer base. Please remember that you will not be allowed to poach any customers, as there may be legal ramifications for doing so.
For your own customer base, you’ll need to print business cards and leaflets and either deliver them yourself or pay someone to do this for you. Having a social media presence, your own website and being listed in local telephone directories will help you succeed.
Building a good rapport with your customers will help you secure future work. You can achieve this by being punctual and remaining professional at all times. Not only will customers use your services time and time again, they will be happy enough to recommend you to their family and friends, giving you even more opportunities.
This guide should give you a brief understanding on what it takes to become a successful self-employed taxi driver. We hope that you’ve found it useful. As always, we wish you the best of luck in your new role and remember to drive safely.