For anyone considering becoming a taxi driver there is some pretty important factors to be reviewed and research.
Firstly, do you have the temperament to be a taxi driver? Remember, you are going to be in an enclosed space with a great variety of people for hours on end. These people might sit or silence or natter all the way through the journey, they'll either be completely uncommunicative or highly opinionated and you're a captive audience. These people will also want you to fetch and carry things to and from the car and maybe cram impossible amounts of items of shopping in your boot. Additionally, some may be wheelchair bound or suffer from immobility. And, let's not forget the drunkard who might leave you a special present. If you are prepared to deal with the vagaries of Joe and Jo public, then your next consideration is choice of vehicle.
You will need to make a decision as to whether you want to drive a saloon, or opt for a people carrier, minibus. It is important you talk to local firms about the different rates you can achieve for operating both. This is research you need to do anyway, irrespective of what vehicle you ever opt for. There are various costs involved in being a cab driver, so you need to know the work is available to cover tax insurance , book rental (ie – support for the office that provides you work), fuel, plating (your registration with the local authority ) and general running costs.
Once you've opted for a saloon car, there are requirements you should look for:
- Most local authorities require that any car used for a private hire vehicle is less than 15 years old. Remember, although your taxi insurance quote will be lower the older the car, there could well be a trade off in how much you have to pay out to keep the car running. A newer car should cost less and if you can afford a brand new car, you have the assurance of manufacturers extended warranties.
- Some industry experts recommend that a large saloon that has depreciated by 70% after three years is the optimum choice – models such as Mercedes C5, Audi 95, Vauxhall Vectra
- If your driving is going to be primarily large town / city based, you'll want a car that is comfortable being in 3rd gear for most of the day.
- Big windscreen for clarity of vision
- Comfortable, good-sized steering wheel
- Good sized boot
- Good radio / CD player
- An optional extra for taxi drivers operating nights and weekends in busy urban areas is the anti-assault screen.
Of course, you have to buy a vehicle you can afford. It is pointless taking out a car loan or entering into a finance lease if you do not earn enough from being a taxi driver to make the repayments. And, buy one where insurance is reasonable.