Whether you’re arranging taxi insurance, sorting out licensing requirements or doing vehicle maintenance, running a taxi and minibus hire service can be a real challenge.
Add to this the very competitive nature of the business and you might be struggling to find new customers.
So, whether you’re just setting up or looking to expand, it’s important to get a realistic idea of demand for your services. How well is demand already served and how well do you know your target markets?
A good first step is to check out the competition.
How many taxi and private hire businesses are already operating in your area? What are your local buses like for school children and senior citizens? Are any airport transport services offered? Are local taxi ranks outside pubs and clubs already overcrowded or is there a shortage in the early hours?
Here are seven of the key market segments to consider - are you covering all of these?
While weddings are one-off occasions, they can be very lucrative. There are so many aspects to planning a wedding that brides and grooms are only too happy to get the transportation worries out of the way.
Local wedding fairs are perfect for meeting potential customers and asking directly. Even having your card in local florists and bridal shops can be enough to drum up business.
Weddings come in all shapes and sizes so whether you work alone or have a fleet of shiny minibuses there’ll be plenty of opportunities - from stag and hen parties, moving wedding guests around town or even transporting the lucky couple to their reception.
Approach wedding venues in your patch and ask to be a trusted supplier, it could be the start of a beautiful – and lucrative – relationship!
Wedding venues are often used as locations for corporate events and business meetings throughout the working week so don’t ignore this double opportunity.
Visiting business people or large corporate events will require transport and there’s no reason why you can’t be the one to provide it.
If there are big firms in your local area, enquire how to become a trusted partner – an informal relationship or better yet a contract could mean long-term stable income.
Just as with weddings, keeping to strict pick-up and drop-off times are vital – you can’t be late for such important events.
Also, if your vehicle has amenities like Wi-Fi or power outlets useful to a business person be sure to advertise them, as well as any high end vehicles in your fleet – many business people will want to make a good impression and arrive in style. By using social media, you can help promote this to increase the likelihood of corporate professionals hiring you.
Whether under a regular contract to take pupils to and from school, travelling to sports matches or class trips, taxis and minibuses are often needed to transport children.
Public transport can be unreliable, complicated and expensive for groups of children so schools might prefer to work with a private company instead.
Child protection and safety is paramount, so check on the regulations you must adhere to.
For example, while a driver working privately for a parent or picking up a child as part of their normal licensed work might not need a Disclosure and Barring Service check a driver working regularly for a school will need one.
If you get a council or local authority contract then you’ll need public liability taxi insurance to protect yourself and your business in the event of an accident involving your passengers.
If there’s a local sports team with regular fixtures or a large sporting venue nearby then don’t miss out on regular work.
Plan your working calendar around key fixtures and advertise online or in the local press for your services linked to the event.
And don’t ignore the away team fans, either – they’ll be more likely to need local knowledge to get them there in time for kick off.
With increasing numbers of people in retirement or care homes there’s scope to help people who may no longer be confident to drive.
These customers might have special requirements for transportation, such as space for a wheelchair, so promote that if it’s something you offer.
Talk to local retirement or care homes and see if they already have a relationship with a taxi service. Forming a mutual bond of trust will ensure repeat business and a sense of fulfilment that you’re helping people in need.
One of the most popular times for people to need a taxi is after a night out.
This is a competitive market so start by contacting local entertainment venues to see if you can become the recommended firm for customers in need of a ride at the end of the night.
In any event, leave plenty of cards on display at the venue.
Check what the provisions are at local hotels and airports. Can you just drive to these locations and join the line of waiting taxis or are there special requirements?
Potential customers include families and individuals on holiday, and business travellers.
These groups don’t typically mind paying a bit more for a solution that takes care of transportation in a seamless way so they don’t have to worry. All they have to do is make the call and show up at the pickup point.
Once you‘ve identified your target market, you'll need to start advertising. Get business cards printed so people will have your number to hand and make use of ads on social media, which can be targeted based on location.
Foster positive relationships with repeat customers and people like pub landlords or hotel managers who call taxis often – you'll soon find yourself with a steady stream of business if you do.
Whether it’s through conversation or online reviews, any customer feedback is useful and needs to be listened to, as it helps you adapt your service and, hopefully, increase profits.
Growing your taxi service, increasing your profits and widening your customer base can be highly rewarding but also challenging, and the specialist team at Taxi Insurer understands that.
While you can never rule out risks such as road accidents, damage and theft you can protect yourself and your investment with reliable taxi insurance tailored to your specific needs and budget.
Interest-free payment plans are also available to make your taxi insurance more manageable.
Get a quote today.