Fancy working as a taxi driver, but don’t know where to start? We’ll guide you through the process of becoming a cabbie below.
There are hundreds of thousands of taxi drivers operating throughout the UK today, and they all needed to start somewhere. If you’re wondering what you need to become a taxi driver and how to go about becoming a successful one then you’ve come to the right place.
From what type of licences you need to what does taxi insurance cover, this article contains lots of important information you really need to know. As well as this guide, if you want to get started immediately then be sure to read our 18 actionable steps to become a UK taxi driver right now.
Just like finding the right taxi insurance cover, there’s no better place to begin your journey than here at Taxi Insurer. From your very first vehicle to a whole fleet, when it comes to taxi insurance, we do the leg work so you don’t have to.
Fortunately for those starting out on a career as a taxi driver or a private hire vehicle (PHV) driver it’s a very accessible business to get into. Perhaps the first question any wannabe driver will need to ask is what kind of licence do I need to become a taxi driver?
The answer to this question will depend on whether you’re looking to work in and around London or elsewhere in the UK. Whether you’re looking to drive a taxi or a PHV, the UK government website has details on the different requirements for both inside and outside the capital.
Outside of London, driving licences for taxis and PHVs are dealt with by your local council. To find out the licensing authority for your area, simply enter your postcode into this handy online checker.
Each council will have slightly different procedures for applying for a licence and different fees to be paid. So, approach your council directly to find out what exactly you need to do.
To be eligible for a licence you will need to prove that:
In view of the position of trust that a professional driver holds, you will also need to be considered a ‘fit and proper person’. So, you are under a duty to report to the council details of any convictions, cautions, charges or summonses you have been subject to.
There is also a duty to report any medical fitness issues that could impact on public safety and protection. If the council is not satisfied that you are a fit and proper person then they will not grant you a licence.
The council may also require you to:
Costs for any of these tests and other licensing fees will vary across the country depending on the type of taxi or operation. For example, at the time of writing Swansea Council charges the following fees for taxi and PHV licences:
For taxi and PHV drivers looking to work in London, the licensing authority is Transport for London. The application processes for taxi and PHV drivers are online and are designed to be completed quickly and easily.
Simply start your application by registering online. Alternatively, email TfL at email@example.com and ask for an application pack.
To be eligible for a taxi driver licence you must:
These medical and character requirements include:
In terms of typical costs of a taxi driver licence application expect to pay the following:
£52 DBS application
£120 Licence application
£180 Grant of licence
£200 Knowledge of London written examination
£400 Knowledge of London face-to-face interview
£92-£112 DSA Hackney Carriage driving test
£8 Medical assessment
In terms of typical costs of a PHV driver licence application expect to pay the following:
£52 DBS application
£124 Licence application
£186 Grant of licence
£36 Speaking and listening assessment
£36 Topographical assessment
£36 SERU assessment
You may also need to pay a fee for a medical assessment set by your GP.
If you want to stay profitable as a taxi or PHV driver, it’s important to choose the right type of vehicle for your business. And get it licensed by the appropriate licensing authorities.
Just as with taxi and PHV driver licences there are also different ways to apply for a vehicle licence depending on whether you’ll be operating outside or inside London. Read on for further details.
All vehicles must have no more than 8 passenger seats and will need to be inspected and licenced by your local council. You’ll also need taxi insurance that covers you for hire and reward and includes you as a named driver. The question of what does taxi insurance cover will be discussed later in this article.
While each local council will have different criteria for vehicles, most will inspect your vehicle to ensure:
Local councils can also attach conditions to taxi vehicle licences. These can include:
While PHV drivers will generally not have so many conditions attached, all drivers will want to consider factors such as ease of access, luggage space, and fuel efficiency. You’ll also need to make sure that the vehicle you choose is suitable for your target market.
All vehicles must be inspected by TfL and meet certain standards.
In terms of fees. The PHV application fee is £84 and the grant of licence fee is £56. For taxis the application fee is £66 and the grant of licence fee is £44.
Whether outside or inside London, there are many vehicles just right for taxi specialisms that can boost your business. For example, if you’re thinking of specialising in airport or station transfers, it’s a good idea to use a vehicle with plenty of space for luggage and good fuel economy over long journeys.
Be aware that if you’re thinking of using Uber as the basis of your PHV work, there are also certain requirements your vehicle will need to meet.
Finally, remember the type of vehicle you choose to drive as a taxi or PHV will have an impact on other costs, such as taxi insurance premiums or fuel bills. A vehicle in a lower insurance group should also help to lower your overall policy fees.
Once you and your vehicle are licensed, you’ll want to start earning as soon as possible. But before you earn a penny, you’ll need to decide whether you’ll be an employed or a self-employed driver.
Many professional drivers start their career by working with an established firm as a contractor or employee before becoming self-employed later in their career. There are pros and cons to both options.
Working for a taxi company can be a good idea when you’re just starting out as technical issues such as tax and insurance are taken care of – giving you the time to focus on your taxi driving skills.
Being self-employed could also work out for you as you’ve got greater freedom on the routes and times you work. For more on how to become a self-employed taxi driver then read our handy guide.
It has lots of useful information to help you get set up and keep your business running smoothly. It answers the question ‘what does taxi insurance cover?’ as well as lots of other tips and tricks perfect for you.
When you’re starting out, be sure to factor in the additional start-up costs as a new driver, including taxi insurance and licence fees. It can take a while for drivers new to the game to pay off their annual fees and premiums and to begin turning a profit.
According to the National Careers Service, the average annual salary for a taxi driver can range from £14,000 for a starter to £30,000 for a more experienced driver.
For those PHV drivers choosing to work with Uber, recruitment specialist Indeed estimates an annual average salary of £21,408.
When you’re working out what makes a successful taxi driver there’s a lot to consider. And it’s all too easy to get bewildered by all the advice that might come your way.
Take a look at these 16 top tips to ensure you’re set up for success.#
1. Know your area so you’re always able to pick the best route given the time of day, amount of traffic and other potential delays.
2. Turn up on time and if you’re running late, call ahead to let them know.
3. Driving safely and ensuring customer comfort has to be a top priority, so avoid harsh braking and other poor driving habits. We’ve got lots more in-depth advice on how to ensure your passengers have a safe journey.
4. Be professional and polite at all times. No matter how difficult the passenger or fellow road user is.
5. Always expect the unexpected from other road users. That way you’ll always be ready when it matters.
6. Take pride in everything you do. Including the appearance of both you and your vehicle.
7. Pay attention to customers' individual needs. From a little help with luggage to providing insightful tips and advice, everyone loves a personalised service.
8. Look after your passengers not only when they are in the cab, but when getting in and out.
9. Attract customers by offering a better service rather than simply cheaper prices.
10. Take the time to market your business effectively. Look at our 21 top tips for developing your taxi firm’s brand and marketing for further help.
11. Make sure to take breaks and days off. If you’re tired you won’t offer the best or safest service.
12. Take care of your physical and mental health. Taxi driving can be a demanding, lonely job and it’s important to stay fit and healthy.
13. Keep your vehicle well maintained.
14. Install CCTV and a dash cam in case of accidents and other problems.
15. What does taxi insurance cover? Contact the Taxi Insurer team who can talk you through your insurance options.
16. What are the rights of a passenger in a taxi? It’s important to know what your responsibilities are, so read our quick guide now.
One of the most important questions to ask as a new taxi driver is ‘what does taxi insurance cover?’. When you contact the Taxi Insurer, our experienced team of insurance specialists will explain exactly what’s included.
There are many different insurance products on the market offering varying levels of bespoke cover for taxis and PHVs. Standard taxi insurance usually includes motor insurance and passenger liability insurance to protect you and your passengers in the event of an accident whilst you’re working.
There are also a range of options you can add to policies to create bespoke cover that suits your taxi business needs. These can include:
‘What does taxi insurance cover?’ and ‘What’s excluded?’ should be two of the first things you ask your provider. Common exclusions are:
What does taxi insurance cover? Why you should review your taxi insurance policy on a regular basis? We’ve got all the answers here at the Taxi Insurer.
What does taxi insurance cover when you come to a specialist like the Taxi Insurer? Let’s take a look.
With access to an industry panel of leading UK insurers, benefits of taxi insurance cover arranged through us may include:
What does taxi insurance cover? Give the helpful team at the Taxi Insurer a call today to find out.