Working as a taxi driver can be a time consuming and sometimes stressful business. Worries about being beaten on price and long waits for business are just some of your concerns.


Something which no driver wants to find at the end of a fare is if a passenger has made a mess or damaged your vehicle during the journey. After all, it could mean the end of your fares for the day. So, what can you do to get your vehicle cleaned up and back on the road?


If you picked up your passenger through the Uber app there could be a great option available – you could claim an Uber cleaning fee to help cover the costs. Intrigued? Here’s what you need to know about the cleaning fee.


As a specialist broker for insuring taxis, we understand that having your vehicle ready and available for work at all times is one of the most important considerations for you and your business.


That’s why we offer a 24-hour claims management service so any issues can be dealt with quickly and efficiently by our experienced team.


How you can request a cleaning fee

Requesting a cleaning fee through Uber is relatively simple to do either through the app itself or via the Uber cleaning fee help page.


If you’re using the app, submit a cleaning fee request by tapping through to Help > Trip issues and adjustments > Issue with a rider > A rider made a mess in my vehicle.


You then need to submit the following details to support your claim:


  • At least two different photos of the mess. If the incident happened at night then be sure to use a torch or your camera’s flash so the mess is easily viewable. Also describe the mess to the best of your ability – clearly bodily fluids or other sticky or staining substances will require much deeper cleaning than others. Everyday items like rubbish or spilt water that can easily be thrown away or wiped up quickly should probably be expected as part of normal business and are unlikely to attract a cleaning fee.
  • A photo of the cleaning service receipt. To be considered a valid receipt it must be an official (preferably stamped) receipt with the date of the cleaning and the details of the car wash or valeting service where the cleaning was done.
  • Details of the trip. In order to pass on the cost of cleaning to the correct passenger you need to specify who made the mess and when.


Don’t delay as a claim must be lodged within three days of the incident to be accepted.


The more accurate information you can provide, the more likely it is your claim will be successful. Uber assesses claims on a case-by-case basis depending on the extent of the mess and the reasonableness of the cost of cleaning required.


Therefore, the fee could end up being more or less than the cost of the professional cleaning you received. There have also been reports of passengers successfully challenging unreasonable or inaccurate cleaning fees.


Once your claim has been received and validated the cleaning fee should be applied to your Uber account.


Why it’s important to keep your taxi clean


A person cleaning the inside of their car with a cloth

Keeping your taxi spic and span both inside and out is just part of the regular maintenance routine so you and your passengers can drive around in a clean, safe, working vehicle.


To make sure you have added protection when you’re out and about, always make sure you’ve got the best taxi insurance in place, too.


How often should you clean your taxi?


Outside of the kind of mishaps mentioned above you should probably be looking to give your taxi’s interior and exterior a thorough clean around once a week.


While it might not be at the top of your list for things to do on your day off, caring for your vehicle makes good business sense.


Obviously, you’ll want to give your car a regular check for any rubbish or crumbs to make sure passengers journeys are as pleasurable as possible – after all you’ll want customers to recommend you to others.


While a passenger might not notice if your exterior is a little grubby, they shouldn’t have to accept a dirty or untidy interior, particularly at a time when hygiene is uppermost in everyone’s minds.


Tips for interior cleaning


The inside of a clean car

Certainly during the present time you’ll be following strict cleaning procedures to help stop the spread of COVID-19. In addition to this regular disinfection you can also do the following to keep everything clean and tidy.


  • Clear out any rubbish. Any litter needs to be picked up and disposed of safely between fares. No one should have to sit on previous passengers’ crisp packets or sweet wrappers – indeed, this is any easy way to lose business.
  • Vacuum car mats. Car mats collect surprising amounts of dirt from passengers’ shoes. A regular beating to dislodge dirt and a vacuum is essential.
  • Clean and disinfect throughout the vehicle using cleaning products suitable to the car’s interior. Seats should be spotless, so get rid of marks and stains as soon as you notice them.
  • Don’t forget the windows. Window glass is a prime place for dirt and germs to develop. Clean windows will be appreciated by more discerning passengers.


Request a taxi insurance quote


From black cabs, saloons and MPVs, for both private and public hire, the team at Taxi Insurer can arrange cover for a range of vehicles.


At Taxi Insurer, we work with a panel of leading insurers to get you a fair deal suited to your taxi requirements.


We know that the taxi industry can be tough so we offer interest-free payment plans to make your insurance more manageable. With protected no claims bonus available, why not see if we can save you money today?


Whether you’re looking for cover for a single vehicle or an entire fleet, talk to us today.


Call our team to arrange a no-obligation taxi insurance quote today. Or complete the request form and we'll call you back at a time convenient for you.


Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.


Frequently asked questions


How to clean hard to clean surfaces in my taxi?

When it comes to challenging surfaces such as floor mats and upholstery, a vacuum cleaner might not be enough. Here's how to clean hard to clean surfaces in my taxi: Start with a good scrubbing brush and an upholstery cleaner. Spray the cleaner on the surface, scrub vigorously, and then wipe clean with a dry cloth. For stubborn stains or dirt, you may need to repeat the process.


Can I stop customers making minor mess in my taxi?


The first step is to set clear expectations by politely informing your passengers about keeping the cab clean. You can also invest in car seat covers and floor mats which are easy to clean and maintain. Providing small trash bags or bins could also discourage littering. Remember, your cab is your personal space and it's okay to ask for respect for it.


A customer made a significant mess in my taxi, how should I react?


Having a customer make a significant mess in a taxi can be incredibly frustrating. However, reacting with anger or rudeness won't help the situation. You should calmly explain to the customer the inconvenience they have caused and request them to help in resolving the issue.

If they refuse, consider charging a cleaning fee, which is a common practice in taxi services. Always remember, maintaining professionalism is key, even in challenging situations.


How do I deal with vomit in my taxi?


Dealing with the aftermath of a passenger's unfortunate major bodily fluid mess can be quite a challenge. Firstly, clean up the mess immediately, using gloves and disposable towels. Then, use a mixture of baking soda and water to scrub the affected area. Let it dry, then vacuum. For stubborn smells, white vinegar can be helpful. After cleaning, air out your taxi as much as possible.


How do I make my taxi smell better?


Keeping your taxi smelling fresh is crucial for providing a comfortable ride for your passengers. Start by maintaining cleanliness; regular vacuuming and wiping down surfaces can prevent unpleasant odours. Don't ignore the mats; they often hold onto odours. Use a fabric freshener or a car deodorizer to infuse your taxi with a pleasing scent. Lastly, open the windows whenever possible to let in fresh air.


What happens if I don't pay Uber cleaning fee?


Uber has a strict policy for maintaining the cleanliness of their cars for the comfort of all riders. If a driver reports an incident and submits proof, Uber may charge a cleaning fee to your account. If you fail to pay this fee, Uber may suspend your account until the fee is paid. It's in your best interest to keep the car clean and avoid any potential fees.