How to become a Private Hire Taxi Driver ?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Employment, Jobseeking & Training
7 replies 56.8K views
TzarJayTzarJay Forumite
88 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Employment, Jobseeking & Training
I am 20 and I am interested in becoming a Private Hire Taxi Driver in the near future. I have a full UK Driving Licence with no points and I have no criminal record. I enjoy driving and I'm a fairly outgoing and confident person, so I was going to try Private Hire out.

But, I have NO idea how to start, or where to start. I don't know any Private Hire drivers, or what type of Licence or qualifications I would need to become one. Do you need to buy your own car ? How do you find a firm to work for ? Are jobs secure ?

I am basically trying to start from scratch here, so anything will be helpful for me.

Thanks.

Replies

  • torbrextorbrex
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    Get in touch with your local council offices, its usually them that issue the licence.
    First (and easiest) to get is a hire car drivers licence and involves not much more than filling in a form, paying a bill (£40/50/year) and being approved by a committee.

    Here in Fife they have started an awareness course for drivers, nothing complicated, just a 3 hour session detailing what is expected of the drivers and various rules and regs.
  • w211w211 Forumite
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    You will need to look on your local authority's website for detailed information on how to apply as each are different.

    In most cases, you would need to hold a full driver's licence for a certain period, usually 2 or 3 years.

    You would also probably need to have an enhanced CRB check done this could be done by the local authority on your behalf and is included in your application.

    A medical is also likely to be needed.

    Furthermore, most local authorities require you to do a topography test of some sort, testing you on your knowledge on your local area. This could be very straightforward, or one of the hardest in the world if you're planning to be come a (green badge) London taxi driver, taking 3 years or so to learn, where "The Knowledge" requires you to learn all the 20,000 streets within six miles of Charing Cross and points of interest (museums, police stations, hospitals, courts, embassies, etc.)

    About the car, you could buy your own, or choose a company to "work" for which may supply you with a car. However becuase of your age, most may not supply you with a car becuase of the high costs of insurance. Even if you have your own car expect the insurance to be at least a few thousand pounds. It's challenging enough to find insurance at 20 years old on a small hatchback for normal use, so finding it on a much larger car suitable for this job, used for hire and reward (often with unlimited mileage usage) is going to very tricky.

    If you are to buy your own car some local authorities will require it to be a certain age, colour, engine size, and most likely needs to be MOTd twice a year if the car is over one year old.

    The reason why I had "work" mentioned earlier in inverted commas, is that most of the time private hire/taxi drivers are usually self-employed. However, they are not really self-employed in the sense that they may be required to work a fixed-shift pattern for one particular firm, and they may tell you to wear a uniform, and you can't sub-contract that job out to another driver. If you don't follow their rules you may find that you may not get the "sack/fired" as such, (you're self-employed so you can't), they'll just stop giving you work. They are also not obliged to give you any work anyway, and you may not earn enough to earn minimum wage, and you won't get holiday pay, sick pay etc. You'll have to sort out your own tax affairs and NI, and keep a record of expenses you incur so you can offset them against income tax you have to pay.

    If you hire a car from a company it is likely that you can't use that car to do jobs for other companies as its likely it will have their company logo all over it.

    Best way to start is to look on Gumtree under "Drivers" and click on your nearest location/area.

    It is not an ideal business to be in at the moment, people are cutting back on this sort of spending, possibly using cheaper public transport instead, people aren't going out as much to restaurants, cinemas, clubs etc., where this sort of service would be in demand.

    It's only in London where I work, where business is steady and people have to get around, corporates, more tourists (than other parts of the country, perhaps), higher profile business people/celebrities (where personal transportation is more of a security issue as well).

    Also working for one company prohibits your earnings as well when they're not busy, and if they're not busy they can just take on more drivers, so more drivers pay rent/circuit fee and the work is then spread more thinly amongst the existing drivers.

    If you're determined to go ahead with this, I can only recommend you get an operator's license, where you can take bookings direct from people, and start advertising yourself and looking for your own work rather than working for a company, but that is hard and takes a long time to build up to make a successful living with it.

    Also note the difference between private hire and taxi. Private hire (is what this post is aimed at) is where you can only accept a job which has been prebooked (either on the phone/internet/text/e-mail), where a taxi can accept a job by being hailed on the street or at a rank.

    Good luck, but I think the major restriction is that you're 20 years old and the insurance is going to be a very major issue.
  • paddedjohnpaddedjohn Forumite
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    Insurance may not be a problem if you jockey a car off the taxi firm, they normally have a block insurance and you will pay about £50 insurance per week (as long as there are no age restrictions as stated above) plus about £80 for the car and whatever the firm charge for the radio these days.
    Be Alert..........Britain needs lerts.
  • tori.ktori.k Forumite
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    It may be something you want to put off for a few years cabby insurance has all but doubled this last 12 months and doesn't look like it's coming down anytime soon add in the cost of fuel and running cost's outside of London most cabby's are lucky to bring in Min wage at the moment.
  • maninthestreetmaninthestreet Forumite
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    Part of the Furniture
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    At the age of 20, you will never be able to afford the insurance.
    "You were only supposed to blow the bl**dy doors off!!"
  • scooby088scooby088 Forumite
    3.4K Posts
    Most private hire drivers are over 25 and i think most private hire firms have a policy for this too due to insurance, I would ask local firms what their policy is first before even considering a job as a taxi driver. Most councils who issue a licence also require you to under go a medical, private hire drivers rarely have to know local knowledge.
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