Becoming a taxi driver

If you want a job where you are your own boss, and can work when you want, for the money you want, becoming a taxi driver is the perfect for you. To become a taxi driver you do not necessarily need any qualifications, however you will need to complete a geographical knowledge test and of course hold a driving license. You will also need criminal record checks and to get an operator’s licence. Here is some advice from GoTaxi to work out if the job is right for you.

The Work

Every town and city needs taxis as they are great for those who are either nipping down the road or need transport to the airport for example. In London most cabs will be ‘black cabs’ but you can also saloon car providing you get the appropriate licence. You will need to show a license plate and a roof sign too.

The job role consists of:

  • Picking up and dropping off customers
  • Loading and unloading your vehicle
  • Listening to your radio to find out details for the next jobs
  • Keep your vehicle clean
  • Keep your vehicle in a roadworthy condition
  • Helping passengers in and out the taxi
  • Calculating the right fare and sorting out change for the customer
  • Taking the fastest and safest route
  • Keep accounts up to date if you are self-employed

If you are a private hire taxi driver, you will only take passengers that have booked in advanced through the company or operator.

If you are a self-employed taxi driver, you can get flagged down and pick up customers from anywhere.

Getting Started

You will need to apply for an operator’s licence from the licensing unit of your local council or from Transport for London if you are working in London.

The conditions to get a licence are:

  • You must have held a full UK or EEA driving license for at least 12 months (3 years in London)
  • Pass a medical test
  • Be over 18 (21 in some areas including London)
  • Pass a criminal record check
  • have the right to stay and work in the UK or be a UK or EU citizen
  • pass a geographical test
  • complete a driving skills assessment

The geographical test in London is called ‘The Knowledge’.  With this test, you will have to learn the roads inside and out, including all the landmarks and places of interest. After learning ‘The Knowledge’ the authority may also ask you to complete a short driver training programme.

Hours

As a taxi driver you are your own boss, you can work when and where you want. You are more likely to find work in evenings and weekends. Friday and Saturday evenings would be the busiest and best times. If full time, you would be working between 40 and 60 hours a week.

Income

If you work about 40 hours a week in a major city like London, you can earn between £12,000 and £20,000 a year. Depending on how many hours you work or what business you get, you could earn up to £30,000 a year.

To earn better money, you need to put in the hours and target the best areas.

Skills Needed

  • Customer service Skills
  • Good driving skills
  • Awareness of road safety
  • Detailed knowledge of your area
  • Awareness of disabled access
  • A good understanding of laws and regulations about licensing, insurance and road use

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