The taxi service business is doing so well in the UK right now because of a number of reasons. It now caters for all people and not just the elderly. 32% of the population uses a taxi at least once a month. The easiest way to make money in this business is to start with the common black cab vehicle if you are in a busy area. Private hire vehicles thrive in country sides and suburban areas, such as this Ashford Kent taxi service. The start-up capital will depend on whether you use your own vehicle or a franchised ‘own driver system’. Ensure you understand the rules and regulations governing the taxi service business, especially the various necessary licenses.
6 essential requirements for setting up a taxi service in the UK
Your office should have all the necessary licenses and meet the health and safety regulations. To get a planning permit your office should have a parking space enough for your vehicles. Many people starting a taxi service choose to use their homes as their operating base to save on the start–up capital. If your home will be used just as a communication base with just phones and press2talk radio which means no cars coming and leaving your compound except those for your personal use, then you only need a message handling permit. Your commercial premises should be in a place where there are a lot of potential customers to benefit from walk-in customers and a prime location guarantees adequate radio frequency.
Vehicles have to be licensed by the local authorities. Some areas have rules regarding the vehicles make, age and colour. Before starting to accept bookings, you must obtain a private hire operator license. To get one you must prove to be a citizen of good conduct. No criminal convictions, bankruptcy or breach of safety and health issues. You must also show a relevant radio license, insurance documents and legally acquired equipment and insured and licensed drivers with good conduct certificates.
You can choose private hire vehicles that do only pre-booked jobs or hackney’s that pick up passengers on streets and are only on call if they are not busy. You can also use your vehicles or owner driver vehicles, which pick passengers off the street and can be hired too. Using owner drivers is cheaper if you are starting off because you only need communication equipment, but if the vehicles are yours you will need capital to purchase the vehicle, licensing plates, insurance for the vehicle and to hire a licensed driver.
To be able to communicate with the drivers you need a reliable means of communication. You need a radio system thus a radio license is necessary and it is granted by the radio licensing authority. Your equipment must be genuinely obtained. Install an antenna to transmit the radio communication. The planning department is concerned with all issues of permitting aerials to be erected on buildings. Choose a busy commercial area as your operating base and this will ensure you have a better signal and if you are covering a large area you can pay rental on a line on one of the phone masts.
If it is a small business then one operator can manage it and they do not have to be skilled. If your taxi service is big you need skilled operators who can handle large number of communications and are efficient and work under extreme pressure. Use two channels to separate the bookings that come in and also to communicate with drivers. Another way is to use a low cost data system that allows the driver with a booking to press the radio and then the operator can inform them on details when they are done with the current call.
If you will be using your own vehicles then you need to be insured. You must insure the firms’ cars, drivers and third parties. Look through all insurance companies to get the best cover for your vehicles. There is a private hire insurance cover separate for minicabs. You also need to insure your equipment and office. There are several insurance providers that specialize in covering taxis, private hire vehicles and minicabs while others will insure you only under the commercial vehicles cover.
All drivers must be licensed by the necessary local licensing authority. If you use your own vehicles and must hire drivers you must hire a licensed driver or pay for one to go through the training and testing so as to acquire the license. If you use your own drivers they also must be licensed. Your drivers must be insured for 24 hours.
There are numerous different rules governing the taxi service business in the UK and all local licensing authorities have different sets of licenses for those wishing to start the business it would be prudent if you made yourself conversant with all these regulations in order to run your business smoothly.