Taxi driver career routes
There are various routes to becoming an employed taxi driver, which often suit different ambitions and circumstances. Whether you are looking to become a taxi driver for the first time, or want to change your existing employment status, this guide discusses the various employment options for people pursuing a career as a driver.
Work for a taxi firm
As an employee, you are entitled to employment rights such as a minimum wage, sick pay and holidays. However, full-time salaried employment is unusual in the industry, and it is more likely you will be employed on a per job or part-time basis, or hired as an independent sole trader. If you are not a full-time employee, and only hired by the taxi firm for specific shifts or jobs, your income potential is reduced, whilst all fares go to the firm, not you. However, the taxi firm provides the jobs, car and does the admin, whilst you just turn up to drive for an agreed fee, which is ideal for many drivers. As you develop trust with the firm you hope you get more work, which leads to more income, though it will always be limited as the firm would seek to cover office overheads and generate profit from each journey.
Independent: renting a car
As an independent driver, you have the flexibility of dictating your jobs, hours and rates. However, it may make more sense to rent a car rather than buy one. Some firms will provide a branded car so you can work under the firm umbrella, whilst others may give you the option to act completely independently. In either case, you are committed to paying rent on the car, which may include other services including insurance and bookings. The main benefit is increased independence and choice versus working for a firm, and you’ll get to keep your fares. However, you will be responsible for paying rent on the car which, if missed, may lead to your car being taken away from you, making it harder to get another in the future.
Independent: owning a car
Like renting a car, buying a car offers more flexibility and freedom to increase your earning potential. However, as a car owner, you are completely in control. You don’t have to worry about paying rent and once you have paid for the car you have an asset you can use to maximise income, with security that you can sell it in the future. There are various mechanisms to help you buy your own car, including finance options and hire purchase. As a driver, you may decide to become associated with a local firm, paying them a commission on jobs so you don’t need to worry about lead generation. For many experienced drivers, buying a car is the ideal situation to aspire to.
As you look to progress further, you will find your income potential is limited by your time. With just one car available to drive at any one time, you will eventually hit a limit. The next step is to look to set up your own firm, hiring drivers allowing you to take on more jobs and earning income from their journeys. Setting up a firm requires careful consideration because the costs can be significant and it’s very different to operating as an independent driver. However, if done correctly, the earning potential of a taxi firm can become limitless.