Getting a job as a taxi driver can be a smart – albeit challenging – choice for you if you’re interested in driving.
Being a taxi driver has many benefits, perhaps the most obvious one being flexible hours. Modern workplaces are increasingly flexible, but taxi drivers have always had some flexibility, and have been allowed to schedule their own hours.
You will also meet people from various walks of life within this job. It never ceases to amaze me who will show up in the back of your cab and strike up a conversation, adding a lot of variety to your life.
However, like almost any service profession, there is the possibility that you may encounter a passenger who does not treat you with the courtesy and respect you deserve. If you’re working unsociable hours and picking up clients who may have been drinking, you’re more likely to run into this type of encounter.
Even so, there are certainly more benefits than drawbacks. Additionally, you can get things like taxi insurance to protect you while on the road so you don’t have to worry about being held responsible for anything you didn’t cause.
A guide to becoming a taxi driver
According to the National Careers Service, there are several ways to become a taxi driver.
You may be able to find work if you take a college course (since drivers who lack qualifications are at a disadvantage. Courses include:
- Level 2 Certificate in Road Passenger Vehicle Driving – Taxi and Private Hire
- Level 2 Certificate in Introduction to the Role of the Professional Taxi and Private Hire Driver
If you wish to enroll in a course, you will usually need to meet entry requirements.
The minimum requirements for a level 2 course are usually two or more GCSEs (A*-D). Although, if you do not possess these qualifications, it’s still worth applying in case they are able to make allowances.
In their place, taxi companies will do business directly with you if you have the required license. It is one of the most common entry points to the taxi industry. Before you begin work, you must fulfill licensing and registration requirements. Taxi companies often require drivers to use their own registered vehicles.
Taxi drivers must hold a license from the licensing department of their local councils or from Transport for London (TfL).
Do I have what it takes to become a taxi driver?
You’ll need a full driving licence from the UK or EU for at least 12 months (three years in London), as well as passing the test, depending on where in the UK you intend to work as a taxi driver.
In addition to passing a driving test, passing background checks, and taking a medical, you’ll need to sit a geographic test (‘The Knowledge’ in London) and meet the English Language requirement if you intend to work in London.
One local authority might require a different license for taxi drivers than another. For more information on how to become a taxi driver, contact your local council – don’t forget to ask about licensing fees and knowledge assessments.
You’ll also need the following skills and qualities to become a successful taxi driver, according to the National Careers Service:
- customer service skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- excellent listening skills
- good interpersonal skills
- ability to remain calm under pressure
- ability to handle criticism well
- understanding of public safety and security
- attention to detail
Pathways for career progression
If you already have your taxi driver’s license, you can begin applying for jobs, or you can become a self-employed taxi driver. Those with experience and several years in the game may find the latter option more appropriate.
You could become a dispatch control room supervisor or manager if you work for a taxi company.
By owning a private hire company, you can increase your earnings as a self-employed driver by working with other drivers and operating a taxi business.
The first step, though, is to choose whether to operate a private hire vehicle or a Hackney carriage.
A hackney carriage (such as London’s iconic black cab) can be hailed on the street or parked at a taxi rank, which means that fares are relatively easy to find, and you can schedule your work around the hours that are convenient for you.
On the other hand, customers must book private hire vehicles (PHV) in advance. As a result, you only drive when you have a fare, so your flexibility might be limited since you can’t pick and choose your work schedule.
Make sure you have taxi insurance to maximise your income and reduce your risk
To meet your legal obligations as a road user, you will need specialist taxi insurance as standard car insurance won’t suffice.
With Comprehensive, Third Party Fire & Theft, and Third party only cover available, get a quick quote for taxi insurance with us and we can help you find the taxi insurance policy that best fits your needs.