According to the government, the number of licensed taxis grew from 184,000 in 2005 to 285,000 in 2018 and that number continues to soar. However, with ride-sharing apps such as Uber making a ma-jor dent in the UK’s private hire sector, only 26% of private hire vehicles are now licensed taxis. So, there is definitely a market there for those looking to set up a taxi business, particularly given the growing distrust in ride-sharing.
It is still, however, in danger of becoming a saturated market, which means that those looking to open up a new business need to be seriously competitive if they want to succeed. So, here we’ll be taking you through a few of the steps you should be taking to set up a sustainable taxi business.
Prepare your fleet - Of course, a taxi service will always start with a single vehicle. If you’re operat-ing solo, then shop around for a cab that is practical and reliable, but if you already have a list of drivers ready and waiting to work from you, try to ensure some consistency with the cars you use. Also, remember that quality over quantity is always the recommended route.
Get a licence - Getting a business licence might not be that difficult as long as your vehicles are in order, but it is something you’ll want to get sorted sooner rather than later. Note that in some areas, you’ll this license will be enough but in others (particularly in major cities) you might need to comply with that area’s regulatory agency. Taxi Insurance is also something you’ll want to start thinking about as soon as possible.
Be tech-savvy - Customers have been spoilt by the convenience of Uber, so they will expect to be able to order a cab direct from your bespoke app. These apps are not particularly difficult to set up and will allow you to accept card payment, cut down on the cost of call centre workers and will help you to compete with the big ride-sharing apps.
Offer fair prices - If you’re just starting out then you’re going to need to offer competitive prices. Make a note of the prices being charged by your competitors and start by subtly undercutting them, gradually increasing your prices as your business begins to flourish until you are on par with your local competitors.
Have a USP - With so many private hire and taxi services now in operation across the UK (and prob-ably even in your area), standing out from the pack is crucial. Whether it’s the colour of your cars, the fact that your drivers are all incredibly friendly or the speed of your collection service - focus on what makes you special, not what makes you the same as all the rest.
Invest in training - Finally, once your fleet has started to grow, don’t neglect your drivers - invest in their training to ensure they know the area and know what level of service your company expects.