1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Thoughts on becoming a taxi (airport) driver

Discussion in 'Motoring Related Discussion' started by Capra, Oct 24, 2018.

  1. Capra

    Capra Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    386
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2018
    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    Your Mercedes:
    W204 2013 C350 CDI Pan roof
    It was mentioned this week that the division I work for will be winding down over or before 5 years, and as such I will have to at some point go somewhere else. I'm not really wanting to stay in this field for ever but need something in place that will cover the bills.
    Has anyone ever moved careers and become a taxi driver? I have been thinking for a while of maybe doing airport runs? At this point I don't mind the anti-social ours or the long drives as I did that for 7 years in this job. I know the insurance is big, and I would have to buy something like an E250 for the space.
    I suppose I am being naive that all I've got to do is advertise and I'll get the business! But there are a lot of people doing it.
    At least I should be fine with settings up the side of things, taking payments and bookings etc.
    Are there any pros and cons that could sway me to or away from this mad idea??
     
    Jim2 likes this.
  2. L John

    L John Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,758
    Likes Received:
    504
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    Your Mercedes:
    W204 C350 Petrol Elegance
    At the moment anyone running a business can have a turn over of £85,000 before having to be a VAT collector but that is due to come down a lot.
    I heard it could be as low as £45,000 soon but nothing is definate just yet. Would that drop be after the budget or at the start of a new tax year?
    It would certainly be a killer for a lot of small businesses if it happens.
     
    Jim2 and Capra like this.
  3. AMGeed

    AMGeed Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,705
    Likes Received:
    956
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Location:
    Poole, Dorset
    Your Mercedes:
    2004 W211 E55K ///AMG
    My next door neighbour used to do this. It almost drove (sic) him crazy after doing the same route day after day sometimes 3 trips a day (3x180miles). Not trying to put a negative on your idea, just a heads up as to what to expect if you haven't had a regular driving job before.

    This link is quite interesting with regard to what is needed legally before starting. Good luck if you do take the plunge!

    https://www.dacorum.gov.uk/docs/def...xi/starting-a-chauffeur-business.pdf?sfvrsn=8
     
    Jim2 and Capra like this.
  4. KennyN

    KennyN Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,099
    Likes Received:
    238
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2013
    Location:
    Paisley
    Your Mercedes:
    BMW 440i, ZX12r / ZRX11 / ZRX Monoshock
    We are thinking about setting our son up with a taxi and have been looking into it over the last week or so and i would also be interested in anyones experience.

    What we have found out is that it will cost him £115 per week to hire the radio from a local taxi company , you need to be 21 , the council will charge him £275 to get his licence and the insurance will be extortionate if he can get it at all at 21.

    Kenny
     
    Jim2 and Capra like this.
  5. OP
    Capra

    Capra Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    386
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2018
    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    Your Mercedes:
    W204 2013 C350 CDI Pan roof
    Thanks for the responses, I know the constant up and down the motorway could drive anyone nuts. In the past I did between 1000-1200k in a week and was up the M5, M6 and M25 so was used to that. That link was useful thanks. Any thing that I do will be in the future and not something I would jump into without proper thought and investigation.

    A couple of gym mates both run taxi's, one of them does mainly local stuff like school runs, but he has a hackney licence to work on taxi ranks. I will speak to them about this further.
     
    Jim2 likes this.
  6. OP
    Capra

    Capra Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    386
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2018
    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    Your Mercedes:
    W204 2013 C350 CDI Pan roof
    I'm 43 and someone said that for me the insurance could be over £2000 a year and I'm 44 next month. Not cheap!
     
  7. L John

    L John Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,758
    Likes Received:
    504
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2013
    Location:
    UK
    Your Mercedes:
    W204 C350 Petrol Elegance
    What happens when a jam stops you getting there in time and they miss the flight?
    Do they have any claim against you?
    Same if you get a puncture etc.
    Just wondering if you need insurance to cover a possible claim due to unforseen circumstances.
     
    Jim2 and Capra like this.
  8. OP
    Capra

    Capra Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    386
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2018
    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    Your Mercedes:
    W204 2013 C350 CDI Pan roof
    Some of the things I had to ask. I guess having professional indemnity insurance would cover this? I suppose you would spend your time watching out for road reports.
    Maybe you ask them when they're flying and decide when to pick them up for the flight. Hopefully if the airport is over 2 hours away they're in a hotel.
     
    Jim2 likes this.
  9. anglaslt

    anglaslt Senior Member

    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    27
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2016
    Location:
    Lithuania and UK
    Your Mercedes:
    LHD B63S Brabus (CL63 AMG based) and RHD E400 Coupe
    I regularly use a private hire taxi for my journeys to and from Stansted. I have often wondered if it's really a viable business proposition although the person I use seems to be happy enough doing it and has done it for a number of years.

    He has his own car (he's just bought a E220d 65 plate) but gets all his bookings from a local taxi company which saves him some of the hassle. He never takes bookings directly from the customer. Bear in mind the licensing authority put a maximum age on the cars they will licence you'll be looking at something probably not older than a 2014 E Class and by the time you trade it in with a quarter of million miles on it it'll probably be worth two or three thousand max. Add on top maintenance costs, fuel costs, insurance costs, licensing and testing costs it seems to me you need to do an awful lot of journeys (at often unsocial hours) to make a reasonable living. I seem to remember him telling me his car is tested every couple of months, but I may have misheard. This may vary depending on the licensing authority so better to ask them directly what their requirements are. I know they are very strict too about motoring offences and will often revoke a licence if you pick up points.

    I've never thought much about the taxi company being liable for delays. I've always thought it my responsibility as a passenger to allow sufficient time, accepting that any serious traffic delay may mean missing a flight. I'm not sure I'd hold the taxi company liable even if the car broke down. These things hapen.

    I guess it must be profitable for so many to run an airport taxi but I would guess that the likes of Uber has put pressure on the fares and therefore the profit. I think you'll need to do a lot of research on costings, on your local licensing regs and on how you plan to operate and receive bookings. On the plus side you can drive around in a nice car and it gets you out of the house o_O
     
    Jim2 likes this.
  10. AMGeed

    AMGeed Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,705
    Likes Received:
    956
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Location:
    Poole, Dorset
    Your Mercedes:
    2004 W211 E55K ///AMG
    With the mileage you are likely to clock up if busy, don't forget to factor in the high probability of having the car serviced every 2 months!
     
    Jim2 and Capra like this.
  11. OP
    Capra

    Capra Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    386
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2018
    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    Your Mercedes:
    W204 2013 C350 CDI Pan roof
    Maybe Mondeo rather than MB!
     
    Jim2 and PaulG like this.
  12. AMGeed

    AMGeed Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,705
    Likes Received:
    956
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2009
    Location:
    Poole, Dorset
    Your Mercedes:
    2004 W211 E55K ///AMG
    ^ Might be cheaper to service:D
     
    Jim2 and Capra like this.
  13. Craiglxviii

    Craiglxviii Senior Member

    Messages:
    12,960
    Likes Received:
    2,657
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2015
    Location:
    Cambs UK
    Your Mercedes:
    W215 CL500 Garage Queen; W211 E320 Avantgarde Estate Designo Edition
    Our E320 S211 was an exec hire taxi, did 215k being serviced every few months from new. Judging from the (extensive!) Service history we have the car held up well. Budgeting £200-250/ mth in servicing and repairs will see you fine.

    Just remember the servicing cost of a Mondeo won’t be much different to an MB.
     
    Jim2 and Capra like this.
  14. Simon22

    Simon22 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Location:
    Buckley
    Your Mercedes:
    M class 320 2008
    As a taxi business owner myself, it aint as easy as you think, and just doing airport runs,that what we all want to do, whats youre back up car going to be if you break down, hire and reward insurance will be pricey, you are going into a cut throat business with the big boys, think twice
     
    Jim2 and Capra like this.
  15. OP
    Capra

    Capra Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    386
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2018
    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    Your Mercedes:
    W204 2013 C350 CDI Pan roof
    I'm under no illusions it's easy. That's why I was getting opinions here. Do you own a fleet and employ drivers?
     
    Jim2 likes this.
  16. davemercedes

    davemercedes Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,248
    Likes Received:
    501
    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2012
    Location:
    Worcs
    Your Mercedes:
    2007 Merc 220 CDi Est Auto Av
    I live in the Midlands and frequently used to travel abroad often via Heathrow. We had one job where my colleague (who lives 25 miles further south) and I frequently went on jobs together for 4-5 days. So I used our local taxi/private hire company and they picked me up and we carried on and picked him up on the way. btw that was cheaper than the two of us driving down and parking in the long-term car park but as different as chalk and cheese for comfort and convenience. We chose them 1) because for long runs they used quiet and comfortable Merc Class E's or similar and 2) they were totally reliable. When I booked the outward car travel I gave them our return flight info and they used to watch the flight details and so when we arrived they were either waiting or turned up in a few minutes. The drivers were steady and mature guys and all self-employed.

    One chap had a "new" (3-years old) E Class which he replaced about once a year or so according to whatever his source (a chauffeur service company) offered. All the cars were immaculate and in fact that pushed me into buying my current car. I forget which model he was running at the time but I understood that overall along with some town driving and cruising around 70 mph (which was our average motorway speed on these trips) it was averaging 56mpg. He had the cash to buy another car when it came up and then take his time selling the old one on - and he reckoned to only lose £1000 at most one each car. I would have bought one he was moving on because as I say they were kept quite immaculate. All the drivers I chatted to used an indie in/near Brum for servicing.

    So you need to try and 1) find a source for regular supply 2) sort out an indie (who will probably do you a deal on service pricing because you will be regular) and 3) get on to a taxi firm's books and/or advertise your services.

    The business is there and if you have the temperament you can earn a comfortable living so I wish you the very best of luck!
     
    Jim2, om613 and Capra like this.
  17. Simon22

    Simon22 New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Location:
    Buckley
    Your Mercedes:
    M class 320 2008
    36 cars, driver's are self employed
     
    Jim2 and Capra like this.
  18. PaulG

    PaulG Senior Member

    Messages:
    764
    Likes Received:
    88
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Location:
    Epsom Downs, Surrey
    Your Mercedes:
    Ml320CDI 2007
    Capra,

    Hope it all works out for you, I know what living under the threat of redundancy feels like, along with many other people in the English electronics industry.
    Luckily, I've managed to dodge (several) bullets over the years and have now go to the age where I would welcome the "white envelope" with open arms, instead of dreading it.
    I'm sure the finances can be worked-out to give you a reasonable living, if it was me, my main concern would be the rise of the Uber model...
    One other point is your personal temperament and outlook on the general public.
    Ask most people who work directly with the general public, and they will tell you: "don't work with the general public"....
     
    Jim2 and Capra like this.
  19. OP
    Capra

    Capra Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    386
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2018
    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    Your Mercedes:
    W204 2013 C350 CDI Pan roof
    Hi, thanks. In the last 2 years I have already had to reapply for my job. Dealing with the general public is not that different with some of our customer base, they all want everything for free, it's like they are paying for services out of their pockets!
    The benefits for where I live is, Uber does not exist, well yet anyway.
    Anyway, this is still just a thought for now. I will speak to a few people that I know. One of the guys I know already refers all his airport runs to others as he's not interested. He has enough local taxi rank work and some contracts with local government/council to pick up some kids for school college.
     
    Jim2 likes this.
  20. umblecumbuz

    umblecumbuz Senior Member

    Messages:
    3,138
    Likes Received:
    546
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2010
    Location:
    Wales and Gozo
    Your Mercedes:
    S204 and CLC 204 cdi, other non-Merc machines
    Just a thought ... Specialising in any business requires what is known as USP.
    If you have it you maximise your chances of success. Without it you are just another pirhana in the pond.
    USP? Unique Selling Proposition

    What can you offer so that you grab airport runs from the other pirhanas?
    If you have, for instance, a concentrated airport-using client base locally and a shortage of other available taxis, or a hire rate that is irresistible (a dangerous path financially), or some other Unique Selling Proposition, then maybe you could specialise in airport runs.

    If you can't offer an attraction that other firms locally couldn't match, then you're just another pirhana.

    Any business operates in a dog-eat-dog (excuse the mixed illustrations!) world. Even if you start with a USP that is successful, it won't be long before others copy your model.

    Thorough assessment of your chosen market without wearing rose-tinted specs is essential before making any moves - which is presumably exactly why you're asking the forum for advice. Hope you meet with success, whatever you decide.
     
    Jim2, davemercedes and Capra like this.

Share This Page