As children and teenagers, few of us consider taxi driving as an occupation. Unlike policing or fire fighting, it is not glamorous or exciting, and many people imagine that it doesn’t pay very well.
As an adult, however, our career considerations are quite different. Most of us simply want a role that we can perform well, that will be profitable and provide us with the lifestyle that we desire.
For a surprisingly large amount of people, taxi driving ticks these boxes. If you think that you could be one of them, then here’s a short guide to what’s involved in becoming one.
Step One: Choose a Suitable Vehicle
As an independent taxi driver, many employers will expect you to provide your own vehicle, and this raises a lot of things to think about. Most people will already have a vehicle, but it might not be particularly well suited to the profession, and this means that changing it might be necessary. As a rule, you’ll need a make and model that not only has a history of reliability, but is also cheap to maintain, economical to run, and spacious enough to carry passengers and their luggage. In addition, the less it will cost to insure, the better.
Step Two: Gain the Right Qualifications
Provided that you have, or can afford, a suitable vehicle, the next thing to ask yourself is whether you’re properly qualified to be a taxi driver. Although your educational performance is likely to be of little importance, you will need a valid and clean driving licence, and some local councils will require you to sit a professional test before allowing you to act as a taxi driver.
Step Three: Consider the Lifestyle
Provided that you’re confident of passing the necessary tests and assessments, you need to think about whether the lifestyle will really suit you. Most cab drivers earn between £15,000 and £30,000 per year, but the exact sum is largely dependent on your location and how many hours you work. Many taxi firms will be quite flexible in terms of times, but to make a living wage you’ll probably have to work within some rather unsociable timeframes. Late night and early morning shifts tend to be the most lucrative, and if these don’t appeal to you then you might struggle to make ends meet.
Step Four: Consider Your Physical Fitness
There are lots of other factors that will influence your suitability to varying degrees, from your knowledge of the local area to your sociability, but one of the most important will be your physical fitness. Most councils will not grant licences to anyone with major health issues, and physical problems relating to your back or joints may also render you unsuitable, thanks to the large amount of lifting and carrying involved in transporting people and their luggage. If your health is below par, then this is something that you really do need to consider.
With all of that in mind, could taxi driving be the right profession for you?