Becoming a minicab driver is a tempting proposition. The process is far simpler than applying to become a black cab driver and having a licence allows you to work for any licensed private hire company. This included companies such as Uber or Lyft.
The process of Becoming a Minicab Driver
Although the process is relatively simple, you should first consider whether this is the right direction for you. You should research the existing licensed private hire drivers in your area. If there is already a surplus, it could be unlikely that you will receive a stable amount of work. You should also consider whether this is the correct line of work for you, taking into account income, hours and outlay. You may also want to speak to local private hire firms in your area, or alternatively, you can contact the GMB Union (professional drivers branch) or the Licenced Private Hire Car Association.
Requirements for Becoming a Minicab Driver
- You must be at least 21 years of age
- You must also hold a full DVLA UK or EU licence. However be aware that to work for companies such as Uber, you do need to convert an EU licence to a UK one.
- You must also have the right to live and work in the UK
- You should also be of “good character” This involves undergoing an enhanced criminal background check
- They also require applicants to pass a DVLA group 2 standards medical check, this may cost up to £50 dependant on your GP.
- Pass a Topographical assessment, this involves testing your basic knowledge of the area you wish to operate. However, it is in no means extensive. The test contains 5 key modules on map reading and there are short online courses which will help you prepare.
Recent Changes to Becoming a Minicab Driver
Recently, the regulations have changed. They now include a new English speaking requirement. An example of a qualification that may be asked for is GCSE or A level certification. If this is a problem, external qualifications can be taken with four accredited Ofqual awarding organisations offering GCSEs in England: AQA, OCR, Pearson and WJEC. There are also others for the rest of the UK. Replacement certificates are available from those organisations. Luckily, the Transport of London is legally required to issue a licence who anyone who meets these requirements.
The pricing involved in applying is quite high, as it includes multiple steps and different processes. An example cost averages £644. However, this includes the English language qualification. It does not, however, include the medical assessment, which pricing is set by your GP.
Working for a Company as a Minicab Driver
When you join a minicab company, they might provide you with the car. Therefore the cost of repairs will also be their responsibility. However, to meet the operating costs associated with the repair and maintenance, many private hire firms will take a percentage of your takings.
Income of a Minicab Driver
For most driver positions, the fee will be deducted from your takings. This obviously varies from company to company. Although the average is around 40% to 60% of your income, for the cost of using their minicab. You should be careful with seemingly slow percentages, as they may also require you to pay for fuel also, often at around £40 a day. Whereas high percentages may include petrol costs.
You could, therefore, be earning around £400-£600 a week with a 60% cut. You should bear in mind, however, that this is based on driving for someone else, on a self-employed basis. So tax and national insurance will also be deducted.
Working Full Time as a Minicab Driver
Full-time positions will require 12 to 14-hour shifts, which is incredibly high in comparison to most jobs. Therefore this should be kept in mind when considering if this is the career path for you. Most firms will require you to work 5 days a week, some companies may change this to 6 to 7 days when they receive a lot of hires. This can be exhausting for most people.
In conclusion, becoming a minicab driver is a promising option. The government regulations are far laxer and it’s much easier to become licensed in comparison to a black cab driver. However, the hours involved should be considered, as well as the initial running costs for the car. As should other local taxi firms. If you’re in an area with relatively few taxi companies and demand is high, it could be a perfect way to earn a large amount.
DTC UK may be able to provide you with some coaching prior to your driving test. We can also provide either a manual or an automatic car for the test.