News & Press
How to Become a Private Hire Taxi Driver
January 31st 2022
If you have been thinking about working for yourself, you are looking for something flexible that you can fit around your lifestyle, and you enjoy driving, you may have considered becoming a private hire taxi driver. If that’s the case, you’ll find all you need to know about the hiring process right here in this helpful guide.
What are the different types of private hire taxi driver?
There is a clear difference between a minicab and a taxi. Only hackney carriages are officially allowed to be called ‘taxis’. Drivers of these taxis are the only ones who are permitted to tout for business on the street, and the only type that can be hailed. In London, hackney carriages are the iconic ‘black cabs’. Across the UK, you’ll find other types of vehicles used. However, all drivers of hackney carriages will have been through some form of examination process. In London, this will be The Knowledge. Elsewhere, local authorities will run their own licensing systems.
Minicabs, also known as private hire vehicles, cannot be hailed off the street, neither can drivers ply for business. This type of taxi can only be pre-booked. To become a private hire minicab driver in London, it is necessary to be licensed by the Public Carriage Office (PCO). This is part of Transport for London. Outside of London, you would have to apply to your local council if you wish to be a private hire driver. The rules and requirements will vary from one location to another.
If this is the type of taxi driver you wish to be, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old, have held a full driving licence for a minimum of three years, and will also need to pass a Topographical Skills Assessment, as well as an English language test. Other assessments may be necessary depending on the individual rules of the local authority.
Why become a minicab driver?
As a private hire minicab driver, you’ll benefit from the freedom to choose your own working hours and to select the areas in which you’d prefer to work. If you have a family, or hobbies or pastimes you enjoy, you can split your time so that you achieve the perfect work-life balance. If you move to another area, you can take your job with you. Although it’s useful to be aware that requirements may vary slightly from one local authority to another.
Flexibility is key. If you wish, you can put the hours in and cover the shifts that many don’t like to do, and see your profits escalate, even if you only do it for a short period to save up for something, such as a holiday.
Driving a minicab for a living is a job that’s filled with variety. You get to talk to people, drive to different places and help others. It can be a very rewarding career, but there are a few things you’ll need to consider.
What to consider when thinking about becoming a private hire driver?
Most, although not all, minicab drivers are self-employed. This means that you’ll need to be registered with HMRC and manage your own Self-Assessment tax returns. You may need to engage the services of an accountant to help you manage these responsibilities if you don’t have the time or the knowledge to do so yourself.
You will also need to consider that, as a self-employer driver, you’ll not be eligible for sick pay or holiday pay. Neither will you receive employer’s pension contributions.
Costs-wise, you’ll need to think about the likes of specialist taxi drivers’ insurance; the cost of purchasing or leasing your own vehicle; fuel costs and vehicle maintenance, as well as the necessary licences. The good news is that you can offset many of these costs against your tax.
How to become a licensed private hire minicab driver?
The requirements will vary from one local authority to another. In London, minicab drivers are licensed by the Public Carriage Office which is a department of Transport for London. In other areas, the local authority will be responsible for licensing drivers.
In London, all licensed private hire drivers must work for a licensed private hire operator, and must:
- Be at least 21 years of age at the time of applying
- Have held a full DVLA, Northern Ireland or EEA state driving licence for at least three years
- Have the right to live and work in the UK
- Be of good character; an enhanced DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) criminal records check will be required to verify this
- Be medically fit and meet DVLA Group 2 standards, which will normally mean a medical examination will be required
- Undertake a Topographical Skills Assessment from an accredited assessment centre
- Be assessed to determine whether they meet the English Language Requirement
- Undertake an online Safeguarding Awareness training course
You can read about these requirements in more detail on the TfL website.
Those who meet the above criteria will then need to register online to start the minicab driver application process.
How to get a job as a private hire minicab driver?
Once you have your PCO licence, you can start applying for private hire taxi driver jobs. Requirements will vary from one operator to another, as will the benefits being offered.
Take your time to look into the reputation of the private hire operator, how they treat their drivers and what you’ll be getting not just in terms of pay, but other benefits too. You’ll also need to check that you comply with the individual operator’s requirements.
At ZedCarZ for example, we run a strict screening process to ensure our minicab drivers are of the required calibre to uphold our reputation and levels of passenger care. We follow the ‘Three Ps’ rule when hiring drivers: punctual, presentable and professional. You can read more about our requirements here on our minicab drivers wanted page.
In return for our drivers’ commitment, we offer generous rates, high earning potential, convenient weekly payments, flexible hours, regular account customers, local airport work, an immediate start and a busy commercial circuit.
Plus, to get you off to a flying start, we’ll reduce our commission down to ZERO during your first two weeks with us.
To learn more about becoming a private hire taxi driver with ZedCarZ,
call 0208 330 3300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.