How to start a taxi business
-by Fred Stock, Co-Owner, TaxiCabElectronics.com
So you’re starting a taxi business. Congratulations! It’s a tough but rewarding
business if you go about it with your eyes open, your attitudes right! A taxi cab is a
small mobile room with features including a full time attendant, you . It is part of the
“hospitality industry” which includes hotels and cruise ships, tour businesses and
golf resorts, convention and business administrations, and of course, transportation.
Your service is one of the first impressions a visitor has when he lands on your town,
certainly one of the more important “entry level” images he/she will take home, about
which the friends and future clients will hear. Your performance will contribute to “make
or break” if your area is a resort or conference center. Your performance will absolutely
You make the business work. Your vehicle should be clean, smoke free,
mended if injured, a pleasant experience for your clients. (They are not just “fares”
or “rides”, they are clients!) Buy the best, most comfortable, attractive car or van you
can afford. Straining a little now will mean fewer interruptions for transmissions, engine
your customers. There is nothing worse than heading for a major fare, a long ride
which will make your week perhaps, and having to miss it because of car failure.
As the competitor passes to collect your big fare, you’ll be fuming at the side of the
road waiting for the tow truck. Bad plan.
The complaints we hear from operators everywhere are generally in four
categories; 1) Insurance is too high cost. 2) Gasoline is too expensive. 3) Can’t get
good honest drivers. 4) Regulations and license fees are out of control. Welcome to
the hospitality transportation industry!
Here are some considerations;
A dependable vehicle. clean, mechanically sound, visually attractive.
(Large sedan, van, limo.) Try to avoid small cars with cramped leg room in the back.
Remember the trunk capacity too. Nothing more frustrating than trying to put 800
pounds of luggage in a 200 pound boot! Read “About Vehicles” on this website,
A proper insurance policy. The laws vary greatly from location to location.
Ask your insurance agent or another cabby what they use. If there is a regulator in
your area, city government, taxi over-sight committee, joint-powers authority perhaps,
they will likely
have information on insurance carriers and providers. Insurance is one
of your greatest expenses. Don’t try to operate without a proper commercial grade
policy in place. Your state or provincial motor-vehicle department may also have good
information for you on insurance requirements and sources. And go through an
insurance broker when you start looking. They are not committed to just one insurance
company, but rather, handle many companies. They usually can get you the best
rate by selecting the right company. Several bids from different brokers can't hurt either.
A taxi-meter. The federal government regulates equipment features & capabilities
for any measurement devices we own - scales, gallons at the pump, temperatures of
industrial processes, and of course miles or KM charged to clients in our industry.
(Go to www.taxicabelectronics.com and click on N.I.S.T. Handbook 44 in the second last
column for more info. Section 5.54 is our bible.) Bottom line is this: If you are charging
clients by the mile, you’ll need a proper taxi meter traceable to nationally recognized
standards and regulations. We handle the two top brands, Pulsar and Centrodyne.
Some meters print receipts or check credit card verifications. Go to that same website
and see our column four for info. Oh, be careful about buying meters on-line in "sell-it-here"
websites; New meters always carry a year factory warranty, and dealers (like us) will
be more likely to support your equipment if you have issues, than say "Bubba" who has
one to sell cheap at "junk-for-sale.com") Meters legal for use in the U.S.A. also must
have a federal government approval certificate called a C.O.C. (Certificate of Compliance)
which is readily available from your dealer. If the meter does not have a COC number,
it may be illegal for use in this country. Ours are listed on our home page, last column.
A toplight sign. Universally recognized as a “CAB” marker, a toplight will display
the fact that your car is for hire and properly outfitted. (Go to www.taxicabelectronics.com
then see the first two columns for over 50 toplight models. This large selection of quality
toplights can almost all be made screw-down magnetic mount. Remember wind can
destroy a magnetic base toplight; read “The Wind Speech” on that page.) We also can
make nearly all our lights as normal light bulb lighted, or with new LED (Light EmittingSource: www.taxicabelectronics.com