How To Become A Taxi Driver

taxi driver
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Finding a job that is practical and that provides flexibility is no easy feat. Fortunately, if you like driving and interacting with people, you may have found a job that suits your expectations: taxi driver.

Taxis are on demand throughout the country; after all, people need to get from point A to point B on a daily basis.

However, before running to a taxi company to hand in your resume, learn all there is to know about this job and see if it’s the right path for you.

How Do Taxi Drivers Work?

This is not an unknown field of work, but let’s go through the details. A taxi driver basically drives around town looking for passengers.

To calculate how much to charge each client, taxi drivers have a device (i.e., taximeter) set up in the vehicle that calculates the fare due, taking into account the distance and the time of each trip.

Nowadays, it’s also quite common to have an app and receive electronic requests. In some cases, you may even get hired for a pre-arranged trip.

What Are The Requirements?

The requirements to become a taxi driver vary based on the state, but the prerequisites are generally the same throughout the country:

  • Minimum driving age
  • US citizenship or certificate of residence
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Clean background

If you comply with these prerequisites, then you are ready to follow the process.

It is common for companies of any sort to check on the candidates’ background before deciding to hire them. Taxi companies generally request candidates to present a driving report that must not have any serious traffic offenses.

Furthermore, the criminal report is also taken into consideration and an automatic disqualifier could probably be a stained criminal background report.

After this is checked, you will have to take certain steps before being approved, like taking a drug test and, in some cases, a driving exam about traffic regulations.

Keep in mind: In some states, training is mandatory and it includes different topics like traffic regulations and local geography.

What Are The Perks?

One of the most convenient things about being a taxi driver is the flexibility you get from this job. You’ll be able to decide when to work and when to stop working and, of course, earn money accordingly.

As you can see, this gives you the possibility of adjusting your working hours to your most productive time of day. So if you’re an early bird, you can start driving in the morning, whereas if you’re more like a night owl, a night shift may suit you best.

How Much Do Taxi Drivers Earn?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a taxi driver earns an average salary of $25,880 annually. This will vary depending on the company you work for, but they generally keep one third of what you earned driving.

Despite the fact that if you work alone, expenses aren’t divided, you do have to pay a company for the lease of the vehicle on a daily or weekly basis, so those expenses will have to be taken into account.

Keep in mind: Some taxi companies don’t cover the gas expenses and even require you to refuel the tank before returning the car.

Your earnings will not only differ based on the company but also based on the city and state you work in. For example, Santa Cruz taxi drivers receive an average income of $36,880. New York City also offers a similar income.

These are some of the highest paying cities for taxi drivers. The state of Connecticut, New Jersey and California also offer some of the highest earnings for a taxi driver.

Keep in mind: If you’re an attentive taxi driver, you may receive big tips that could dramatically increase your salary.

Taxis And Competition

One of the reasons why taxis are still a popular means of transport is that the drivers must follow a more detailed set of guidelines (such as background checks and driving tests) than those required by companies such as Uber and Lyft. This makes most passengers feel safer about the driving skills of the taxi driver.

When it comes to fares, taxis are less convenient. According to Taxi Fare Finder, for a 5.5 mile ride in Boston, Uber will charge $10, Lyft, $15 and a taxi, $30.

Even though this information is quite discouraging for those who are looking forward to becoming a taxi driver, in some cities, like New York, the fare is equal for taxis, Lyft and Uber, which makes taxis more competitive in the market.

However, when demand is high, Uber and Lyft tend to increase the fares quite a lot, while taxi fares remain stable. This makes taxis more convenient during rush hours.

If after reading this, you are convinced that this is the right working path for you, it’s time to start the process. First, find out which is the best taxi company for you, then follow the necessary steps and comply with the requirement and, finally, begin your new job as a taxi driver.