This is considered a home business because many drivers are self-employed contractors, own the vehicle, and decide on schedules and hours worked. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs drive people to and from the places they need to go, such as homes, workplaces, airports, and shopping centers. Drivers should know their way around a city or suburban location to take both residents and visitors to their destinations.
Taxi drivers, or cabbies, generally use in-car meters to determine the fare when hired by a passenger. There are three ways cab drivers typically find passengers:
1) Via calls through a central dispatcher to request a cab for a specific destination.
2) In lines at cabstands or in the taxi line at airports, train stations, and hotels.
3) In some large cities, cabbies drive around the streets looking for passengers, although this is not legal in all places.
Chauffeurs take passengers on prearranged trips with limousines, vans, or private cars. They may work for hire for single trips or work for a private business, citizen, or for a government agency. Customer service is important for chauffeurs, especially luxury car drivers. Some do the duties of executive assistants, acting as driver, secretary, and itinerary planner.
Paratransit drivers transport people with special needs, such as the elderly or those with disabilities. They operate specially equipped vehicles designed to help people with a variety of needs in nonemergency situations. For example, their vehicles may be equipped with wheelchair lifts, and the driver helps a passenger with boarding.
A cabbie can work part-time, at night, overnight or on weekends. The company refers passengers and allows the driver to use facilities for a fee. Drivers keep all their fares and pay their own expenses. Local governments generally set maximum fares a cabbie may charge. Taxi drivers work with very little supervision and may break for a meal or rest when desired.
About 25% percent of drivers are employed by companies. The company provides the vehicle and sets the employee-driver schedule. Some drivers will also have an on-call schedule.
Driving for long periods of time, especially in heavy traffic, can be stressful and tiring for taxi drivers and chauffeurs. In addition, they often have to pick up heavy luggage and packages and deal with unruly passengers.
Need to Have
Drivers only need a high school education and specific driver training that covers local traffic laws, driver safety, and the local street layout. Taxi drivers also get training in operating the taximeter and communications equipment. Taxi drivers are trained in accordance with local regulations; in contrast, limousine chauffeurs usually are trained by their company, and customer service is emphasized. Paratransit drivers receive special training in how to handle wheelchair lifts and other mechanical devices. Many states require cabbies and chauffeurs to get taxi or limousine licenses. Basic math skills, self-motivation, and good customer service skills are desirable.
Some taxi drivers and chauffeurs lease their cars from a company and pay a fee for the use of the car. The fee covers storage, insurance, and maintenance costs. Drivers who own their cars can contract with a company that allows the drivers to use their facilities for a fee. In addition, drivers generally pay for fuel costs, so those who use hybrid taxis will have lower expenses.
For this position, the vehicle is the place of work. Some considerations for a fixed home include: dedicated parking space or garage, access to car washes and vacuums, and family obligations. A computer with a spreadsheet program or specialized software for tracking expenses may be needed.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for this industry is expected to grow at 20% from 2010-2020. The occupation has low barriers to entry and high turnover. Applicants with a clean driving record and flexible schedules should have the best chance of being hired. Most taxi drivers and chauffeurs work in metropolitan areas and those areas growing quickly should offer the most job opportunities.
As with most contract positions, wages are directly related to the number of hours worked. Larger cities have more driver positions and potential passengers. Better customer service and services offered often yield higher tips. Driving a fuel efficient vehicle or a hybrid car can reduce fuel costs. Some cabbies and chauffeurs can move into supervisory positions with the employer or contractor, if desired. With a flexible schedule and hours at will, driving a taxi can be an excellent industry for students or the unemployed.
By Dion D. Shaw
Dion D. Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs
Homepreneurs. New Day. New Opportunity.
Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed. Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions. Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.
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