Whether you did your degree in Business Studies or just have an entrepreneurial spirit, establishing a business can be an exciting graduate opportunity.
While retail or events businesses are the most common for graduate start-ups, why not think outside the box?
In this edition of Entrepreneurial Advice, we will outline the considerations to make when establishing a taxi company – be it for the general public, or maybe a niche market for students. You could be the next John Griffin!
Step 1: Business Plan
When establishing any sort of business, before you begin anything you should create a business plan, and create a detailed and generous budget. To help you create a business plan, attend networking events and ask your University Careers service for advice.
Try to realistically estimate the costs of running your service – as a taxi firm, the majority of your expenditure will be on staff and vehicles, so talk to established business owners to help you get an idea of what to expect.
You will also need to then register your business with HM Revenue & Customs to ensure your taxes are correct.
Step 2: Legal Research
For a taxi company specifically, you will need to do some legal research and find out how to register your vehicles and drivers as minicabs – this is for customer safety as well as standard practice.
You will need to register your cabs and drivers within local services as well, and in London slightly different procedures will apply. Insurance, operators’ licenses, and radio operators’ licenses all have fees, so include this in your budget.
Step 3: Sourcing Vehicles and Staff
Choose vehicles for your company in the same way that you would choose one for yourself: consider your needs, and check that everything works. Used cars are an excellent starting point for a new business, and as you start small try to have one of every type of car: normal five seater cars, people carriers, and disability cars.
When sourcing your staff, interview them as you would normally and do a thorough check on their employment, health, and driving history. It may be helpful to ‘test’ them to ensure they have good geographical knowledge as well – there is a reason why London cabbies’ location knowledge is equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree.
It is also worth noting that most cab drivers are self employed and will pay you to hire the car, working on a freelance basis.
Step 4: Create Your Customer Interface
Now that you have everything else, you need to become bookable! You should have a head office somewhere (even a home office) to mediate between customers and drivers and assign jobs.
Have a stable telephone number for customers to call not only to book but to raise issues with you, and as the company expands be sure to add additional lines.
Alternatively, the popularity of Uber is due to its app interface, which many smartphone users prefer to telephoning.
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