The estimated number of taxi and ride-hailing users is projected to be as much as 97 million by 2025. This year alone, revenue from this transport segment is expected to amount to more than $40 M and is expected to grow at an annual rate of above 11%. Besides that, transportation is a permanent necessity in daily living. These numbers attract many independent entrepreneurs to want a piece of this business.
These impressive numbers will entice many other business-minded individuals, so your challenge now is how to set your taxi service apart from the rest. For starters, you can do this with clean and comfortable cars, personable drivers, and excellent customer service. Build your company with these success indicators in mind as you follow these first few steps to launching your taxi business.
Study the Competition
As is true for any major business investment, it is good to familiarize yourself with who you will be competing against in the transport market. First, find out how many taxi services are operating in your same area. Examine their websites, social media presence, ads, services, and rates, and gather customer feedback. Doing so will allow you to structure your company and outline your services better, improving your company over others’.
At this early stage, it is important to decide if there is a need for one more taxi service in your location. Some areas may already be saturated with taxi services, or there is not sufficient demand for taxi services.
How many vehicle units can you afford to buy? And then maintain? Consider the following elements when planning for the make, model, and quantity of vehicle units you will start your fleet off with.
- Aesthetic appeal
- Durability and ease of maintenance
- Luggage space
- Pre-modified vehicle units for taxi service use. This is often ideal for start-ups as you can save on expenditures such as signs, paint, taximeters, etc.
Work on completing all necessary business licenses and choosing comprehensive insurance coverage. Business licenses and permits are necessary for identification and tax purposes. Business insurance is required to be granted legal permits to operate. These are essential before launching your business operations. Public regulatory departments conduct periodic inspections, and you can avoid costly fines or penalties if you have your mandatory paperwork in order.
Likewise, have your vehicles duly registered and insured. Again, vehicular insurance is a requirement for a vehicle to be duly registered. Insurance policies can be quite expensive, so it will be a good idea to seek referrals from your network of other taxi operators. If you already have an insurance agent, you may also ask them for referrals for trusted car accident attorneys you might want to consider hiring on retainer.
Finding Your Business Headquarters
Find a property with enough space to house your taxis and your office. Due to a lack of alternatives, some companies have business operations away from where the taxis are parked. This is logistically more difficult, of course. So try to avoid this setup. Choose an office facility that has the flexibility to accommodate more headcount as your business grows over time. Your office property is ideally within or close to your service area of choice.
Do your hiring diligently. Carefully assess candidates for your drivers, office staff, and maintenance personnel. Remember that passenger safety, customer convenience, and satisfaction are keys to a successful taxi service.
When hiring your taxi drivers, check for the authenticity of their license, and place a premium on the professional driving experience. Conducting background checks, though time-intensive, is always good sense. Hire backup drivers, even on an on-call arrangement, for when your full-time drivers take leaves or become indisposed.
Hire administrative staff who have the flexibility to multi-task as dispatchers until your business grows big enough to have dedicated staffing for that specific function.
As you come closer to finally starting operations, start spreading the word that a new taxi service is launching soon. Utilize traditional media channels such as newspaper or local magazine ads, brochures, posters in community boards, etc. You may enhance your advertisements with promotional strategies like detachable coupons from brochures that can be exchanged for fare discounts, early-bird rates, and the like.
After covering the traditional bases, establish an online presence through social media platforms and your website. Your website might be a substantial investment, but it is one of the most effective channels in this day and age, and it will pay off sooner than you know.
Now that you’ve gotten started, how far your taxi service business goes depends on you. Suppose you are determined enough and diligently do your field research, acquisitions, hiring, and marketing with patience and the right amount of forward-thinking. In that case, you can meet unexpected challenges head-on and overcome them much easily. At the same time, you improve your business along the way.