“My name is Tony and I own a growing taxi business in Memphis.”
If you had told me that I would say such a thing 20 years ago – I would tell you that you were crazy.
20 years ago I could not imagine that I would be running my own transportation business in the United States.
Although I have been driving taxis all my life, the thought of owning a business was a scary one for a long time.
5 years ago I decided that enough was enough. 5 years ago I was sick and tired of driving for someone else. 5 years ago I decided I was going to own my own business.
This year it became true!
So if you were like I was when I was starting out, wondering what it would take to break into the taxi business, today I will share with you some of the most important things that I have learned over the years.
Have a goal and a plan
Over the years I have learned that goals are very, VERY important.
You are in charge of your own life, and you have to decide whether you will drive your own cab or will hire a driver. You will also have to decide whether you will start small or will start big.
Accordingly you will have to prepare a business plan.
This will not only help you have a very clear picture in front of you as to how to proceed with things but it will also allow you to get loans and investors a bit more easily. Eventually you will want to expand and have a plan in place for that.
When you are starting off, don’t overshoot and stay practical.
Be prepared with contingency plans if something does not work out the way you want it to. The old adage of “hope for the best but prepare for the worst” is quite true for the taxi business.
Know the competition
The first thing to do is obviously know about the kind of people you are going up against. This is quite easy to do as all you have to do is check their apps or websites and see the features and rates they offer.
Also check out the reviews left by people for these taxi companies to get a fair understanding about what people like in them so you can mold your own business to offer exactly what customers are looking for.
You can also find ways to stand out from the competition allowing you to create your own niche in this industry.
Get all the necessary licenses
This should be a no-brainer.
Do not take any shortcuts when it comes to the various formalities associated with the starting of a taxi business. Make sure you get all the necessary licenses and permissions.
Have all the necessary papers in order.
The last thing you want is for the business you build with hard work to end up being shut down because of some formality.
Usually there are easy documentation available on all the procedures on the government websites of your state.
Build your fleet and your team
Your fleet and team are like the living and breathing embodiment of your business.
Choose dependable vehicles that offer the perfect balance between dependability and longevity and passenger comfort. I love Fords. Some drivers I know swear by Lincolns.
Make sure that each cab in your fleet is regularly serviced to make keep them in top condition without leading to any embarrassing failures.
Nothing will annoy your customers like being stranded on the way.
Also have a backup plan for the cab that ultimately breaks down.
Coming to the team, drivers will form the crux of your operation. It is important to treat them with respect and keep them happy while being an assertive boss. If you are up for it then operate one of your cabs by yourself.
This will allow you to keep a finger on the pulse of the business.
As your business grows, you will need more staff like accountants, marketing people and customer service personnel.
Let people know about you
Marketing and advertising on the right platforms is very important for any business. I mean, you could have the best taxi business venture in town but it would get you nowhere if people do not get to know about it.
Set aside a good part of the initial budget specifically for spreading the word. Get a website designed but more importantly, get an app developed that will allow people to book cabs on the go.
It will cost some money but this is necessary investment.
Thankfully I have discovered that none of this is too expensive, and it is well worth it.
If you can afford it, I recommend employing a freelancer on websites like Upwork or Fiverr who will do the work for you at a reasonable cost.
Keep learning and don’t be afraid!
The last bit advice I could give you is never be afraid and to always be learning something new!
Everyone makes mistakes – that is especially true in business.
Starting out in the taxi business will mean that you will make mistakes but do not let that stop you.
Don’t get mad, or frustrated. Every mistake has an important lesson that you must learn.
Simply learn from every negative experience and keep moving forward. Always keep your ears open to constructive criticism.
For example, when a customer gives a negative review, do not react with anger. Rather, be empathetic and try to see things from the customer’s point of view.
This will allow you to become a more customer-centric business which is the only way for a taxi business to survive and thrive in today’s day and age.
Thank you so much for reading my first blog post!!!!