How to start a taxi business

how to start a taxi business

-by Fred Stock, Co-Owner,

So you’re starting a taxi business. Congratulations! It’s a tough but rewarding

business if you go about it with your eyes open, your attitudes right! A taxi cab is a

small mobile room with features including a full time attendant, you . It is part of the

“hospitality industry” which includes hotels and cruise ships, tour businesses and

golf resorts, convention and business administrations, and of course, transportation.

Your service is one of the first impressions a visitor has when he lands on your town,

certainly one of the more important “entry level” images he/she will take home, about

which the friends and future clients will hear. Your performance will contribute to “make

or break” if your area is a resort or conference center. Your performance will absolutely

You make the business work. Your vehicle should be clean, smoke free,

mended if injured, a pleasant experience for your clients. (They are not just “fares”

or “rides”, they are clients!) Buy the best, most comfortable, attractive car or van you

can afford. Straining a little now will mean fewer interruptions for transmissions, engine

your customers. There is nothing worse than heading for a major fare, a long ride

which will make your week perhaps, and having to miss it because of car failure.

As the competitor passes to collect your big fare, you’ll be fuming at the side of the

road waiting for the tow truck. Bad plan.

The complaints we hear from operators everywhere are generally in four

categories; 1) Insurance is too high cost. 2) Gasoline is too expensive. 3) Can’t get

good honest drivers. 4) Regulations and license fees are out of control. Welcome to

the hospitality transportation industry!

Here are some considerations;

A dependable vehicle. clean, mechanically sound, visually attractive.

(Large sedan, van, limo.) Try to avoid small cars with cramped leg room in the back.

Remember the trunk capacity too. Nothing more frustrating than trying to put 800

pounds of luggage in a 200 pound boot! Read “About Vehicles” on this website, .

A proper insurance policy. The laws vary greatly from location to location.

Ask your insurance agent or another cabby what they use. If there is a regulator in

your area, city government, taxi over-sight committee, joint-powers authority perhaps,

they will likely

have information on insurance carriers and providers. Insurance is one

of your greatest expenses. Don’t try to operate without a proper commercial grade

policy in place. Your state or provincial motor-vehicle department may also have good

information for you on insurance requirements and sources. And go through an

insurance broker when you start looking. They are not committed to just one insurance

company, but rather, handle many companies. They usually can get you the best

rate by selecting the right company. Several bids from different brokers can't hurt either.

A taxi-meter. The federal government regulates equipment features & capabilities

for any measurement devices we own - scales, gallons at the pump, temperatures of

industrial processes, and of course miles or KM charged to clients in our industry.

(Go to and click on N.I.S.T. Handbook 44 in the second last

column for more info. Section 5.54 is our bible.) Bottom line is this: If you are charging

clients by the mile, you’ll need a proper taxi meter traceable to nationally recognized

standards and regulations. We handle the two top brands, Pulsar and Centrodyne.

Some meters print receipts or check credit card verifications. Go to that same website

and see our column four for info. Oh, be careful about buying meters on-line in "sell-it-here"

websites; New meters always carry a year factory warranty, and dealers (like us) will

be more likely to support your equipment if you have issues, than say "Bubba" who has

one to sell cheap at "") Meters legal for use in the U.S.A. also must

have a federal government approval certificate called a C.O.C. (Certificate of Compliance)

which is readily available from your dealer. If the meter does not have a COC number,

it may be illegal for use in this country. Ours are listed on our home page, last column.

A toplight sign. Universally recognized as a “CAB” marker, a toplight will display

the fact that your car is for hire and properly outfitted. (Go to

then see the first two columns for over 50 toplight models. This large selection of quality

toplights can almost all be made screw-down magnetic mount. Remember wind can

destroy a magnetic base toplight; read “The Wind Speech” on that page.) We also can

make nearly all our lights as normal light bulb lighted, or with new LED (Light Emitting


Category: Taxes

Similar articles: