Starting a taxi or PHV business

May 26, 2021

Given everything that's happened in the last year-and-a-bit, is it really a good time to start a taxi business? We think so.  

Shocked, but in recovery

The year from March 2020 to March 2021 was possibly the worst era in modern times to be working in the taxi trade. COVID 19 hit us hard. Drivers suffered above average illness and mortality rates. And then the industry collapsed with little of no trade at all for ten months. There wasn’t enough support for drivers or firms and, unfortunately, many have fallen by the wayside.

But now things are looking up. So, is it a good time to start a taxi business?

A business with a future?

IndividualGiven the shake-out that’s happened in the industry, we think there is actually LESS competition than before the pandemic. Arguably there are opportunities to rapidly grow a taxi firm as society opens up and gets back on the road to work, parties, clubs, events and holidays.

There were over 291,000 licensed taxis and private hire vehicles in 2019. We’d bet that number is significantly less today. A positive, fresh, well-run firm can become established in this market.

Not all taxis are the same

There are two types of vehicles people think of as taxis.

  • Taxis are really hackney carriages (known as black cabs in London but in all major towns and cities) and can be hailed on the street.
  • Private hire vehicles (PHVs) tend to be part of a branded fleet and must be booked in advance.
Hackney cabs

Generally speaking, hackney carriages are more regulated than PHVs. Local councils license their numbers and fares. The way fares are charged is fixed. Local authorities restrict the number of black cabs in their domain. Black cab drivers are tested for their competence and knowledge of the local area. When you add all this up it’s easy to see that becoming and staying a black cab or hackney driver is perhaps more complicated and difficult than being a PHV driver.

Private hire firm

PHVs (also known as minicabs by the public) operate out of an office which takes advance bookings. They can’t be hailed or stopped on the street, nor can they roam the streets looking for work.

This post is the first in a series on starting a taxi or private hire business; more will follow.


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We are the largest supplier of vehicles for the cab trade in England and Wales. We aim to provide the best combination of Price, Service and Delivery. With 70+ years combined experience in the cab trade, we will help you find the perfect vehicle. 


Bus and Taxis Direct Ltd T/A The Taxi Shop is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (674319). We act as a credit broker not a lender. We can introduce you to a limited number of lenders who may be able to offer you finance facilities for your purchase. We will only introduce you to these lenders. We may receive a commission payment from the finance provider if you decide to enter into an agreement with them. You may be able to obtain finance for your purchase from other lenders and you are encouraged to seek alternative quotations. If you would like to know how we handle complaints, please ask for a copy of our complaints handling process. Visit Financial Ombudsman for information about how to refer a complaint. 

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