This is a guest post for Skills You Need.
Want to contribute? Find out how.
7 Key Skills Private Hire Taxi Drivers
Need to Be Successful
Working as a private hire taxi driver involves more than just taking passengers from Point A to Point B.
Taxi drivers need a variety of skills that they must hone to succeed within this profession. The more a private hire taxi driver can sharpen his or her ability and skillset, the more successful they are likely to be in both their personal and professional life.
In today’s guide we look at seven key skills taxi drivers need to be successful.
1. Excellent Communication and Interpersonal Skills
This may seem obvious at first, but you will be surprised by the number of private hire drivers who lack even the basics of good communication skills.
Being able to communicate effectively is arguably the single most important skill to have in the modern world, and this goes for almost any profession. In the taxi sector, you’ll want to be able to show that you fully understand what the passenger is asking of you and address any queries they may have, either before booking a journey or during the trip.
Being able to communicate coherently with your passengers doesn’t mean you need a degree in the English language. In fact, English doesn’t even have be your native tongue. Communicating is about demonstrating that you fully understand what the other person is saying and being able to respond in the right manner.
2. A warm and approachable manner
No passenger wants to get into a taxicab where the driver is angry and rude. This is why it’s highly important to greet your customers with a sense of warmth and show them that you are approachable, especially if you want them to contact you in the future for additional bookings.
It costs nothing to have a smile on your face and a cheery tone of voice. It is often said that people will forget what you said and did but they will always remember how you made them feel.
It is quite understandable that some in the profession will be working long hours and it can become exhausting when you have one final journey to complete at the end of a 12-hour shift. However, attitude is key and the last thing you want is to drive potential repeat customers away from your private hire taxi business.
3. Competent driving skills
OK, you’ve got a driving license and you’ve been working for a number of years. Nonetheless, competent driving skills are invaluable, especially when you consider the fact that private hire drivers cover tens of thousands of miles each year on average.
You can really demonstrate your professionalism by adhering to road safety rules and not taking any unnecessary risks. Furthermore, if you are a safe and competent driver, your private hire insurance policy will be cheaper as you’re less likely to be involved in an incident, thus reducing the number of claims and allowing you to retain your no claims discount year after year.
4. Good geographical knowledge
GPS navigation has been around for many years now and has made life a lot easier for anyone who needs to locate an unfamiliar destination.
However, having a good geographical knowledge of the town/city you are operating in will always be practical. Knowing the shortest routes that have the least amount of traffic will benefit your career greatly for a number of reasons. You will save time, which your customers will appreciate, and it will allow you to make extra journeys each day to earn additional income. You will also save money through reduced fuel consumption. Sounds like a win-win situation.
5. Time Management Skills
Time management is another basic skill that everyone is capable of, but making the effort to be organised can be very rewarding.
It’s common knowledge amongst private hire taxi drivers that certain hours of the day and specific days of the week are far busier than others. Depending on the type of frequent passengers you provide your services to, you can actually earn more money by working fewer hours. This is sometimes referred to as ‘working smarter, not harder’ and taxi professionals can fully take advantage of this concept.
After all, if you’re able to manage your time well and reduce a 12-hour day down to 9 hours and still make the same figure, this will give you more leisure time. Time management and organisation takes a considerable amount of discipline and is very much worth striving for.
6. Good numeracy skills
Similar to being able to communicate well, a maths qualification from a top educational institution is not required. As long as you can do basic addition, subtraction and some multiplication, you’ll do just fine. To make sure your numbers are never off the mark, you can always use a calculator. Every modern smartphone has one included.
Simple maths skills will help you in a number of ways. Even though most taxi related calculations are now done through mobile applications, it’s always handy to know that you can make sure the sums add up if something doesn’t look quite right. This could be for passenger fares, fuel costs, your own weekly or monthly income and even annual tax returns.
7. Good technical knowledge of vehicles
You do not need to be a professional mechanic but knowing your way around your taxi can save you a lot of time and money. After all, if it’s a minor issue and you’re able to find a quick solution by yourself, you won’t need to visit a garage, allowing you to continue working. Private hire taxi drivers will be covering tens of thousands of miles each year so car maintenance will be a top priority for most.
In summary, being a private hire taxi driver isn’t just about being confident behind the wheel and trying to take on as many bookings as possible. Your passengers will expect a high level of customer service demonstrated through your professionalism at all times. To be highly proficient in this career choice, the seven key skills listed above will help you succeed. You won’t perfect them all straight away, but over time you can improve them consciously and subconsciously through gained experience.
About the Author
Chris Richards is the Managing Director of Utility Saving Expert, a socially conscious energy and insurance comparison site whose mission is to both save you money on your utility bills and fight fuel poverty by donating 10% of its profits to charity.