Monday, 13 August 2012

How To Be a Private Hire Driver - Obtaining a Private Hire Licence (Southampton Chauffeur Hire)

How To - Private Hire Licence the basics.

Firstly, welcome to my blog about my experience with setting up Southampton Chauffeur Hire. This is an insight for starting up a new chapter by trying something that I have thought of but have never had the courage.
For me I was in my comfort zone having worked in the same environment for many years and, up until recently, with good job security. I had not needed to change as I could rely on a regular income and a job that I still enjoyed.
Redundancy was the cause, and the effect was a completely new and challenging 'breath of fresh air.' They say 'as one door shuts another opens'. Take the positives and hopefully, find that new direction and go for it!

Why choose to be a private hire driver -

I suppose there are several personal qualities and skills that all transferable and help to make a good private hire driver.

1. Competent driving standard and enjoy driving.
This is a must because what is the point if you don't like driving or you can not deliver a safe and comfortable experience for your customer.

2. People skills.
You must like people and have good communication skills. To be adaptable and have the ability to assess situations. Accommodate your customer's requirements. Be quiet or engage in conversation? Let your customer take the lead and don't dictate. Obtain good and reliable advice from those with experience. You will get to know them for help and guidance. 

3. Use of modern technology.
From the Sat Nav and Google Maps to having your own website - it is all there for you and a lot of it is free! Research the 'job'. Use the Internet to do your homework to assist with completing the job efficiently and professionally. It could be looking up traffic information on The Highways Agency site or checking a flight time table. Going to an event like Wimbledon or Goodwood? Most events have a website with all the information you need.

4. What type of licence/customer group.
From weddings and corporate clients to taking someone on a short trip to the pub. Choose a restricted licence and you don't need to display your vehicle plate when supplying a wedding car service. Obtain a standard licence for regular work. Choose the type of licence to suit your customer group.

5. A suitable vehicle.
Get  this wrong and you will have all sorts of problems from practical to financial. Although it's not important if you are going to work for someone and drive a company vehicle. For the self employed it is imperative to choose the right vehicle that suits your customer type. A Mercedes is perfect for a wedding car but not for a cruise passenger with 6 suitcases. A Ford Focus is fine for general use but not for a corporate client or 5 star hotel guest arriving at the heliport.

6. Portray the correct image to attract customers.
An immaculate vehicle with a smartly dressed driver portrays professionalism and efficiency. Get these two basics right and the implication is that you provide the whole package. 

7. Business sense. Accurate records is essential for the Inland Revenue and to keep tabs on your invoices. There is no point in doing a job if your not sure if you have been paid. You will soon get 'tied up in knots' if you don't keep up to date records. These records can assist with all sorts of business applications from keeping tabs on your over heads and identifying profit to assessing your fuel consumption.

8. Self employed or work for someone.
The choice is yours. Both have their advantages and disadvantages depending upon your own personal situation. Certainly, working for yourself has it's rewards with being your own boss and being in control. However there is no one to fall back on and if you are ill you don't get paid. Conversely, working for someone has less stress as you drive the company car, which is maintained for you. You get regular pay and have little paper work.

So what did I choose? 

I chose - Working for myself.
It was an easy choice for me as I was attracted to being in control of all aspects of the business. For all of my working life I had been answerable to others and being a little cog in an organisation. Now was my time to be in charge and either succeed or fail. I considered myself well qualified and ready to take on the varying challenges to build a business that would provide a suitable income and be rewarding.

I chose - A Restricted Licence. I wanted to cater for corporate clients requiring luxury chauffeured transport. A luxury executive vehicle would also be suitable for weddings and special events. Those wanting something more than a taxi to the airport or cruise terminal may look for something special and be prepared to pay that extra amount.

I have been trading since April 2012 with a website built by me with 1&1 hosting service. Have a look at my website  To be continued....