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Running a taxi firm is a thrilling prospect. It can be adventurous, social, and even keep the wheels on other parts of society spinning depending on who’s being taken where. These businesses have vital roles!
Despite the rewarding nature of the job, there can be a series of challenges these firms must face as well. Many potential hiccups can occur, and things aren’t quite as simple as transporting someone from one place to another. There are deeper responsibilities than that and more at stake, too.
What are the types of challenges taxi firms can face? How can they each be overcome? Read on as we explore the answers to these questions in detail.
5 Challenges Taxi Firms Can Face – How To Solve Them?
Taxis Being Too Small
The more versatile your taxis are, the better. Even if most of your clients are just one or two people, they can still desire more space. For example, the Renault Trafic can be a great car for taxi purposes, as it can seat up to nine people. There’s a good amount of space available for extra luggage too. There’s greater comfort due to these measures, but your taxis will also be better positioned to undertake longer journeys and take people to places like airports.
The Renault Trafic is also equipped with numerous safety features like speed limiters and front passenger airbags, but its sheer size also keeps drivers and passengers safe. Larger cars can come out of some collisions with little more than a few dents, so in that respect, a larger taxi can give customers and drivers assurances too. If that’s still not enough, the Renault Trafic is big enough that optional extras like fire extinguishers and first aid kits can also be comfortably featured, letting drivers and passengers know their well-being is a priority.
Therefore, delaying securing larger vehicles can stunt your taxi firm’s appeal and potentially isolate it from countless small business opportunities. If you don’t take them up, somebody else will, weakening your taxi firm’s position further.
Drivers can sometimes be treated as faceless figures in a business and can be both undervalued and underestimated. For taxi firms, though, they can very much be the face of your company.
Recent reports indicate that labour councils aren’t doing enough to vet taxi drivers in their local area. They should be using a national safety database to make progress here, stopping drivers who’ve lost their licences as punishment for criminal activity from working as drivers. Unfortunately, failings here have impactful consequences for your business and those you purport to serve.
If the labour councils aren’t pulling their weight, it falls to firms like yours to review vetting procedures on your side. Perform checks and double-checks to ensure each of your drivers doesn’t have a criminal record or any history of questionable behaviour. Secure references, host multi-stage interviews and be certain of the characters of prospective hires before employing them.
Remember, it takes considerable trust for someone to get into a vehicle with a stranger, even if that stranger is a taxi driver. We also live in a time when people are understandably more sensitive and suspicious of others’ behaviour. Therefore, it’s essential that you conduct these checks and that you don’t solely rely on others to do this on your firm’s behalf.
Poor Driver Conduct
Even if you’ve conducted all the necessary checks on your drivers, even fully authorised drivers can still let you down at any juncture. That’s why it’s imperative to ensure that their conduct on the job is at an impeccable standard at every juncture.
There are horrific news stories of drivers that behaved appallingly in their roles. They can speed, nearly crash, and overly charge customers for their services too. Even something like a driver littering out of their open windows is enough to put a blemish on your firm’s reputation.
One solution to this problem is providing adequate training. Obviously, your drivers should know not to behave in poor extremes like the abovementioned examples. Still, these learning materials will remind them that they’re in a professional, customer-facing role. There’s no room for bad manners or other poor conduct.
It may also be prudent to install things like dash cams to record footage of your driver’s experiences on the road. If you do use these technologies, be transparent about their usage. Some devices can monitor their speed, the routes they’re taking, and their fuel consumption. Once your drivers know their activities are being monitored and assessed, they’re far more likely to comply with the rules and regulations you assess.
Despite trying their best to provide top-tier service, taxi businesses can still experience fluctuating demand for their services. Your taxi firm must do its utmost to forecast these changes and plan accordingly.
There are many reasons demand for taxis can vary. It could be because of the following:
- The presence of recurring rail strikes causes people to use other forms of public transport where they can.
- Seasonal shifts where more people meet with family or attend parties. The weather and longer days can influence things too.
- Pandemics that influence people to stay home and indoors. The coronavirus might be mostly behind us, but it’s a question of when, not if, another pandemic will occur.
- Economic prosperity and how much it influences consumer spending.
- Events and concerts in your local area are likely to generate much interest and pull visitors in from elsewhere.
As you can see, a few influences here can tilt your taxi firm off its axis. There are a few solutions to weathering these figurative storms. Hiring temporary drivers may help with demand surges, as could shifting focus to other demographics and regions where demand is reaching pique levels. For example, you may wish to increase taxi presence near railway stations to net customers experiencing last-minute cancellations or arriving for seasonal celebrations.
When there’s a low demand for taxis, it may be a good idea to partner with other firms to offer bundle deals that incentivise people to use your taxis. Diversifying your services (i.e. providing a focused shuttle service) could also be useful in helping you attract more business. Making difficult decisions around reducing business costs may also be necessary for survival in extreme cases.
Competing with Uber
Uber is a global enterprise. It can seem very difficult for smaller taxi firms to compete with it credibly.
Nevertheless, you must be willing to put up a good fight with your taxi firm. Much of the points we’ve raised so far will help with this aim, but more can also be done. So, it’s important to be hopeful and proactive to make a significant impact against the bigger businesses.
The first and arguably most important strategy is to lean into your taxi firm’s sense of local appeal. You might be lesser known, but that can easily be used to your firm’s advantage. Know everything about the region of operations, and establish a community feel around your venture. People may prefer a smaller, friendly taxi firm to a huge corporation like Uber.
Uber has an app that drives much of its popularity. Therefore, you should endeavour to have your taxi firm represented just as flawlessly digitally. Develop a great mobile app that makes booking rides easier and offers things like special promotions and discounts. If it has a presence in the same app stores as Uber and is well-reviewed by users, it can help spread the good word about your business.