Just the Job - mini cab driver

News Shopper: Taxi driver Steve McKenzie Taxi driver Steve McKenzie

Tight rules and regulations on mini-cab drivers means when you start up there is a lot to learn. An experienced cabbie tells KERRY ANN EUSTICE all about it

Qualifications: All drivers have to obtain a license from the Public Carriage Office (PCO) which is the regulator for taxi and private hire drivers in and around London.

You also have to have a criminal record check and a medical, at your own expense. You can only become a licensed driver if you have a clean record and a clean bill of health.

Place of work: Master Car Hire in Bexleyheath. It is based at Bexleyheath train station and a lot of our work is within a mile and a half of this area.

What hours do you work? I work from 7am until 7pm, six days a week.

Earning potential: It depends on how busy you are, but at times it can be poor. Pay works out to be quite similar to the minimum wage. We can get £750 to £800 each week but drivers have a lot of outgoing costs, which can range from £400 to £500 a week.

This includes approximates of £100 to rent the agency, which assigns you driving jobs, £50 for car insurance, £50 for the rent, hire or payment of the vehicle, £80 to £100 on petrol or diesel and then £40 aside for repairs such as new tyres, brake pads.

There is also tax, a PCO test each year and two MOTs a year.

What is your typical day like? At this time of year I spend time defrosting the car, filling the tank up with petrol and checking the tyres.

In the mornings, I have some regular customers who go to and from the station where I am based. I do some jobs to places such as hospitals, but as we are a railway firm I spend most of the time waiting for trains to arrive and then delivering people to their homes.Other firms may have supermarket contracts for example.

I have to keep records for tax purposes of the work I do. An accountant checks my books are in order and I also have to submit my accounts for inspection.

Why did you decide to become a taxi Driver? I used to work as a journalist, but I was blacklisted for being a union representative. Mini-cabbing was willing to take me on.

Where do you want to go from here? I want to become a five-star mini-cab driver (he jokes).

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