From Being Almost Broke, To Great Money As A Taxi Driver
At the age of 33 I was laid off from Dell Computer Corporation. This was around the time when the price of a desktop computer dropped from $3,000.00 and up to less than 1k. I had been a technician for them for over 11 years servicing the many companies that were leasing PC’s instead of buying them. With this fast dropping of prices I was laid off and out of a job.
This was a very scary time for me because I was making over 150k a year, I had a family, and the bills were not going to stop. A friend of mine said to me “you should go drive a taxi“. I told him “your joking right“. He said to me “you have nothing to lose, and its better to make something than to make nothing at all“.
I pondered on the idea for about a week and then started calling around looking for a taxi company that might have an opening for a taxi driving job. I finally got a position with a company in downtown Atlanta that leased a taxi to me for 12 hours a day, 6 days a week.
Back in those days all of our calls (rides) were given to us by radio dispatch, and they would be given to the first out position car, or available taxicab in a particular zone. Sometimes there would be 3, or 4 cars in my zone at a given time. If you were 3rd out you would have to wait until the other cars ahead of you were given rides before you would get one. Zones are smaller sections of a city as laid out by the cab company.
Keeping in mind that I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning, let alone knowing my way around the city as in those days we did not have GPS, and we had to rely on looking through a map book to figure out how to get from one place to the next.
My first day driving, which was for an entire 12 hours too, I took in a little over $60 in fares, but I had to pay the taxi company $50 for the days lease. Take away $20 in gas (mostly wasted because I was running in circles trying to find places) I had lost money…. and I was pissed!
With all that said, I am now going to tell you exactly how I went from horrible days like that to making over $100,000 a year, every single year, driving a taxi, and how YOU can do this too! The real key to making this kind of money as a taxi or rideshare driver has not changed. YOU just have to start doing it!
Follow this complete guide starting with part 1 below, and your income will increase beyond your wildest dreams.
Driving Smart: The first steps to making a killing driving a taxi
Before I get into the many ways to increase your income as a taxi/rideshare driver, I first need to go over some tips that will get you on the right track to the one thing many new drivers miss out on totally. SPEED… and I’m not talking about driving fast!
Taxi or rideshare drivers that have been in the business long enough realize that a big key to their success is being fast, and outsmarting all of the other drivers within the company. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you are at war when it comes to making money!
Other taxi companies along with your companies fellow drivers are in direct competition with you when it comes to the amount of ride opportunities available in your city. When you are sitting still with nothing to do while your fellow drivers are on a ride with a customer then that is money that could have been yours.
Here are some examples of what smart taxi drivers do:
a) Smart drivers get the customer in and out of the car as fast as possible
If you aren’t toting groceries to get that crap out of your trunk and to their door step with them then you are killing your valuable time. Not only that, you are also killing your tip money. Get that chit out of your car and roll on!
b) Smart taxi drivers know their area and they work it
Taxi drivers that put in enough hours to truly learn where to be at certain times of the day will always make more money than others. Work the same hours every day to learn the clientele in your area.
c) Smart taxi cab drivers make friends
The best drivers make friends with everyone and they also make sure that the customer knows them by name along with the days and hours that they work. When you as a cab driver reach the point to where the customers are asking for you to come pick them up then you will have truly begun the process of a much larger clientele base, and a bigger paycheck.
d) Smart drivers will have customers in their car within 1 minute upon arrival…. or faster
If you are one of those drivers that gets to your destination and then calls the customer to let them know that you are there then you are destroying your income potential.
A smart driver will always make sure the customer knows to be looking out for them at a certain time. ie “John I will be there in 5 minutes, come on outside”. “Janie, I will be pulling in your driveway in about 1 minute, so come on outside”. “Tim, I am having a very busy day so, if you could be looking for me I will be pulling up in 2 minutes”.
Grab their bags, luggage, or whatever and help them. A great taxi driver never sets in their car watching the customers load stuff into it. Get them in and get them out of your car quickly, so you can move on to the next customer!
e) Smart drivers work
Smart taxi cab drivers do not sit around on their phones, they do not sit around with other cabbies talking, or joking around, and they do not spend the day doing anything other than working!
Lets face it, you came out to make money, so get off your ass and make money!
In all my years driving a taxi I never once had another driver offer me money. I also learned that when things got slow that if I sat around shooting the bull with my fellow cabbies my mood would only get worse as a lot of times negative talk was the key subject for the day.
I had to learn the hard way that my fellow cab drivers were not my friends. When I am working I had to see them as competition, another person taking away money that could be mine!
f) Smart drivers don’t miss calls nor avoid them when available
One of the biggest mistakes I made when starting out was that at times I would simply pass on a call because I knew that it was a customer that never tipped, or that were not going very far, or basically any other excuse that I could come up with.
Eventually though my mind changed on this because I realized that deep down I was simply being lazy. Not only that, many times just by taking that ride I ended up setting myself for a great ride later that fell right into my lap because I was now at the right place at the right time when dropping off the customer that I went out of my way for.
Gang, if your car isn’t moving then you are not making money. Its plain and simple math. If you don’t have someone in your car then you are not making anything. Never pass on a call, ever!
g) Smart drivers take care of personal business when they are off for the day
As a taxi driver it was really easy for me to go and do other things during the hours that I was suppose to be working. Then later that day I would count my money and start whining that I didn’t make anything. Believe it or not, It took me a while to realize that I was killing my own paycheck in the process.
As I said above, if you do not have a customer in your car then you are not making any money, period! Keep moving and stop sitting around.
h) Smart drivers put their names out everywhere
A smart driver does not depend on any company to line their pocket book. As a matter of fact when I was driving I created enough work to keep myself busy for most of the day and rarely relied on the companies calls coming in.
I will go over how this is done along with some of the best kept secrets to cab driving in my next series (Part 2) titled “Forget Waiting Around To Make Money Because I Can Get My Own Customers“, so stay tuned.
In the meantime break any old habits and start driving smart to begin your road to that $100k plus a year taxi driving job. Yes, YOU can do it!