Private hire business - lordwoody
I've been doing a bit of part-time work for a local hotel in Suffolk driving one of their 2 private hire vehicles. I probably do about a days worth of work every two weeks and have quite enjoyed it as a supplement to my (sometimes erratic) freelance income. As I work from home anyway it's easy for me to fit work in at short notice. Most of the clients are either hotel guests , local people or businessmen going to airports and nearly all have been pleasant travelling companions. There is no ( or very little) picking up drunken youths who promptly vomit in the car. The work is better paid than most semi-skilled part-time work . I've carried a few people recently who've complained about the shortage of private hire vehicles locally so I'm now considering licensing my own car and going into business myself. I will still carry on my freelance work but having a second string to my bow does not seem like a bad idea. If the business does well I may devote more time to it and eventually may have a business with a saleable value, unlike my current one, which though reasonably sucessful is completely reliant on my individual skills and thus has no re-sale value. My car is a 7 year old Saab 9-5 which, though smart and tidy, has a low value and thus racking up large mileages will do little to dent its worth. What I would like to do is, assuming it works well, replace the Saab with a new\newer car and go for the upper end of the market. I would ideally need a 5 or 7 seater with luggage spac, reliability and ideally a reasonably prestigious image (probably therefore no minibus types) Any suggestions?
Private hire business - runboy
Larger private hire vehicles I've seen are Chysler Voyagers, Merc Vaneos (I think thats the name), maybe Toyota Previas or VW Caravelles. If you need the seats then something like a large SUV wouldn't be possible, although it would look nice. Not the most exciting choice but if specced correctly and with blacked out windows they could look cool!
Private hire business - Falkirk Bairn
Larger private hire vehicles I've seen are Chysler Voyagers, Merc Vaneos
(I think thats the name), maybe Toyota Previas or VW Caravelles.
If you need the seats then something like a large SUV
wouldn't be possible, although it would look nice. Not the
most exciting choice but if specced correctly and with blacked out
windows they could look cool!


Merc Vaneos - this is a stretched old style A class - hardly "limo class"

Merc Viano is the one based on the Merc Vito Van - they cost about £20K+ 2nd hand

Voyagers are plentiful & cheap if they are Petrol - I know someone offered £8,000
as a T/I for a 3yr old Petrol - thye have a drink problem esp the 3.3ltr - the more desirable Diesels are harder to find and a lot dearer.
Private hire business - Collos25
Often see C8's with starship mileage they seem to stay the course
Private hire business - runboy
Merc Vaneos - this is a stretched old style A
class - hardly "limo class"


Falkirk Bairn, thats why I said "I think thats the name" as I knew it started with a V but that was it. I'm not suggesting for one minute a stretched A class is limo class.
Private hire business - drbe
I assume you will have allowed for private hire licensing with your local authority - circa £600 in Esher, Surrey. Insurance - circa £1500. Criminal Record Bureau checks, a new additional driving test will be mandatory in the next 12 months.

Having said all that, this is exactly what I have been doing for the past 14 years and most of the time I enjoy it.

If you want to email me via the mods, I can go into a bit more detail, but, as a generalisation, avoid the shorter ruins and concentrate on the longer mileage jobs - so; - no school runs, no station runs (unless it's to London main-line stations) no pub pick-ups.

Yes to airport runs - I suggest from Day 1 you arrange to meet returning passengers OUTSIDE the terminal, therefore no parking to pay. Weddings can be very profitable - lots of waiting about though, so allow plenty of extra time.

Good luck.
Private hire business - Gromit {P}
For a car, the obvious choice for space and prestige is a second-hand E-Class Mercedes. There's a highly-regarded private hire operator near me (a friend's father drives for them part time) runs nothing but dark-coloured leather-clad E classes for its 5 star hotel/golf club/state agency work.

Alternatives would be a Rover 75 if you got one at the right price or a Skoda Superb if space and comfort are more important than the badge. The Toyota Camry can look the part in the right colour and trim.

This company also used Grand Voyagers and the longer wheelbase Merc for golf tours. I've also seen a well-trimmed VW Sharan used, but with just five seats in to leave baggage space.

Surely any SUV is out, based on low fuel economy? Also, would such a flashy vehicle alienate a proportion of your customers who want to be driven in comfort but don't necessarily want to advertise the fact?
Private hire business - lordwoody
Thanks for all the suggestions so far. I had considered an SUV but thought there might be problems for older passengers climbing up into a tall car. I do like the Merc estate and had considered that already as a strong contender ( are Mercs as solid\reliable as they used to be though?) I had allowed for licensing costs, can't remember my private hire licence costs as the hotel picked up the tab, but plating a car in my area costs £165 plus £65 for twice yearly car inspection. I've had all the CRB checks as part of my private hire driver process. Must admit I hadn't checked insurance costs and that's quite a big lump. May speak to you later drbe, thanks
Private hire business - Craig_1969
I thought about doing this for a living, but as I am shortsighted can't get a licence. Good grief.
Private hire business - mini 30 owner
That can't be right - is it corrected with spectacles?

I see lots of drivers, pcv and hgv, with glasses about
Private hire business - LeighB
For HGV and PSV licence the medical requirements are quite strict - and rightly so!! - the vision test requires a better standard overall than the normal car licence (which is never checked again after passing your test age 17 or whatever)
Also there are minimum requrements for each eye separately, and a fall back minimum without glasses.
Therefore someone who is extremely short sighted may fail on this last provision even though vision is perfectly corrected with specs. Also if no vison at all in one eye again will fail.
The reason for this is obvious - should some emergency occur causing specs to smash or come off, driver can still see well enough to bring vehicle to a halt.
having retired 5 years ago I cannot now remember the various parameters, but they are laid down on the medical examination form.
Interestingly some opticians are ignorant abot this, and I had more than one argument with would be HGV divers who had been told by their optician that the vision requirements were the same as a normal car licence.
Private hire business - Pugugly {P}
direct.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/02/07/31/04020731.pdf

All is revealed here.
Private hire business - LeighB
Many thanks pug, mind you 3/60 is still pretty poor vision !!
I had forgotten that binocular vsual fields had to be tested also. Again not part of normal vision test.
You can drive a car legally with very severe tunnel vision, but would probably have a lot of accidents due to failing to see to either side of directly ahead.
Private hire business - Pugugly {P}
Especially if you have Sat Nav apparantly !
Private hire business - LeighB
My only experience of SatNav is using TomTom on PDA fixed to windscreen with a sucker mount.
At low speed you get a full map display, but once moving at speed it changes to a very simple screen which just shows what is the next change of course and how far, such as a L arrow and 2.6 M, also you have very clear audible instructions, so no real need to look at the screen.
The large built in ones may be different of course?
Private hire business - drbe
direct.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/02/07/31/04020731.pdf
All is revealed here.


However the OP is asking about Private Hire, not lorry driving, so both the question and PU's link are irrelevant.
Private hire business - Pugugly {P}
irrevelent it may be I was only answering the LGV iissue:-(
Private hire business - Pugugly {P}
Taxi and hackney carriage licensing


The House of Commons Transport Select Committee on taxis and private hire vehicles recommended in February 1995 that taxi licence applicants should pass a medical examination before a licence could be granted.



Responsibility for determining the standards, including medical requirements, to be applied to taxi drivers, over and above the driver licensing requirements, rests with the public carriage office in the metropolitan area and the local authority in all other areas. Current best practice advice is contained in the booklet ?Medical Aspects of Fitness to Drive? published by the medical commission on accident prevention in 1995. This recommended that the group 2 medical standards applied by DVLA in relation to bus and lorry drivers, should also be applied by local authorities to taxi drivers.



And as if by magic I was probably right anyway ! :-)
Private hire business - Mapmaker
>>If the business does well I may devote more time to it and eventually may have a business with a saleable value,

I've never valued a small private hire business, but I doubt it's worth much when you come to sell it. You're in rural Suffolk? So there's not going to be huge amounts of trade, unlike central Cambridge/Norwich which are stuffed full of students.

The barriers to entry are incredibly low (i.e. other people can set up a business like yours for virtually no cost - £165 did you say?).

Unless of course you have dozens of drivers working for you, all run out of a radio controlling office - which will mean huge administrative effort.


Virtually all the goodwill in a cabbing business is in the telephone number - that's the way people access the business. As that's the telephone number that people ring to find a cab. Get a good one. 'Far too far, far too far' 424424 was a great one for Cambridge's biggest cab operator... and then they changed it. But they didn't seem to realise what the number 'meant', that was our joke.

Not trying to dampen your enthusiasm, but I doubt selling the business will pay your pension plan.
Private hire business - lordwoody
To be honest the final value of the company was something I saw as a minor by-product of the venture and I'm quite happy to accept that it will be worth very little. Whilst the barriers to entry are indeed low they are higher than £165, that is just the cost of putting the plates on the car. The cost of obtaining the private hire licence initially are in the hundreds ( not paid by me so I can't remember the figures) plus driving and private hire law examinations. One would also need an operators licence to run the business, again in the hundreds. You also need a car which fits the requirements laid down by the local authority. It has been mentioned to me on various occasions that it's hard to get a taxi locally. There are 2 taxi firms in the nearby town but they appear to be unable to meet the demand, hence my interest. The business I envisaged did not require a large number of students to ensure its viability, in fact far from it. I didn't want drunk vomitting students in my smart car! ( Although there is a large public school locally who do provide some customers) The hotel for whom I work has a clientele consisting mainly of well-heeled locals and guests, with some business custom ( BT headquarters are nearby) and most of the customers are known personally to the proprietors. The town of which I speak has a large number of retired people who also often use the service. I have a freelance business which I run from home anyway so I see the private hire as an add-on with growth potential, rather than an only source of income.
Private hire business - Jonathan {p}
School run contracts seem to be popular round my way
Private hire business - Mapmaker
It sounds like a perfect business to run around your freelance business - but I could imagine that just when a deadline looms, phone rings; accident on A120, takes hours to reach Stansted, eventually get back too tired to bother to carry on working. That would be me anyway ;)

>>The cost of obtaining the private hire licence initially are in the hundreds ( not paid by me so I can't remember the figures) plus driving and private hire law examinations.

So presumably if you sell the business the person buying it would also have to pass his examinations etc.

>company

Please don't. Just think of the statutory accounts and company tax return as well as your own; oh yes, and having to pay tax on the 'benefit' of using your own car for private use. Keep your accountant happy though... ;) Stick to being a sole trader, at least initially.

>public school

Woodbridge?
Private hire business - tack
I have just been driven back from Torbay to London in a Merc' Viano 2,2 Diesel LWB. (it's a long and horrible story as to why)

Leather seats in 'dinner table' formation. Very comfy, not noisy, I was quite impressed. Went like stink. I think I would be pleased for one of these to turn up if I was a business exec off to Heathport Airow, Gatport Airwick or Stanport Airstead.

Mind you, the driver was a no-neck, 4ft tall, 10ft wide Colombian who looked as though he picked his teeth with a machette and could carve a verse from "the moving finger writes" with it on your face in a nano-second. I suspect he may have been on the run (from the police or a drug cartel? who knows!)
Private hire business - Westpig
Mind you, the driver was a no-neck, 4ft tall, 10ft wide
Colombian who looked as though he picked his teeth with a
machette and could carve a verse from "the moving finger writes"
with it on your face in a nano-second. I suspect
he may have been on the run (from the police or
a drug cartel? who knows!)


and your role in this little drama.......urgent exit from Torbay?.... sounds suspicious to me... o:)
Private hire business - tack
>and your role in this little drama.......urgent exit from Torbay?.... sounds suspicious to me... o:)

I am afraid nothing so prosaic or exotic as being on the run from scar faced latino hard men, or drug running.

It was as mundane as a mild heart attack. on Dartmoor, 200 miles from home. I had been discharged from the local (and truly excellent) cardiac unit. My employer kindly sent a vehicle to fetch me home from the hospital.

(PS - If any of you backroomer live in South Devon and have the misforune to suffer such an attack, have no fear if you are taken to the Hetherington Unit at Torbay Hospital. They are abso-blooming-lutely fantastic. Can't speak of them highly enough. Mind you, when the ambulance call went in from where I was in Bovey Castle I was astounded to find a fire engine turn up. Apparently it was the nearest emergency unit with the necessary equipment.)
Private hire business - barchettaman
Get well soon!
Private hire business - tack
thank you Barchetta :o)

Can't drive for a week, so just sitting here looking out the window at my redundant car. Any worse it would have been a month. But hey....any really worse I would have been.....................dead!

I was thinking that life can be so short (I am 51) shall I treat myself to something that I would really, really like and have done with it.?
Private hire business - drbe
>> I was thinking that life can be so short (I am
51) shall I treat myself to something that I would really,
really like and have done with it.?


I hope you recover satisfacrily.

May I offer some advice?

Do the diet thing and do the exercise regime. Have yearly treadmill tests and consider going to Cardiac Re-hab unit. Do not smoke (not many people seem to nowadays!) and control the alcohol intake.

I hope that doesn't sound pompous - it isn't meant to be.
Private hire business - tack
cheers drbe....it's all on the list, and if it wasn't then the missus would make sure it was. ;O)

Wouldn't mind, but I don't smoke. I drink the occasional G&T. However, I like my tucker, so now sticking to cardboard sandwiches and other delightful pap.
 

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