Starting Out as a Self-Employed Driver

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The arrival of a major pandemic has persuaded many of us to diversify our income streams. Work might have dried up in your day job, or perhaps you are just worried about putting all your eggs in a single basket during tough economic times. Thus, you might look to monetising and existing skill. For many of us, driving is just such a skill. It is something we might have already put hundreds of hours of practice into – so why not try to make the most of that effort?

A route which might have appealed to those making this decision might, not so long ago, have been Uber, and services like it. But the fact is that demand for taxi services has dwindled during a socially-distanced age. And there are reasons to be concerned about health and safety, too; during the height of the initial wave, it was taxi-drivers who were disproportionately on the receiving end of the virus. If you need to carry dozens of fares every day to remain profitable, the need for special precautions becomes considerable, especially if you already have a pre-existing condition.

The value of Uber collapsed back in March, but it has since recovered to more-or-less pre-Covid levels. The company have announced a range of measures designed to see everyone through this period. They are providing safety equipment to drivers at no cost, and they are providing rides for free to NHS staff. They’ve also adapted by partnering with delivery services like Ocado and Adecco, and generally recommended a more flexible approach during this period.

Getting Started

How you make money with your car will depend on what you’re doing with it. If you’re working under the umbrella of a company like Uber, you’ll need to jump through a series of hoops to demonstrate that you’re up to the task. If you’re going it alone, you’ll need to market your services and pro-actively seek the work.

Business Plan

As with any other kind of business, a driver needs to formulate a plan ahead of time. How are you going to turn a profit, and on what timescale? Getting these questions, and their answers, in writing will help you to think about them – and it’ll also help you to persuade other people.

Expenses

Your business plan should include a rigorous assessment of your projected costs. As a driver, most of these costs will come in the form of fuel, insurance, and the cost of wear-and-tear. GAP insurance from ALA will help you to cover the cost of replacing a vehicle – even if you’re unfortunate enough to write it off shortly after buying.

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