There is a high chance that you’ve used the services of taxi drivers at least once in your lifetime, no matter the circumstances. They might talk to you while you prefer to keep silent or occasionally, swear a little bit too much, but if you need to get from a point A to point B with no idea how to do that, taxi drivers might turn out to be helpful.
You must have heard many stereotypes about taxi drivers, the main one being that it’s an easy way to earn a living. However, it’s not that simple. You only see the tip of an iceberg, but there’s a lot more going on. Working as a cab driver comes with a set of challenges – but many perks as well. Whether you want to become a taxi driver, or simply want to learn more about this profession, here are some things you need to know.
How Much Do Taxi Drivers Really Earn
Let’s start with the most popular stereotype about taxi drivers: they earn a lot while simply driving a car. Well, money can be different depending on many factors. A median taxi driver’s salary in the US in 2019 was a little more than $31,000. However, it depends on the area a driver’s working in, the company, tips, and the number of work hours.
Some drivers work part-time, evenings and weekends: of course, they earn less than those driving for a living. Some work for a taxi company; some are freelancers. Finally, on the taxi platforms, like Uber, different programs offer different fares: for example, with Uber Black, an Uber driver will earn more than with uber X. But it’s not that simple for a beginning taxi driver to decide how and when they want to work – every option comes with different challenges.
Challenges of Being a Taxi Driver
Taxi drivers work with people – and this can be exciting as well as terrifying sometimes. If you’re a people person, this job is the right choice for you – not only will you have a great experience, you’ll get decent tips for getting on with the customer. However, be prepared to meet customers who are hard to deal with and people who say or do strange things.
You’ll encounter different people every day – and you will have to figure out how to behave in the weirdest of situations. Abusive customers, non-payments, and even robberies are some of the things taxi drivers have to be prepared for.
The lifestyle that taxi drivers lead can also be pretty challenging. If you like traveling a lot – it is definitely a perk for you. However, driving around the city five (or more) days a week can become a pretty monotonous job. Tiredness is also a big problem for taxi drivers, as they can work many hours a week (especially if they want to earn more). And a sedentary lifestyle that taxi drivers live can lead to health issues, like obesity, diabetes, cancer, and even early death.
Perks of Being a Taxi Driver
Even though a taxi driver’s job can be challenging, it has many benefits – and very often, they outweigh the cons. For example, a sense of freedom and flexible working hours are some of the most popular reasons why people go to work as taxi drivers – especially nowadays when you can quickly get tired of working fixed hours in an office on a supervised position.
For some people, driving a taxi might be interesting – you meet new people, see familiar places in a different light, and learn new things. Who would want to sit in the office instead? And of course, money is a factor that’s also important when it comes to choosing a taxi driver’s job – for many people, it’s worth working many hours in times of social distancing.
What Skills a Taxi Driver Must Have
Many people think that being a taxi driver is only about driving a taxi. However, there are many other things you need to learn to be successful in this industry. The primary skills you’ll need include:
- Excellent communication skills
- A warm and approachable manner
- Great driving skills
- Good knowledge of the city
- Time management skills
- Math skills
- Technical knowledge of the vehicles
Of course, there are many more – for example, to get a license, you’ll need to pass a vision test and have good hand-eye coordination. However, remember that interpersonal skills are as necessary for the industry as technical ones: nobody likes an angry and rude driver.
To Sum Up
A taxi driver’s job is often seen as an easy way to earn a living. However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Of course, the profession does have many perks: it’s interesting, it’s different, it offers you an opportunity to meet new people and see new places. It’s also incredibly freeing, as you’re not supervised or limited by office walls. However, if you want to become a taxi driver, there are some challenges you need to prepare for.
Abusive or non-paying customers are some of the most common problems, and robbery risk is pretty high in the industry. You can get tired pretty hard, especially if you want to earn a lot and work more hours. However, don’t let that discourage you. If working with people, driving around the city, having new experience is something that attracts you to the job – try it. You won’t be disappointed.