Being a taxi driver seems an appealing profession, as the number of independent taxi drivers and taxi companies has nearly doubled in the past ten years.
It’s one of the professions rightfully at the top of the list for kilometres travelled, certainly earning their title as mile-munchers among the self-employed in the UK. A growing number of drivers are choosing to become self-employed.
They prefer to set their own hours, cargoes, and routes. These bona fide entrepreneurs consume a lot of fuel with their vehicles and fit the profile for a self-employed fuel card.
Is such a self-employed fuel card for taxis worthwhile, and does it make the profession more attractive? If so, why? Here’s a summary of the benefits.
- The Profession of Taxi Driver Due to the amended taxi law in 2016 and the subsequent rise of services like Uber, this development is positive for customers, though the competition is fiercely intense. In 2005, there were 4,700 taxi companies, and data from the Office for National Statistics shows that this number had risen to nearly 9,000 by 2017.
Especially in the last two years, the growth has been significant at 55%. Transporting customers means long days, as 83% of taxi companies in 2017 had only one working individual.
The principle of this profession seems simple: for a fee, a taxi driver transports one or more customers from point A to point B. If he or she can easily interact with people, then it’s a fantastic job.
In 2005, there were 4,700 taxi companies, and this number had risen to nearly 9,000 by 2017. The competition is fiercely intense.
1.1 Most Active Times Around London and Heathrow In the UK, more than 36,000 taxis are in operation, with over 6,000 operating as independent self-employed taxi drivers. While ten years ago, 63% of drivers worked as independents, now it’s 83%, and in London, it’s even 85%.
More than a third of the growth in the number of taxi companies is due to the increase in the number of taxi companies in London.
Almost one in three UK taxi companies is based in the capital because tourism there has increased, thereby raising the number of potential customers.
1.2 No More Need for Professional Competence Exams In addition to a driving licence, the taxi driver needs a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence and a driver’s badge, but a professional competence exam is no longer mandatory. Starting a taxi company has thus become easier and more affordable.
The driver’s badge must always be visible in the car, so passengers can see that they’re a registered taxi driver.
Self-employed taxi drivers almost all work full-time in the taxi. Most even work more than 60 hours to reach a minimum wage.
- Fuel Card for Taxis A taxi refuels daily. Payment can, of course, be in cash, though that’s rare, with a bank card, or also with a fuel card. Using a business fuel card is very convenient and is almost the same as paying with a regular bank card.
But such a card offers much more. We list five advantages a fuel card can offer for the taxi driver:
1: Less time needed for bookkeeping Many self-employed taxi drivers have an appropriate disdain for doing their bookkeeping. Collecting and processing invoices and (fuel) receipts is a time-consuming task.
A business fuel card takes some of the work off your hands. Many accounting firms also recommend a fuel card to avoid disputes with HM Revenue & Customs.
Fuel costs are deductible, as is VAT Fuel costs are part of the vehicle expenses and are tax-deductible. VAT can also be reclaimed. But HMRC sets a strict condition: you must be able to prove it.
That means keeping fuel receipts, with the risk that you lose them. Considering an average refuelling session can quickly include £20 in VAT, it’s a shame if a self-employed taxi driver doesn’t receive this money back from HMRC.
A fuel card for taxis is a solution for this: you’ll receive a monthly invoice for all business travel expenses made with your taxi, including the paid VAT. You can use this invoice when submitting your VAT return.
2: Choosing between a universal fuel card or a brand-specific fuel card There are two types of fuel cards: a universal fuel card and a brand-specific fuel card. A universal fuel card typically costs a few pounds per month, while the brand-specific fuel card is often free.
For example, the Tango business fuel card from Q8-Tango (the Q8 Liberty card) is free, but it doesn’t allow for any additional services to be paid with the card.
The trend is that more and more services can be paid for with a business fuel card. For instance, the fuel card from fuelcard.co.uk offers the possibility to pay at car washes, parking spaces, and car parks, including those from Q-Park.
Paying tolls is also possible, which is particularly useful abroad. In the UK, few tolls are charged. Thanks to the monthly invoice, all business travel expenses are listed on one invoice, meaning there are even fewer individual invoices and receipts to keep.
There are more options – like roadside assistance – but every self-employed individual can put together a package for which they want to use the self-employed fuel card.
4: Cheaper refuelling with the help of apps If you have a self-employed fuel card, you’ll always pay the pump price when settling up. It’s beneficial to look for where you can refuel inexpensively.
Thankfully, there are apps that compare the fuel prices of the more than 4,200 fuel stations in the UK. On the fuel app page, you’ll find free apps, and we check whether the price listed in the app matches the daily pump price.
Most apps offer more features, such as parking and traffic information, which can be found in our overview.
5: Convenience serves the taxi driver with a business fuel card
Entrepreneurs like self-employed taxi drivers want as little administrative hassle as possible. Generally, self-employed individuals find administrative work and keeping receipts from refuelling or from the car park a waste of time.
Yet, this proof is necessary for submitting VAT returns and claiming vehicle expenses as deductions. The significant advantage of a business fuel card for self-employed individuals is the monthly consolidated invoice. It provides an overview of the incurred vehicle costs and the VAT paid.
Many entrepreneurs choose a fuel card for the convenience: with a card – issued in the name of the taxi company – a portion of business vehicle expenses are paid.
Collecting receipts is often seen by entrepreneurs as a waste of time. However, this proof is necessary for submitting VAT returns.
Business Fuel Card for Taxis? Above are the main five advantages of a business fuel card for taxis. The convenience of such a card makes the taxi profession just that bit more attractive.
You have the choice between a universal or brand-specific fuel card. To make an informed choice, check out the self-employed fuel card comparison table and apply for a fuel card online directly. It only takes a few minutes… hgv medical