How do I Become a Cab Driver?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 30 August 2019
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The first thing to note if you want to become a cab driver is that licensing requirements can vary widely between different countries as well as in cities within the same country. For instance, in North America getting a license to drive a taxicab is usually a fairly speedy process, while in the United Kingdom much more extensive training and exams are often required. A permit separate from a regular driver's license is typically needed everywhere for those who wish to commercially transport paying customers.

In New York City, a government-issued permit known informally as a hack license, is needed to become a cab driver. A few days worth of classes in defensive driving and coverage of routes, bridges and the different neighborhoods within the five separate areas, or boroughs, plus passing an exam is usually required. New York is famous for its yellow cabs, which belong to or are associated with one of the world's oldest and largest cab companies. The Yellow Taxicab Company was incorporated in New York in 1912 and became based in Chicago in 1915. Franchises and co-operatives of the Yellow Taxicab Company, with drivers working as independent contractors, are found in many cities throughout North America and Australia.


If you want to become a cab driver in any city, read and keep up to date on its maps as well as major construction projects. If you have knowledge of alternate route options in case of road closures, you can still get clients to where they want to go. Make sure you take the shortest route possible or let your customers know if the trip will be longer, as their cost will be increased. Providing considerate service can help increase your tips, which, as in other service occupations, may considerably add to your base income. Unlike service jobs such as waiters, however, you probably won't be an employee who is paid on a per hour basis.

You're likely to be an independent contractor if you become a cab driver, and this requires you to be productive each work shift because rather than receiving hourly pay, your income is based on the fares you get for the day. Independent contractors pay their own taxes and aren't an employee of any company. Having regular fares, such as people who need taxi service on set days and times can help you create some steady income. Otherwise, you may have busy driving days as well as slow ones. Since you'll only be earning money when you're actually driving, learn to be where customers in your city will be likely to need your taxi services at any given time, such as at theaters, concert halls, airports and train stations.


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