Once you have a driver’s badge (licence), you then need to insure your car. It is not the same as normal car insurance! You need to approach a private hire specialist because of carrying passengers and requiring public liability cover. It can cost up to seven times as much as a normal policy but with experience and no claims discounts it can drop to around £1,000 a year.
Next the vehicle will need to be licensed by a local authority (each has their own rules and conditions, such as an MOT twice a year). Some demand a vehicle has private hire plates attached and others allow them to be removed (with permission). Last but not least, the vehicle and driver need to be registered with an Operator. They also require a police check, a registered address and references before any bookings.
With licences in place, you are ready to start work as a driver. Before turning up for your first job though, you might want to carry some equipment in your vehicle. A chauffeur will often have call for:
- Mobile phone (with Internet access)
- Phone charger or spare phone
- A-Z maps, road Atlas and satellite navigation system
- Mints, chewing gum or boiled sweets
- Carpet brush, wipes, kitchen roll and glass cleaner
- Umbrella and a torch
- Toll road tags, car park concession card or restricted area pass
- Tyre pressure gauge, tyre pump and a wheel-nut breaker bar
- Breakdown cover and membership card (you never know!)
- Change of underwear (in case you go on a long journey at short notice)
- A small amount of change, receipts and possibly a credit card terminal
- First aid kit, fire extinguisher, rope and disposable gloves
Some drivers will also have ways to entertain themselves if they have waiting time on jobs. Some chauffeurs read a book, some watch a film, others browse the Internet, some listen to an MP3 or even play a game. Now that your vehicle is equipped, all that is left is to ensure it is clean, taxed and in good condition. You can then start to think about your first passenger and the route.