If you make your living as a taxi driver, your car is your pride and joy. And this is no surprise — on average, 22% of taxi drivers clock up 35,000 miles each year. If you’ve been in the same car for a few years, and have begun noticing other drivers with newer models, then maybe it’s time you treat yourself to an upgrade.
However, it isn’t always feasible to buy a brand new car, especially with medium-sized vehicles costing anywhere between £21,000 and £32,000. These high prices may put you off, but fortunately, there are a number of financing options available. Most notably, you can apply for a rent to buy scheme, giving you the chance to spend a little less on your car by spreading the cost out over a few years.
What is rent to buy?
Investing in a rent to buy scheme helps you purchase a new car by paying a small deposit and installments every month. Although you won’t own the car straight away, it will be yours after a few years of making payments. However, if you want to own one more quickly, companies also provide rent to buy options for second-hand cars, which give you the same benefits for less expensive vehicles.
You’ll usually need a good credit score in order to be accepted onto these schemes. Typically, a credit score over 700 is considered satisfactory, however, it depends on each company’s policy. You may still be accepted with a lower credit score, but be charged a higher interest rate in return.
Why choose to rent to buy?
Rent to buy means saving you from having to fork out a large upfront cost and drain your bank account as you would when buying a car from a dealership. This makes the scheme perfect for taxi drivers who want a new car, but can’t pay for one in one lump sum.
Breaking the payments down into weekly installments are also pretty reasonable, costing as little as £250 a week. As London taxi drivers earn an average of £859 a week, this will still give them money to play around with, and the rental costs also cover servicing and insurance, so there’ll be no additional costs to worry about. Rent to buy schemes also make it possible to get a car extremely quickly. Sometimes you can rent one from the day you apply, allowing you to instantly start driving and earn your money back.
Many companies offering rent to buy programs take taxi drivers into account. All rent to buy cars available through HireBrid, for example, are Uber-ready and come with PCO licenses as standard. Also known as the private hire driver license, PCO is provided by TfL and allows you to go about your business as normal—without one, you won’t legally be able to operate as a taxi driver.
Luckily, applying for a PCO-licensed car means that this paperwork is all pre-arranged, so you won’t have to waste time applying for one yourself. These costs will also be covered in your monthly payments, leaving you safe in the knowledge that your car will be ready to go from the moment you choose it.
Which car should you get?
One of the most popular cars for taxi drivers is the Toyota Prius, a hybrid vehicle which combines the standard diesel or petrol engine with an electric motor. Unlike fully electric cars, a hybrid has an internal combustion system to fall back on should your electricity supply reach a low level, which is geared towards saving fuel and helping the environment. A car like this is great if you’re an Uber driver because Uber’s clean air plan aims for all London cars on their app to be fully electric by 2025, making a hybrid vehicle a step in the right direction. Cars in hybrid mode reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15-30%, compared to conventional diesel or petrol car.
If you’re an Uber driver, your car must meet the company’s vehicle requirements, so it must be a model from 2008 or later if you wish to drive in the capital, or at least a 2006 model elsewhere in the UK. It must also have four doors and no commercial branding.