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Business lessons from a cabbie

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Business lessons from a cabbie

Post by Aftab on Wed 14 Jan 2009 - 17:20

Business lessons from a cabbie
Steve Lazarus plies his trade around London’s west end.

He lives in Southend and makes the long journey into the capital every day in his Hackney Carriage, picking up wealthy professionals and drunken clubbers who are too posh or wasted to face public transport.

Here are his lessons from the lamp-lit streets of London town:

Ignorance is bliss

“Never discuss the price of a fare when it’s in your favour,” says Lazarus. “Just get them in the back and drive.”

It’s a shrewd strategy. Most cabbie’s have a little book in the front with an approximate fare from the west end to almost anywhere. But if your customer knew how much it would cost them, they might think twice about the ride.

Not the most ethical way to do business, but if you provide a service, just let the pounds notch up…

Choose the road less travelled

You’d think that it’s in a taxi driver’s best interests to haunt heavily populated areas like Soho and Piccadilly Circus for fares. You’d be wrong.

“The problem with driving up and down Oxford Street is that every other cab is doing exactly the same thing,” says Lazarus. “You really want to head for the back streets where people get lost, or bored waiting for buses. The places that other cabs don’t think to go.”

Even cabbies have their niches, have you found yours?

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

“I give reduced rates to a handful of people who book me in advance,” says Lazarus.

This may sound obvious, but there’s an additional boon for this cabbie: his bookings are from Southend to London and back – i.e. he gets paid for driving into, and home from, work.

“I make less money than if I’d picked up an on-the spot-fare,” he says. “But chances are that fare might not have turned up. Better to have something than nothing.”

Have a free lunch

Lazarus says, “I take a cooked meal out with me rather than eating out in restaurants. It saves me around 8 a day. That’s one night’s diesel.”

Duncan Bannatyne echoes this point in his lessons for entrepreneurs. Between the Dragon and the cabbie, it’s time to beat the credit crunch with a packed lunch.

Cover your back

“If you’re a cabbie, do not leave home without belonging to the AA,” says Lazarus. “It costs a fortune to get towed when you breakdown: 200 from Heathrow to London.”

If you haven’t insured the things that are integral to your business’ survival, do it now: “It’s not ‘if I break down’,” explains the cabbie, “It’s ‘when’.”

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Re: Business lessons from a cabbie

Post by tony on Wed 14 Jan 2009 - 18:03

different ball game to lads sat about on ranks here init?


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Re: Business lessons from a cabbie

Post by stf on Sat 17 Jan 2009 - 6:26

tony wrote:different ball game to lads sat about on ranks here init?
How would you know? Have you ever been a cab driver sport?


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