If you've just launched your career as a cabbie, you need to know the ins and outs for success. Because a lot of people use cabs on a daily basis to get to work and get back home, especially in big cities, creating loyal customers who ask for you and leave good tips should be at the forefront of your mind. Here are eight guidelines to follow that will help you become the ultimate cab driver.
Know the City
Unless they request it, passengers don't want the scenic route. They want to get to their destination as quickly as possible. Even if you use a GPS, you should familiarize yourself with the back roads and shortcuts that even the latest software and satellites won't display on-screen. Your goal may not always be the shortest route, but rather the fastest way to get there, which means avoiding traffic. This is a skill that is sure to impress your passengers and drum up potential tips.
Go the Extra Mile
You don't want to take the circuitous route, but you definitely should go that extra mile when it comes to delivering quality service to your passengers. Get them as close as possible to the entrance, help them with their luggage, and warn them that their stop is ahead without slamming on the brakes and assuming they're paying attention. Also, keep a copy of the daily paper or a couple of magazines in the back seat. These may seem like little things to you, but your passengers will love you for this, and these things will go a long way toward making a few extra bucks.
Make Sure You Have Plenty of Change
A common complaint among cab riders is getting stuck with a cabbie that doesn't have change. This is often seen as a ploy to get a tip, and it really does nothing more than frustrate the customer. Remember, passengers don't always have exact change, especially if they're traveling. So it's up to you to be prepared for that.
Watch the Radio
Music appreciation is very subjective. Some people love music, and some don't. Some may only listen to classical or spiritual and hate everything in between. If your goal is to provide a smooth cab-riding experience, keep the radio off, keep the volume low or at a minimum, and filter music through the front speakers only. Some cities or companies require cabbies to let the passenger pick the station, so keep that in mind as well.
Obviously, you should be familiar with the laws in your city or state. But remember that refusing service to anyone based on race, religion, or destination is generally against the rules, and doing so could subject you to fines. There are situations, however, where refusing a fare is acceptable. For example, in New York City, you can refuse service if you already have a passenger or have responded to a hail at another location, if you are ending your shift, if the passenger is acting erratically or as though they are intoxicated, or if you have reasonable cause to believe that the passenger is in possession of something dangerous or that could damage your cab (this does not include things like mobility devices or service animals).
Keep Your Cab Clean
Comfort is key, and no one wants to climb inside a dirty car, especially when they're paying anywhere from $20–$30 per hour. Keep in mind that not all of your passengers will take their trash with them. And on days when the weather is bad, snow and slush can get tracked into the cab as well. But taking a moment several times a day to ensure the seat and floors are clean will make a positive impact on passenger satisfaction.
Give Out Business Cards
Get some business cards printed and hand them out to anyone and everyone you like. This is one area where you have complete and total freedom to pick and choose who gets a card. And when you play your cards right, you will get repeat customers who tip well.
Learn to Read People
This is last on the list, but it's probably the most valuable advice you'll get for being a great cabbie. Some of your passengers will want to talk, and others will just prefer to be left alone. It's in your best interest to learn how to read the cues. If you try to start a conversation and get short grunts as answers, that's generally a sign that the person wants peace and quiet. If you've just picked up a couple from the airport, and they're discussing what to see or where to eat first, ask them if they'd like a suggestion. If your customer strikes up a conversation, turn the radio off so you can hear them. Being able to read people will definitely pay off.
You can also observe the practices of companies like White Top Cab Company for more ideas.
Every year, I look forward to traveling to a nearby, mountain town for a much needed vacation. Whenever I visit this peaceful town, I love to spend the majority of my time outdoors. One of my favorite activities is hiking to waterfalls. Whenever I arrive at my destination, I’m always amazed at how beautiful the scenery is. Whenever I look at a waterfall, I feel totally calm. Besides gazing at waterfalls, I also like to dip my toes in cool, refreshing creeks. On this blog, I hope you will discover ways to make your next vacation less hectic and more peaceful. Enjoy!