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Are you planning to be a private-hire driver? If you are, here are 5 tips to help you stay ahead in the game. These tips come recommended by experienced drivers who are currently in the industry.
Since Uber was bought by Grab back in March, it may seem like there aren’t many choices when it comes to ride-hailing applications. However, you would be wrong. Besides Grab and Ryde, there are other ride-hailing apps such as Filo, TADA, and Kardi.
Don’t forget ride-hailing giant Go-Jek either. It was reported that the Indonesian startup will be entering the private-hire market in Singapore by the end of the month. That’s good news for riders, who are able to benefit from competition, and Private-Hire drivers, who can choose which company to drive for.
With so many ride-hailing companies in Singapore, there’s definitely going to be a huge demand for Private-Hire drivers over the next few years. So, for those who are looking to drive for one of the companies listed above, you should probably get your Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence (PDVL) or Taxi Driver’s Vocational Licence (TDVL) soon.
To help you stay ahead in the game, we asked several experienced private-hire drivers for their most valuable tips. These five tips will certainly be useful to new and soon-to-be Private Hire drivers.
1) Get a Fuel-Efficient Car
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This is especially important, as you can be covering up to a few hundred kilometres a day, depending on how many hours you are on the road.
Let’s say you cover around 300km a day, and the car you drive does around 10km/litre. That means your car would use around 30 litres of fuel a day. If your car uses around 12km/litre on the same distance covered, that’s 25 litres of fuel a day.
In the example above, the difference is five litres of petrol a day, which adds up to 25 litres if you drive five days a week. That works out to you saving about $50 at the pumps every week, which is a huge saving when you add up how often you are driving.
The fuel consumption numbers above are common among petrol-powered cars, but why not get a hybrid car instead? With hybrid cars, you can get fuel consumption numbers as good as 20km/litre. That’s double the savings at the pumps as compared to a car that does 10km/litre.
2) Get a Six-Seater Car for More Bookings
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Most cars on the road driving for ride-hailing purposes are four-seater cars (the number of seats don’t include the driver’s seat) like the Mazda 3 and Honda Vezel. But did you know that six-seater cars can get around 50% higher fares than regular four-seater cars?
With so many four-seater Private-Hire cars on the roads, it’s good to set yourself out from the pack with the availability of two extra seats for larger groups. However, six-seater bookings may come very rarely, so it’s best you make yourself available for both regular and six-seater bookings.
3) Get a New Car to Do GrabCar Plus (Grab Only)
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GrabCar Plus is a premium service launched by Grab a few months ago. It’s meant as an opportunity for Grab drivers to earn more and for passengers to enjoy a more luxurious ride as compared to the regular GrabCar service.
Listening to feedback from its passengers, Grab implemented the service with a few strict criteria. Only a few selected cars can be used in GrabCar Plus, with economical cars needing to be three-years-old or newer, and premium cars needing to be five-years-old or newer. The car also requires items like a tissue box, air freshener and a phone charging cable.
The drivers will also need to, among other things, be polite, help with heavy items like the passenger’s luggage and keep their cars extremely neat and tidy. In turn, their fares would be around 20% higher than the regular GrabCar services. They will also have better incentives and the option not to accept any GrabShare bookings.
4) Renting vs Buying
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Unless you already have a car of your own, you might be considering whether to buy or rent a car for the purpose of providing Private-Hire services. There are pros and cons to both options, but your decision should be based on your wants and needs.
With renting, you don’t have to pay for the maintenance of the car, just the rental, petrol and other miscellaneous expenses like going to the car wash. You also don’t have to worry about the depreciation of the car since it isn’t own by you.
But you do need to keep in mind that regardless of how many days a week you drive, you are still paying for the car. Many car rental companies do offer certain benefits and discounts, so do shop around and see which of them is best suited for you.
With buying, you need to deal with everything associated with purchasing a car in Singapore, from the Certificate of Entitlement to the depreciation. You will also need to buy a commercial car insurance to provide Private-Hire services. But of course, when you buy a car, it is yours and you will get a wider range of choices as compared to renting a car.
5) Have a Good Sense of Direction
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While the Global Positioning Position (GPS) system on your phone should lead you to the passenger’s destination, you can’t be overly reliant on it. The GPS signal can easily be lost, when you are driving through a tunnel, for example.
The pick-up point that shows up on the GPS could also slightly differ from where the rider is, especially when the pin doesn’t drop at the exact point the rider is waiting.
For instance, if a rider requests a ride from a small side road with several streets criss-crossing the area, the GPS could easily send the driver to the adjacent street because of a misplaced pin caused by an inaccurate GPS system on either the driver’s or rider’s phone.
Therefore, a good knowledge of Singapore roads is crucial. This is not only to avoid situations like the one above, but to also find alternative or faster routes to the passenger’s destination when the GPS can’t.
Do you have any tips of your own? Share them with us in the comments below.
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