Driving business popularly known as a cab, taxi or public transport business in Nigeria is fast becoming one of the most demanding businesses in Nigeria.

You can accredit this to the lack of jobs currently in the country due to the failure of the government. But we know that someday God will lift this captivity away from the country.

One thing that is loved about this business is that it doesn’t differentiate between graduates from undergraduates or educated from not educated. As long as you can drive you can do this business be it male or female.

Talking about driving, please don’t be like those that think driving is all about putting your gear on Drive and you are good to go because it is automatic.

My advice, if you know you haven’t driven a real car before not in games or imagination, please go and learn in a reputable driving school. “Don’t go and kill somebody’s pikin oh!”

And as a graduate, I wonder why you still apply for jobs that pay less than 200k when you can make as much as 300k monthly from this taxi business.

I am by no means telling you that being an employee is bad, but why take that path? when being your own boss is more convenient and lucrative lately.

In the past, the question commonly asked in this business is; “how can I be getting regular customers who need my taxi services?”.

Since the introduction of ride-sharing companies like Uber, Bolt, Ogataxi, Ola cab, Rideme, Pamdrive, Easy Taxi, etc in the transportation business, getting customers also known as riders, are now as easy as selling ice cream “everybody loves the ice-cream seller”

In this article, I will take you through the rudiment of starting a cab taxi business in Nigeria, the dos and don’ts of the business, and how you can make 300k monthly.

What is Needed to Start a Cab Taxi Business in Nigeria

There are only two basic things that are needed before you start a cab taxi business in Nigeria.

  1. A good car
  2. You must know how to drive

I intentionally use the adjective “Good”. That is to say, not all cars are required in this business.

Mostly if you intend to become a driver with a ride-hailing company like Uber or Bolt which happens to be the top ride-hailing company in Nigeria.

And because they are both top companies in this ride-sharing tax industry I will center my article around their criteria. 

As a potential driver for a ride-hailing company like Bolt, Uber, or others, there are must things you must know before officially joining their platforms.

6 things you must know before driving for Bolt or Uber

1. Your Car

Your Uber and Bolt car

I know every driver wants the best fancy car to run this business. But the truth is; nobody cares about the kind of car you use in this business apart from the ride-hailing standard car requirement for the business.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a good-looking car.

The reason why I made this number one on the list is because of the demand for Toyota Corolla or cars above 2 million Niara by new drivers.

When you see a potential young man who desires to go into this business but has no car, he will be surprised when you tell him; “have you considered Honda cars? Some can cost as low as 1,000,000 to 1,700,000 naira with good looking features both in and out”

His response will always look surprising because he thinks a car worth below 2 million Naira is not worthy enough for him to use in this business.

He is totally wrong because a Hond Civic car that costs 1,200,000 Naira can serve the same purpose as the other cars that cost more than 2 million.

In essence what am saying is, the type of car you use in this business really doesn’t matter, except if you have an interior motive of showing off or chasing after women which really is a bad idea because you are mixing pleasure with business.

You can know more about affordable cars that are accepted by Bolt, Uber, and other ride-sharing companies.

But note that, Uber accepts cars made from 2000 upward while Bolt accepts cars made in 2003. And it must be at least 4 seats (3 at the back and 1 at the front) with 4 doors of course.

2. Negotiation

Negotiate

As a driver, you must always know when to negotiate.

Negotiation in this business goes beyond money. I know when you saw “negotiate,” you thought I was talking about money.

Though money is involved. But what is money when your car becomes bad enough not to start at all?

Talking about negotiation; in a situation when you go pick up a rider and it happens that the street where the rider is, is bad, not just bad, it is not motorable enough for your car to go in and come out the same.

You must have to negotiate for the rider to trek out that street. Likewise when you are to drop a rider off. “Because leg nor get shock absorber”. A word they say is enough for the wise.

Also when it happens that the rider’s load is more than the normal hand luggage please charge for the extra loads.

What I mean is, in a situation where the rider tells you to go carry a bag of garri, a bag of rice, or other very heavy items that look out of proportion, please always negotiation because those items are not allowed by Bolt or Uber and I believe other ride-hailing companies don’t accept such heavy loads too.

In Negotiating let your price be reasonable like N500 naira additional depending on the situation you find yourself in.

And please don’t load your car beyond what the car can take, if not you will spend more than the extra charge you got from the rider in repairing your car.

One other thing you must negotiate is when you notice the passengers are more than 4 ( one at the front, three at the back).

3. Your Ratings 

Bolt and Uber star rating

I believe if you have ever used a ride-hailing app as a rider you must have seen or heard when the driver says; “please rate me at the end of the trip”.

When dealing with these ride-sharing apps the ratings you get affects your visibility to riders who need rides. Mostly when you are in a location where there are many drivers waiting for a rider’s request.

Apart from the advantage of having a good rating to keep you ahead of the competitors around, the disadvantage of having a bad rating is that; “you will find it difficult to see riders’ requests and probably get blocked by the ride-hailing app if it continues.

So by all means keep your rating high. And this you can do by being polite and at the same time being truthful mostly when it comes to starting the trip and choosing your route.

Emphasis on the route; Some drivers purposely like to take traffic jam routes just so the bill may increase in their favor not knowing that they are even the ones losing more or likely to even lose all.

Because apart from the bad rating, Riders can also report Drivers resulting in drivers being suspended or blocked from using the app.

To know more about the Bolt and Uber Ratings check this article: How to get 5 stars in Uber/Bolt

4. Emotion/pleasure

Never mix emotion or pleasure with business.

There have been cases where a male driver takes a female rider and the female rider will want to play smart by requesting to pay in kind.

I know a man’s soul will always love that kind of adventure but I advise; if you indeed intend to make it huge from this business never mix pleasure with business.

On the side of your emotions, never expect anything from your riders.

And don’t become an errand boy to any rider because you feel when he pays you for the offline job all the money goes to you without paying the usual percentage to the ride-sharing company.

You are safer online than offline. The reason is that there is an insurance policy that covers you when you are only online.

Like the case that happened in Lagos sometime last year where the driver was killed and his car stolen.

The ride-hailing app he registered with which happens to be Bolt, came out to say;

“That particular ride the driver was on when the incident happened was an offline ride and as such there is nothing they can do because there is no insurance policy that covers offline rides.”

So please for your own good and the good of those around you, always stay online it is better than offline

5. You can be a Part-Time driver

One thing that is also loved about this business is the fact that you can actually be a banker during the week and run your cab business on weekends without hurting anybody’s feelings.

Driving is so much fun and you get to meet different people with different ideologies and sometimes different races (White, Asian, Blacks, Hispanic, and so on).

6. Rest

This one is for full-time riders. Please learn to rest, not just you but also your car needs it.

You are to set a daily target for yourself either in income earned or in the number of rides (like 20 rides if they are short distance or 10 rides if they are long-distance)

Whichever rest formula you use is ok. What is important is that you rest.

And always service your car when due, so it won’t disappoint you while on duty.

Now that you know the things you should know before engaging in this business it is also important to know things you shouldn’t do.

5 Things Uber/Bolt drivers should NEVER DO

Just as you have learned of the things you must know and do before driving for a ride-hailing company, it is also important to know the things you shouldn’t do as it might be a lifesaver in this business.

1. Never pick up strangers after the close of work

Some drivers are very fond of doing such because they want to make up for gas money, as though if they use part of the money they have made during work hours it will affect their car or life.

Just for greed, they feel that the extra money gotten from picking up strangers mostly from the bus stop is kind of special and meant to be spent on things like fuel or food.

I advise you don’t do that as the person you are carrying might be a criminal or into some fraudulent activity that might implicate you if you are stopped by police officers.

So it is not advisable and shouldn’t be done by you mostly if you are a starter in this cab business. The risk outway the gain.

2. Never engage in fraudulent acts

As a driver, you get to meet other drivers whose only motive in doing business is extortion because they are naturally greedy and selfish.

The fraudulent activities they normally do is by starting the trip before the rider arrives so the money at the end of the trip can increase to their own advantage.

Another fraudulent act still carried out by these greedy and self-centered drivers is by playing smart with new riders who are less literate on how the ride-sharing app operates.

There is only one end to all these fraudulent acts: “bad ratings and negative reports from riders.”

In the end, the money made through these fraudulent acts will be way lesser than the money made because your account will be deactivated by the ride-sharing company.

This tells us that it pays more to be honest and true than to be a crook.

3. Never accept worthless offline trips

As I have said before, it is better to always stay online. I know some drivers will tell you how they are being booked for an all-day offline trip.

It might bring you good pay to run these offline trips because you don’t pay the needed percent to the ride-sharing company. But the risk doesn’t worth it as you won’t be able to calculate your wait time and your trip distance.

Another major risk about offline trips is the non-insurance policy that covers you. Meaning if anything happens to you, “as it has happened to drivers who ran offline trips in the past”, the ride-sharing company won’t be responsible for your loss.

But if you know the rider too well and you feel the person is offering a good deal you can accept, but to run an offline trip with a random person is a no, no, as the risk is just too enormous.

4. Never depend on your car as a means of livelihood

Depending on your car as the sole means of livelihood is something you shouldn’t do as you could wreck your car faster.

So please let this cab taxi business be your side hustle.

Or if this is your first business, then I recommend you set a daily rides target for yourself and get another side hustle for yourself that can complement the main hustle which is your cab business.

For side hustle ideas check these articles:

5. Never Stop Learning

One amazing thing about this business is that you are your own boss and you can choose your own spare time.

But what you should be doing with your spare time is to continue updating your knowledge. Because there are many skills to learn both online and offline that can fetch you good cash even more than this cab business.

It is he who learns that stays relevant.

I advise you to learn more about digital knowledge as it can easily be compatible with this line of business.

Challenges of Cab Taxi Business

Here are the challenges that befall the cab taxi business in Nigeria:

  1. Infrastructure Issues: Inconsistent road conditions, traffic congestion, and a lack of well-maintained infrastructure pose challenges for taxi operators. Poor road networks lead to increased maintenance costs and longer travel times.
  2. Security Concerns: Security challenges, including theft, vandalism, and personal safety concerns for both drivers and passengers, impact the smooth operation of a taxi business. Implementing security measures and collaborating with local law enforcement is necessary.
  3. Fuel Price Volatility: Fluctuations in fuel prices significantly impact operating costs for taxi businesses. Sudden increases in fuel prices eat into profit margins and make it challenging to maintain competitive pricing.
  4. Competition with Informal Transportation: Informal transportation services, such as motorcycle taxis (okadas) and tricycles (keke napep), create intense competition for formal taxi services. Informal services sometimes operate without regulatory constraints, affecting the market dynamics.
  5. Regulatory Challenges: Taxi businesses often face regulatory challenges, including obtaining the necessary permits and licenses. Compliance with local and state regulations, as well as the evolving regulatory landscape, can be complex and time-consuming. Apart from the taxi business which often faces these regulatory challenges, the ride-hailing industry also faces vehicle income tax which has a direct impact on drivers’ profits.
  6. Technology Adoption: Integrating and keeping up with technology, such as mobile apps for booking and payment, can be a challenge. Taxi businesses need to invest in and adapt to technological advancements to remain competitive and meet customer expectations.
  7. Insurance Costs: The cost of insurance for taxis is relatively high, and obtaining comprehensive coverage is essential. Insurance costs can impact the overall profitability of the business.
  8. Driver Recruitment and Retention: Attracting and retaining skilled and reliable drivers can be a challenge. Driver turnover, recruitment costs, and ensuring driver compliance with company policies require ongoing attention.
  9. Economic Factors: Economic downturns and fluctuations in the local economy affect consumer spending on transportation services. A decrease in disposable income can lead to reduced demand for taxi services.
  10. Traffic Congestion: Traffic congestion, especially in urban areas, result in longer travel times and increased fuel consumption. It also affects the efficiency of taxi operations and impact customer satisfaction.
  11. Customer Service Challenges: Maintaining consistently high levels of customer service can be challenging. Addressing customer complaints, ensuring cleanliness and comfort in vehicles, and responding to changing customer preferences are ongoing considerations.

Cab article series

Conclusion

Taxi business is very profitable in Nigeria as you can make up to 20k per day from rides when you sign up with the top ride-hailing companies such as; bolt and Uber.

Let’s do a little calculation on how you can make 300k from the cab taxi business in Nigeria; let’s say you set your daily target on 10k.

If multiplied by 30days it becomes: 10,000 X 30days = N300,000

That is how easy it is to make 300k monthly from this business. And with the help of ride-hailing services, you can hit your daily target before 12 noon every single day.

I hope you enjoyed this article: “How to Start a Profitable Cab Taxi Business in Nigeria”

If you have questions or contributions please leave them in the comment section

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7 Comments

    1. All cities in the trpical region and only the business-centered city in the savannah region

  1. What if u have a car but don’t have driver will uber provide u driver and how much can u make if u are car owners by not driver

    1. uber is a ride-hailing company not a driver linking company. You will be the one to find a driver and bargain with him or her

    1. with the current inflation, you will need to add an extra 500k to make it 2m to get a good Nigeria-used Toyota Corolla

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