Becoming a chauffeur. Your guide through the process

Prestige Chauffeurs Limited > Chauffeur > Becoming a chauffeur. Your guide through the process

Before you can chauffeur clients you have to obtain all the correct licenses. Legislation means chauffeurs are treated in law as private hire drivers, with the licensing and enforcement left to councils across the UK, or Transport for London in the capital.

Each local council have their own set of rules based on national legislation,. There are basic legal requirements to become a licensed chauffeur, for example certain background checks and a medical, but everything after that a council can decide.

As we are based in Bury we will highlight the rules laid down by Bury council. Today, as of June 2019, to become a chauffeur in Bury, you will have to complete the following tasks. The first section includes everything you are required to do, prior to filing an application form for a private hire licence.

Pre- application

Firstly, and in no particular order you will have to obtain a class 2 medical, the same as a HGV driver. Depending on your own personal doctor’s practice this is chargeable, roughly between £100 to £200.

Second, you will be required to obtain a DBS check, a standard is okay if you don’t have certain contracts with the council, but it is advisable to obtain an advanced one for the small difference in cost. The cost for this varies , but is around £65.00 ,with an additional £13.00 per year for the online DBS subscription service.

The third requirement you will have to provide certificates of GCSE, GCE, Functional Skills Level 1 or 2 in English or ESOL certificate at Level 1 or 2; and GCSE, GCE or Functional Skills Level 1 or 2 in maths. If you do not hold these qualifications or cannot prove you did, you will need to pass a Communication and Numeracy skills assessment.  This costs around £32.00, but they are not comparable to aforementioned qualifications. If you can speak English and able to do basic math, for example you charge a fare of £7.00, the customer gives you £10.00, tells you to take £1.00 as a tip, how much change do you give them, you will pass.

For the fourth requirement you will be required to provide proof that you have passed a practical driving assessment for taxi drivers with one of the councils approved driver training companies. The cost for this is roughly £80.00 at the time of publication.

Fifth requirement is to complete a safeguarding course which is designed to raise awareness of safeguarding in order to protect taxi drivers and their passengers. There is a short test at the end of the course you are required to pass, but as long turn up, passing the course shouldn’t be a problem. Again, there is a cost for this course and it’s around £35.00 and it takes a couple of hours to complete.

Filing your application

Once you have completed all these pre-application requirements which will cost you between £300.00 to £400.00, you can then submit your completed private hire drivers application form. The application fee is an additional £231.00 but includes the fee for the final requirement a local knowledge test.

The knowledge test is very basic in comparison to the famous London taxi knowledge test, which takes years to learn and pass. With Bury Council you will have to have a basic local knowledge and be able to quote street names when answering questions on getting between two points. You will be able to download a training pack which will highlight routes you need to learn.

Also, on the application form you will need to disclose your share code to your driving licence, enabling the council access to your current and historic driving record with the DVLA. Furthermore, you be required to disclose personal tax information confirming you are registered for tax in the UK, along with proof of your right to live and work in the UK.

Having completed all of the above at a total cost of around £530.00 to £630.00, you will be granted a private hire drivers licence. This process can take a number of months, especially with restricted places available for a lot of the courses, which don’t run daily.

Being a chauffeur is a great job. You get to meet a wide-range of people, travel across the UK and everyday is different. On the downside, hours can be unsociable, you can have a lot of waiting around and your plans can be affected when flights are significantly delayed. While the above may look daunting to those entering the industry for the first time, it is worth it in the end.

Each council will have their own set of pre-application requirements, some less, some more, but it is important to note that wherever you obtain your private hire drivers licence from, its not transferrable and you can only work for a company with a matching vehicle and operators licence. For example, if you are licensed in Wolverhampton as a driver your vehicle must also be licensed here, along with your operators licence.

For more information on the application process with Bury Council you can click the link below.

Apply to become a chauffeur with Bury Council – Private Hire Application

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