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How much does a Taxi Driver earn?
The average taxi driver in the UK earns between £20,000 to £30,000 per year. The average rate of pay per hour for a UK-based taxi driver is between £9 to £15 per hour, with rates often going into the range of £18-£25 during certain periods, such as bank holidays and Saturday evenings.
How much a taxi driver earns will naturally depend on a number of factors, such as the hours they work, the region they operate in and where they get the majority of the work from (employer, mobile app, roadside hail downs, etc.). This piece will dive into British taxi driver earnings and breakdown salaries, tips, working hours and more.
If you'd like to compare taxi driver earnings to those of Uber drivers, we've put together a guide to how much you can earn while driving for Uber in the UK, so check that out.
To put this together, we’ve gathered data from the likes of the Economic Research Institute, the National Career Service, PayScale and more, as well as taking a unique look into the testimonies of cab drivers online with regards to their total net compensation—accounting for factors such as pay, tips and the cost of vehicle maintenance and insurance.
How much does a Taxi Driver earn in the UK?
Average taxi driver earnings in the UK range from £9-£15 hourly. Exactly how much they earn depends on a number of variables, such as how busy they are, the time and date (peak vs off-peak) and whereabouts they’re working.
Their actual take-home pay will also vary depending on the type of driver they are. Some cabbies are employed full-time by a company, and may even have their vehicle provided by the business. As an employee, the business will often take care of costs like insurance and fuel, resulting in these drivers retaining a comparatively high percentage of their income.
Most drivers are self-employed and may provide their services through local taxi companies or mobile applications like Uber or Bolt. In these cases, drivers will almost certainly be expected to provide their own insurance and cover their own fuel costs, which can significantly impact their net income. These drivers do, however retain the flexibility to work for whoever they want, whenever they like, and so may end up earning more on a daily/weekly basis than a driver who is fully employed by one firm. Drivers thinking about starting a taxi business could potentially earn even more, although there are additional expenses associated with operating a taxi fleet such as marketing expenses, office space, office equipment and additional insurance.
On the topic of net income, there are a number of costs associated with being a taxi/private hire driver that many new drivers fail to consider properly. It goes without saying that you’ll need a vehicle that meets the required specifications (for example, in London, there are emissions restrictions on how much CO2 your vehicle produces). On top of this, you’ll need the correct taxi licence and the appropriate taxi insurance before you even start working, and that’s to say nothing of your fuel costs and vehicle maintenance.
|Costs of becoming a taxi driver|
|Application Process (Licencing, skills assessment, DBS certificate, etc.)||£500-£600|
|Weekly fuel costs||£85-£115|
|Weekly maintenance costs||£50-£100|
Fuel/maintenance cost data taken from the Taxi Driver Survey
If your insurance costs are especially high—say you’re a younger or less experienced driver—then your weekly expenditure could easily be over £200 per week, so it’s important to consider beforehand whether or not taxi driving can be a profitable venture for you.
Some drivers choose to avoid expensive annual insurance policies, instead opting for a top-up insurance like the one offered by Zego. Costs can be as low as £1 per hour, and you only pay while you’re on the clock, so aren’t being charged when you don’t need the cover. Do be careful, however—there are a number of concerns about the validity of top-up vehicle insurance, so make sure to check with your insurer beforehand.
How much can Taxi Drivers earn UK?
Taxi drivers in the UK can earn upwards of £30,000 per year. Many of the UK’s cab drivers are self-employed, and so paid by the hour/day—meaning they’re free to work (and earn) as much as they like.
The average taxi driver in the UK is paid between £9-£15 hourly. Those at the lower end of the scale would likely need to work an exhausting 60+ hour week in order to crack the £30,000 mark annually. Those at the top end, however, who perhaps pick their hours more tactically by focusing on busy regions and peak time slots could comfortably earn over £30,000 in a much more reasonable 38-45 hour working week.
|Average hourly earnings||Weekly hours required to earn £30,000|
|£8.72 (UK Minimum Wage)||66|
How much do London taxi drivers earn?
A London taxi driver, on average, will earn between £12-£18 hourly. Increased demand levels from the large and busy London population, combined with the higher costs of doing anything in the capital, means London-based taxi drivers earn 20%-40% more than their fellow cabbies outside of the capital.
Glassdoor even estimates that drivers in the London Area take home around £35,000 per year—45% more than their estimation of the average pay for taxi drivers across the UK. However, this may be a reflection of London-based drivers working longer hours or taking advantage of London’s generous peak tariffs than them earning that much more on an hourly basis than other drivers.
How much does a Taxi Driver earn in Belfast?
Belfast-based taxi drivers take home between £8-£11 hourly. This is around 8% lower than the rest of the UK. The average annual pay for a taxi driver in Belfast is between £18,000-£20,000, meaning a typical working week for a cabbie in Belfast is between 30-45 hours.
How much do Taxi Drivers earn in Aberdeen?
Taxi drivers in Aberdeen earn £8-£11 per hour. From their work as a taxi driver, they’ll take home between £950-£1,200 per month, meaning an average working week for them is made up of between 25-40 hours. Drivers in Aberdeen make considerably less on average than their Glasgow-based counterparts, who take home over £600 more in a typical month.
Taxi Driver earnings in Manchester UK
Taxi drivers in Manchester make an average of £1,400-£1,600 per month. Hourly, their average rate is between £10-£14, naturally depending on the number of journeys they make and distances travelled. Drivers in Manchester typically earn less than a number of their fellow drivers around the UK, with earnings below those found in comparable cities like London, Newcastle and Birmingham.
How much does a Private Hire Taxi Driver earn?
Private hire drivers in the UK earn between £9-£20 hourly. How much they earn on any given day will naturally depend on the type of work they do and how busy they are. Some of the UK's more executive/luxury private hire drivers will easily push north of £20 hourly, whereas drivers for private hire apps like Uber are more likely to be found at the lower end of the scale, often under £10 per hour.
How do Taxi Drivers pay tax?
Taxi drivers are typically classified as one of two employment statuses in the UK. Some drivers are fully employed by businesses, meaning their National Insurance and Income Tax will likely be automatically deducted by their employer. For these drivers, tax isn’t much of an issue—most of it is sorted for them.
However, the majority of taxi/private hire drivers in the UK are considered self-employed, meaning they’re required to submit a self-assessment form each year to pay their tax. How much exactly a taxi driver is required to pay will depend on their weekly/monthly earnings—HMRC’s useful self-employed income tax and National Insurance calculator is a great resource if you’d like to see how much tax you can expect to pay in a year.
Do Taxi Drivers pay for their own petrol/gas?
Many taxi drivers are required to cover the cost of their petrol or gas. Whether or not they’re required to depends on the policy of the company they work for. While some businesses will cover the costs of things like petrol or vehicle maintenance, many drivers are considered self-employed, and so are required to cover their own expenses.
If they’re driving for an app like Uber, then they’ll absolutely have to cover their own fuel—a cost that catches many new drivers out, as busy weeks can easily see them spending over £100 on petrol or diesel.
Do Taxi Drivers get sick pay?
As many of the UK’s taxi drivers are considered self-employed, they are not eligible for benefits like sick pay or paid leave. Some companies do offer benefits for their drivers in the event of an accident or illness, however. Uber, for example, offer £75 per day for drivers (for up to 15 days) if they’re required to take more than 7 days off of work as a result of a severe illness or bodily injury.
Offering illness/injury benefits is by no means a requirement, and is one of the risks of being self-employed. If you are a taxi driver and are worried about how you might cover your bills in the event of medium/long-term issue that keeps you off of work, we’d recommend considering a form of personal accident insurance.
How much tax does a Taxi Driver pay?
A self-employed taxi driver with earnings of £25,000 would pay just over £4,000 in combined yearly taxes and Class 2/4 National Insurance contributions.
Taxi Driver National Insurance contributions
|National Insurance contributions|
|Class 2 (if annual earnings are above £6,475)||£3.05 per week (flat rate)|
|Class 4 (if annual earnings are above £9,501)||9% of annual earnings above £9,500|
Using this table, a taxi driver earning £25,000 would pay £3.05 x 52 weeks (£158.60) in Class 2 NI Contributions. Then, they would have £15,500 (£25,000 take away £9,500) left to pay Class 4 NI Contributions, for a total of £1,395. Therefore, their combined Class 2/Class 4 NI contributions would be £1,553.60.
Taxi Driver Income Tax
|0%||£0 to £12,500|
|20%||£12,501 to £50,000|
|40%||£50,001 to £150,000|
Using this table from the Money Advice Service, a taxi driver earning £25,000 would pay no income tax on their initial £12,500, leaving £12,500 to be taxed at a rate of 20%, resulting in a final annual income tax bill of £2,500.
Do Uber drivers earn more than taxi drivers?
This is entirely circumstantial. A busy Uber driver would likely earn more per day than a taxi driver with very few customers, and similarly, a busy taxi driver would probably earn more than an Uber driver who isn’t offered any trips due to lack of demand.
Overall, whether or not it’s better to be an Uber driver or a traditional taxi driver will depend on your local area and who is hiring at the time. If the demand is there for Uber drivers, it can be a great option, especially during Uber’s surge pricing periods. However, if Uber isn’t overly popular in your local area (or perhaps isn’t even available at all) then you’ll definitely be better off contacting some local cab companies and seeing if there are any vacancies.