As a private hire driver, you will often have the luxury of choosing your own shifts to fit around your life. If you are lucky enough to have some flexibility with your employer then you may be able to choose as many or as few shifts as you want, assuming of course that you are not exceeding the recommended number of driving hours.

Which is most profitable?

Like any other driver you were probably looking for shifts that will be busy in order to maximise your income. There are periods of the week that are busier than others. Early morning and evening tend to be busy with commuters to and from work or from railway stations and airports, although the traffic during these time periods can be challenging.

During the weekend, Friday and Saturday night are busy picking up and dropping off customers who are going out for the evening. On bank holidays, don’t forget that Sunday evening will usually be busier than normal as well.

Is it all about the money?

The downside to working on a Friday or Saturday evening is that you are likely to be driving customers who have consumed large amounts of alcohol and even drugs and may become aggressive. These passengers can be more unpredictable, and the mood can change very quickly. Your response to them can help or hinder a situation so do try to remain polite and calm but firm. It can also be helpful to have cameras fitted to your car in case of any tricky situations. Ensure you have good private hire insurance as well. Your PCO insurance should cover public liability. Unfortunately, there is also a greater risk of soiling in your taxi if people have had too much to drink or finding it difficult to communicate with people who are asleep or too drunk to notice. You will also need to be prepared to work quite late into the night to make the most of the busy period.

Are you offered incentives?

Sometimes if you work as a private hire driver you will find that there are incentives to encourage drivers to work at certain times of the day. Whilst most drivers will choose the busy periods to work their shifts, you may find that it is worth working during a quieter period if your employer offers you more money or bonuses for working at quiet times. This has the added incentive of being less busy whilst at work. Many drivers find the graveyard shift during the night particularly tricky because whilst you will tend to be very quiet, you will probably also feel very tired.

Now you know which shifts will affect how much you earn, you’ll be in a much better position to find the working hours that are right for you.