How to start an Airport transfer (taxi) service business in Kenya- guide
Airport transfer (taxi) service business is a good venture or side hustle if you have the right strategy. You would be interested in venturing into the taxi business specifically operating at the airports and you do not have enough capital or experience.
This guide may help you.
First things first.
You cannot operate a taxi business without a vehicle. Access to a clean, functional car is the first step.
This does not mean you have to own it yourself.
There are many people including your friends or relatives with cars they do not use as such or they use it just to take them to work and back.
So you can enter into an arrangement with them and hire it.
As you will soon realize, investing in your own car is the easiest part of the business.
There are many people who took loans and invested in taxi business either through the hailing services and now their cars do not have jobs.
Licensing and insurance
The second thing to worry about is licensing and insurances.
Airports are highly protected areas and therefore you cannot dodge the government officials.
Messing with airport police will cost you an arm and a leg in terms of fines and penalties.
Your car must have PSV stickers and that means you have to have gone to inspections as well as insurance.
I would recommend comprehensive insurance as you need to protect your guests as well as their luggage.
Airport transfer service is more profitable than operating in any other areas due to the nature of guests.
Mostly will be an inbound tourist and you can then charge a premium.
Expenses like parking fees must be also factored in.
It is important you subscribe to the card one as it is cheaper than to pay each time you enter the airport.
However, due to this fact, the competition is very stiff.
You might end up not ferrying a single passenger even after two days.
The scenario has been made worse by the hailing service that charges a fraction of the fares.
Most Airport taxis are organized in Sacco through which they negotiate for space at the airports where they will be able to easily get visitors.
The Kenya Airport Authority does not allow soliciting for visitors at the airports by unlicensed drivers.
This means you will need to enrol yourselves to a registered Sacco, which will also be an initial expense.
It is important to understand the operations of airports.
It is very vital to know the peak and off-peak hours at the airports.
This is driven by the number of landings and departures taking place.
There are times more than one international carriers can land almost at the same time and this means the demand will be high.
Getting a reliable driver is very crucial.
Someone who is not lazy.
As you will realize, the business relies on the relationship and once you have offered a good service, the client will likely tell you of his travel plans during his stay in Kenya.
So you need someone who can pick a guest at 4:00 am and perform a drop off at 4:00 am from a Turkish airline passenger.
You can also form alliances with hotels and especially receptionists and reservation agents.
These know the bookings they have and therefore can advise you to go and page for a particular guest.
Off course you will need to share the proceeds.
You need a presentable driver.
Tourist will be hesitant to ride with unkempt driver and will conclude you are a thug and their safety is compromised.
There are registered companies that have been established in several airports. What they require is you to provide them with a vehicle and they operate.
This could be a good model since they have more guaranteed business but the returns will also be shared.
Some require you to have your own drivers while others require you to just provide the car and they fully operate it.
As in any other business in Kenya, Competition is very stiff. Especially to starters.
So it would be important for you to differentiate.
Key ideas to differentiate would be
- Airline crew transfers – this is an arrangement you have with airlines that you provide them with means to and from airports.
- You can provide more than just a transfer, say add local sim card to tourists, water, Wi-Fi, sweets etc.
- You might also consider providing the customers with a digital payment method as some would not have local currency to pay you.
- You can add a meet and greet services to disabled customers,
All this will set you apart from the crowd and guarantee you visitors from the already oversupplied market.
In a nutshell, you will be competing with very many providers namely below
- Travel agencies
- Hotel vans and limos
- Hailing services
- Company drivers
Some companies like Karibu Taxi have functionalities to target the customer at source and this will be a good way to boost your rides.
Customers are able to pre-book their transfers ahead of their travel.
You might as well read more on how to start a taxi business in the below resources
Feel free to get in touch for more tips by leaving a comment below.