Taxis in Zimbabwe offer a valuable service to people who require transport to and from a number of places. People often use taxis to go to and fro work, ranks, airports and suburbs.  If you enjoy driving and working with people, knowing how to start a taxi company might be something you want to do. Starting a taxi company requires good management skills, a good marketing plan, and compliance with all the Zimbabwe local legislation. During the financial planning process of starting your taxi business in Zimbabwe, there are a number of important factors you must consider. Evaluating some of the factors listed below will help you determine the overall startup costs of opening a taxi business in Zimbabwe, as well as help you in forecasting future expenses.

A taxi in Harare CBD

A taxi in Harare CBD

What you need

The Vehicles

For the taxi business, the greatest startup cost is the vehicles. You have to make a decision of which type of vehicles to buy, and where to purchase them. The popular vehicle models for taxis in Zimbabwe include Toyota Vitz, Honda Fit, Toyota spacio and Mazda Demio. The majority of taxis in Zimbabwe are ex-Japanese vehicles purchased online from Japanese companies such as BeForward, and then shipped to Zimbabwe.  The total costs of buying those vehicles, including duty, transportation etc is between $3200 and $5000, depending on the model, the destination port, and the method of transporting the vehicle from the port to Zimbabwe.  

Drivers and Equipment

You should hire drivers who have driven taxis before and already have the proper licencing. Ask for copies of driving records and references from previous companies they’ve worked for. Whether you buy new or used vehicles, you will still need to paint them, or have some brand logo attached to identify your taxi company. The costs for this will vary. You may also want to install toplights for your taxis to help riders more easily identify the cabs, and the cost depends on attachment method, personalization and lighting choice. If you are going to have many taxis, you will also need some form of radio or cellphone communications system, so your dispatcher can contact drivers and vice versa.  You may also have to install taxicab metres on all your vehicles, to record the distance travelled by the taxis.

 Maintenance, Repairs and Fuel

You should also be prepared in advance for repairs and regular mechanical maintenance of your taxis, to keep your vehicles in good condition. Depending on your resources and how big you want to start, you may also choose to invest in renting or purchasing a garage in addition to your business office, not only will your cars remain in better condition when stored indoors, but you may also be able to hire an in-house mechanic to perform maintenance and repairs at significantly less cost.

Although you do not need fuel before you start operating, it is a significant cost which should be included in your financial planning. Evaluate the fuel mileage your vehicles get and the area your taxi service will operate in to prepare a rough estimate of how far you can go on one tank of fuel. Factor a buffer into your startup budget to pay for at least two or three tanks of fuel per vehicle for the first month or two, based on the current fuel prices in your location.

Compliance with the Zimbabwe legislation

Before you start operating your taxi business in Zimbabwe, you have to register with the relevant authorities.  First you need what is called an Operator’s licence. The requirements for an operators include a tax clearance from Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA),a garage report which should be from a Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) recognized garage , and a 3 months bank statement. You apply for the Operator’s licence from the Ministry of Transport.  For finer details on the requirements to get an Operator’s licence, you have to visit the Ministry of Transport. Once the Operator licence is out, you get Red number plates from the Post Office.  You then apply for route authority from the city council.  After that you go apply for certificate of fitness from the VID.  To get the certificate of fitness,  you must have passenger insurance, vehicle insurance, road permit, route authority from city council, and the vehicle should be branded in a VID approved format. You then apply for route authority from the Ministry of Transport.  You will also be given a rank disc by the City council. This whole process may take up to 2 months.

Market

You should always carry out a feasibility study, market research and write a business plan before you venture into any business. Do not make the mistake of starting a taxi business or any other business just because someone is doing it and he/she says it’s profitable. You should decide where you are going to operate, and know the demand of taxis in that area. Determine your niche. Research the competition in the area, research their services and rates. The average profit in Zimbabwe daily for one taxi is between $20 and $35.

Comment below with any questions you have concerning a taxi business in Zimbabwe. Are you already in the taxi business? If so tell us below your experiences. Share with us what you think about taxi business in Zimbabwe.

Check out more business ideas and our collection of business plans. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to receive notifications of new posts in your email.