How to buy taxi license plates
An unrestricted taxi license plate can cost $100,000 more than restricted plates.
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When you become a taxi driver you're essentially establishing your own business. There are several costs you need to consider and the main one is taxi plates. If you don't have the finance available to purchase these outright you can consider a taxi loan. These are business loans designed specifically for purchasing taxi plates to help you get on the road.
What options do I have to finance taxi plates?
You have a few options to consider if you're looking for a taxi loan:
- Unsecured business loan from a bank. Some banks such as Delphi Bank offer business loans that are available to finance the purchase of taxi plates. These loans can be unsecured and cover the entire cost of purchasing the plates.
- Secured business loan from a bank. Banks may be willing to let you use your taxi plates as security if you offer a 40-50% deposit. You may also be able to use your property as a guarantee to get a secured loan.
- Taxi finance from a specialised lender. Several specialised financiers operate in the taxi lending space. You can generally choose from chattel mortgages, commercial hire purchases or standard business loans. As these are offered by specialist providers you may find features that benefit you as a taxi driver.
- Interest-free loans. The NSW Government offers interest-free loans to taxi drivers looking to purchase or upgrade their vehicle to be wheelchair accessible. In July 2016 a funds pool of $5 million per year has been allocated to interest-free taxi loans.
- Taxi loan broker. If you don't want to find the loan yourself, you can use the services of a taxi loan broker. These brokers can help you find the right taxi loan for you.
Below are a range of commercial car loans.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
How can you compare your taxi loan options?
As there are a few loan options available, it's important to compare them to find the right loan for you. Here's what to keep in mind:
- How much can you borrow? Taxi plates are expensive and you want to be sure you can borrow as much as you need to get on the road. Some lenders only finance 40-50% of the plate cost or require a deposit, so check this before you apply.
- Is the loan secured? Some lenders will not accept taxi plates as security, but you may be able to offer personal property or vehicles as security for the loan. If you don't hold any high-value assets you may need to opt for an unsecured loan.
- What are the repayment terms? How long do you have to repay the loan? When and how do you make repayments? Can you repay the loan early without penalty? These are all important points to consider.
- Who is the lender? There are several specialist lenders operating in this space and you need to make sure they are reputable before you apply for a loan from them.
- What can you use the funds to do? You may want to use this loan for taxi-related purposes other than buying plates. Are you able to finance a cab fit-out? Can you purchase a new or used vehicle, privately or from a dealership?
- Are you eligible? The different taxi finance options all come with varying eligibility criteria. Make sure you're eligible before you apply.
How much does it cost to finance a taxi?
Taxis don't come cheap. Costs vary depending on the taxi licence you choose, the vehicle you're purchasing and the state you reside in. Here is an outline of what you can expect to pay:
|State||Cost of buying a taxi plate*||Cost of leasing (per week)|
|WA||$80,000-$150,000||$335 per week max (plate + vehicle)|
|NT||N/A - drivers sublease taxis by buying a license from $20,000||$20,000 taxi licence|
*Amounts based on sale price ranges in September 2016
Comparison: Taxis vs Uber
If you're still deciding between becoming a taxi driver or an Uber driver, working out your income for both – minus expenses – will help you make your decision. You'll also need to factor in the company you'll be working for, flexibility and how you'll be paid for each to see which will suit your employment needs.
- How much do Uber drivers earn? According to Uber, the typical income for a driver is between $30 and $40 an hour. However, you need to factor in petrol costs as well as maintenance (cleaning and repairs) for your vehicle.
- How much do taxi drivers earn? According to Payscale.com, the average income for a taxi driver in Australia is between $40,000 p.a. and $60,000 p.a.
Things you should consider when getting a loan
Before you apply for a loan to finance a taxi plate purchase, make sure you consider the following:
- Will the plates be used as security? Some lenders, especially those in Victoria, have scaled back on using taxi plates as security due to volatile pricing and changes in regulation. Make sure you understand whether the taxi plates will be used as security or not before you apply for a loan.
- Do you need a deposit? Many banks and lenders offering to finance taxi plates will only pay up to 40-50% of the taxi plate amount, or will require a deposit to approve the loan.
- Have you got a taxi licence? Before you start driving you will be required to hold a taxi licence and may need to pass a state-mandated course to be able to drive. Don't apply for finance until you've done this.
Got more questions?
Can I get a no-deposit taxi loan?
Some no-deposit taxi loans are available, but usually a deposit of 40-50% is required.
Can I get a loan to purchase the taxi plates and a car?
Yes. Many people selling taxi plates also offer a combined amount for the plates plus the car, and as you're purchasing an asset (the vehicle) you may find it easier to be approved for a loan if it's secured.
What eligibility criteria do I need to meet to be a taxi driver?
This differs between states. Many states require you to pass a course, have at least a basic understanding of English (both speaking and reading) and have held your licence for a minimum of one to two years.
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