The Classic Car Mag Guide to Buying a Used Taxi

Filed under: Classic News |
Buying a brand new taxi can be prohibitively expensive, and you’ll be burning a lot of money on depreciation alone. This is why many drivers turn to the used car market for their next ride. Not only is it far more affordable, but you’re a lot more likely to be within touching distance of your dream car.

Unless you’re after something very niche, there will always be a large supply of high quality, suitable vehicles for you to choose from. Once you’ve saved thousands of pounds on your next taxi, why not continue this trend by also saving hundreds on your renewal quote by comparing taxi insurance through Utility Saving Expert.

What is a used car?

A used car is a vehicle that is currently or has previously been registered by a private individual or company owner. Generally, they are likely to be at least 12 months old, and have at least a few thousand miles behind them. Over a longer period of time, they work out to be a lot more cost effective.

A ‘nearly new’ car will typically have less than 5,000 miles on its clock. It could have been registered by the manufacturer, dealer or first owner and has had very little use. Examples include ex-demo cars, and pre-registered cars.

What to look for when searching for a used taxi?

Before beginning, decide on what you require for your work. It could be handy to create a check list of priorities in order of importance, along with your expected budget. As a taxi driver, you’ll most likely be looking for a saloon or a multi-purpose vehicle such as a hatchback that is reliable and can comfortably accommodate your passengers.

How much will it cost to run?

By buying a used car, you’ll instantly avoid the large depreciation that takes place in the first few years of a new car’s life cycle. As the car ages, your maintenance and repair costs will gradually start to rise once you run into some inevitable issues later down the road. Your budget shouldn’t just include the price of the taxi, you’ll also need to account for insurance, fuel, road tax, servicing and repairs.

Conduct a car valuation

Once you’ve selected a car make and model to use as your next taxi, you will need to get a valuation. There are a number of free tools available online to help you do this. You’ll need to enter the car make, model variant, age and mileage to get an estimated price.

Should I buy from a car dealer, auction house or private seller?

Buying a used car directly from a franchised car dealership will often be the most expensive option. Although you will be safe in the knowledge that the vehicle has been thoroughly checked, and will include a limited warranty of at least 12 months.

You can save even more by visiting an independent dealer, and they’ll likely have a larger selection of cars to choose from. However, the quality and reliability between two similar cars can vary greatly and you may only receive a very small warranty.

To get an even lower price, private sellers can be a good option to turn to. They will be cheaper than the above options, but there is a higher risk and very little legal protection. If you do go down this route, make sure to test drive the car beforehand and check to see if it has a full service history included.

Auction houses can potentially offer the cheapest option for used car buyers. If you do enter the bidding process, have a budget in mind, keep to it and be ready for the fast pace. It’s worth attending a few car auctions beforehand to get some experience on what you can expect on the day. The most important thing is to fully inspect a vehicle you’re interested in before you start raising your hand at the time of auction.

Vehicle provenance checks

A vehicle provenance check, sometimes referred to as a used car history will alert you if a car has been previously stolen, written off by an insurer or includes any outstanding finance. Before you go ahead with the purchase, make sure you’ve checked for the above to avoid any potential seizures by law enforcement.

An in-depth check will cost around £20, and the data will be from a variety of sources such as the Association of British Insurers, DVLA and the Police National Computer. The saying ‘if it’s too good to be true, it probably is’ still holds merit.

Negotiate the price

Now that you’ve test driven the car and made all the necessary checks, it’s time to negotiate a fair price with the seller. Normally, most sellers will be able to offer you a small discount on the list price.

Cash purchase or finance options?

Often, the cheapest way to buy a used car is to pay the full amount in one lump sum. This could be via credit or debit card, or taking a personal loan with a lower interest rate. Be careful before walking around with a large amount of cash.

If you’re dealing with a private seller, pay by bank transfer rather than cash to ensure you’re actually going to receive the vehicle. Dealers pose less of a risk and will even give you the option of financing the car through monthly instalments over a number of years. Please note that these car finance options will likely cost you more over the long term as they will have higher interest rates, even compared to personal loans taken from a bank.

We hope you’ve found this guide to buying a used taxi helpful. Once the deal is done, don’t forget to register ownership with the DVLA.