After exploding into the UK taxi market eight years ago, Uber has become many people’s go-to service when they need to catch a ride somewhere. But can you start an Uber franchise unit in the UK?
Uber Technologies Inc. is undeniably dominating the taxi industry here in the UK. The American multinational transportation network company launched its innovative ride-sharing app in 2009. Anyone who needs to get from A to B can use the app to connect them to a nearby driver who is providing the service from their personal vehicle. There are many reasons why it’s so popular, but this can mainly be put down to its speed, low-cost fares, safety features and fare-sharing capabilities.
As well as ride hailing services, Uber Technologies Inc. has developed an online food ordering and delivery platform, Uber Eats, and an electric bike renting service, JUMP. The San Francisco-based company has operations in over 900 cities across the globe. Today, we find out if you can invest in an Uber franchise in the UK.
History of Uber
It all started when Travis Kalanick and Garret Camp couldn’t get a taxi on a cold winter evening in Paris in 2008. The next March, they started to develop an innovative smartphone app that let users book a trip at a click of a button.
The first ever Uber rider booked a trip across San Francisco on the 5th July 2010. In December 2011, the two entrepreneurs launched Uber internationally, starting in the city where the idea was born – Paris!
In August 2014, UberPool was launched in San Francisco. With this feature, any riders going in the same direction could share a trip and the cost. Not only does this help keep some of the busiest cities’ roads less congested, but it also helps lower pollution levels.
Uber launched in London on 2nd July 2012.
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Does Uber franchise in the UK?
Unfortunately, there isn’t any information online to suggest that Uber franchises, but there are other ways you can get involved with the company.
How to get involved with Uber
One of the main ways you can get involved with Uber is by becoming a driver. You are in control of how many hours you put in and therefore how much money you make. And you’re completely in charge of when you work, so your work can be flexible around your personal life. This should help create a healthier work-life balance.
Signing up takes no longer than four minutes, so head to its website today to get involved. You simply have to state the city you wish to drive in and the type of licence you have. Then, after you’ve followed the next steps, you need to get a private hire licence if you don’t have one. Have any questions? You can travel to your nearest Uber Greenlight Hub and receive support in person.
There are also careers in business development, communications, community operations, sales, public policy and lots more. Again, head to Uber’s careers site to find out more and see the vacancies in your area.
The taxi industry in the UK
The taxi industry in the UK is worth £9 billion and employs around 375,000 people (Statista). There are a number of different options when it comes to choosing your ride home, including black cabs and private-hire vehicles, with the latter having to be booked in advance for insurance reasons.
However, ride sharing companies like Uber don’t come into this category, as they use an online-enabled platform to connect passengers with drivers using their personal, non-commercial vehicles. Uber is increasingly having to fend off new competitors tying to take its crown, especially in London, where it has lost its licence to operate. These competitors include apps like Ola.
While it isn’t possible to invest in an Uber franchise unit in the UK, this doesn’t mean you have to bid farewell to your franchising dreams. So, let’s look at two similar franchises that offer very attractive investment opportunities.
1. The Pink Cab
The Pink Cab was founded in 2009 by Mark and Tina Stevenson. And, you guessed it, all of its taxis are pink! This makes them a popular choice for special events like hen dos and weddings, and even after a night out.
- Becoming a The Pink Cab franchisee: If you’ve dreamed of owning and managing your own business and have a driving licence, this could be a very exciting opportunity for you. It’s also important to have excellent customer service skills, have a hands-on approach to developing your franchise and be self-motivated.
- How much you need to invest: The initial franchise cost is £15,000, and you will also need to purchase the cab on top of this.
- What you get for your investment: You’ll be supported every step of your franchising journey. This includes ongoing training and support in sales and marketing techniques, being able to use The Pink Cab helpline when you have any questions and so much more. You can see an extensive list of the support you will receive on its website.
It’s been a pleasure to work with The Pink Cab company, the co-founders Tina and Mark Stevenson are extremely experienced and embrace a professional approach for their distinctive taxi services. They have developed and proven an attractive addition to the traditional theme of the service which is both a fun brand and financially rewarding and we recommend this exciting new franchise opportunity to any prospective Franchise Owners. – Gary Rigby at FDS Southern
2. Simply Cabs
Simply Cabs is another UK taxi franchise and it opened its doors in 2016. Customers can use its quick and easy online booking app for a smooth and stress-free customer experience. While it has expressed that it wants to expand throughout the UK, there isn’t any specific franchising information on its website. However, it did report that it would be using social media to attract new drivers and franchisees, so we recommend heading there.
>> Read more:
- Car Rental Franchise: Join the Road to Success
- Top 5 Car Rental Franchises in the UK
- How to Start a Car Rental Agency
Start a ride share franchise today
It’s fair to say that the demand for ride sharing services won’t go anywhere, especially when businesses like Uber also provide food delivery services that widen their appeal and help them stay afloat in unprecedented situations like the one we are currently facing. If you’re unsure about the franchise model, you might be interested in why franchising in the UK is more popular than ever before.
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©