The complete guide to PCO car rental for taxi drivers
If you are searching for a flexible way to earn an income through Uber or another popular driving app, PCO car hire is a term you have likely come across. What is there to know about PCO car rental for taxi drivers? What are the advantages and disadvantages? How do you even get started?
PCO vehicle hire requirements
The advantages and disadvantages of PCO car hire
It isn’t always easy keeping your car and all the paperwork up to date. This administration work requires a lot of time and effort on your part. For this reason, many drivers would rather focus on their actual work instead of the business side of things.
This is where PCO car hire offers a useful solution. It gives drivers the added peace of mind that their car is always ready for the next job. Your car will be part of a PCO fleet, which will be managed by a dedicated team who will ensure things are always up to date.
Many people may incorrectly assume that on-demand Uber drivers use their own taxis for these ride sharing apps. Although this is possible, most will choose to rent their private hire vehicle. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of PCO car hire:
- Minimum commitment – You will be able to change your mind and return the car for more favourable terms.
- All-inclusive – You will have a PHV licence, the necessary insurance policy, and most routine maintenance will be covered within the agreement, allowing you to focus on transporting passengers.
- You will not own the car – However, you may have the option of ‘rent to buy’ and still have access to the same perks. This will allow you to make weekly payments towards ownership.
- A limited range of car makes, models and colours to select from.
- The age of the car may vary depending on who the provider is.
PCO license requirements
How do I apply for a PCO licence?
Once you have met the above requirements and have all the necessary documentation ready, you will be able to submit your PCO license application to Transport for London. You can register here and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the application process.
Do I need to pass an English language test for the PCO licence?
Yes. TfL will require proof that you have passed the English language qualification. Since September 2020, here are a list of certificates that they currently accept:
- UK GCSE / O level (or equivalent) certificate – grades A* to G
- UK AS-level / A-level (A2) certificate
- UK NVQ*/BTEC/City & Guilds qualification – along with confirmation that the qualification is equivalent to GCSE or above
- UK BA Hons, BSc Hons degree or higher degree e.g. Master’s or PhD
- UK HNC / HND qualification
- SELT certificate, issued by Trinity College London or IELTS showing proficiency in reading, speaking, listening and writing – B1 level or higher
How much does it cost to get a PCO licence?
In total, the PCO application will currently cost you around £700. Although, your particular circumstances may mean the price can vary. If you already have some of the relevant documentation, you may have less to pay in total. On top of this, if there are still courses that you must take to prepare for the various examinations, you will likely have to pay a larger sum.
Check out the table below which provides a rough guide on how much your PCO license will cost:
|Licence application fee (this is non-refundable)||£124|
|Grant of licence fee||£186|
|Enhanced DBS check||£56.85 (online) / £58.85 (paper)|
|Topographical assessment||£40 (assessment only) / £75 (with training)|
|English language assessment||£180 to £200|
|Foreign licence conversion||£43|
|Post Office ‘Check and Send’ transfers||£7.15 (unless paid via credit/debit card)|
How long will it take to get a PCO licence?
You can expect it to take around three to four months to have your PCO license application processed. This makes it a good idea to start collating all the necessary documents as soon as you can, helping you move forward at a steady pace.
Renewing my PCO licence
How long does it take to renew my PCO licence?
If you wish to renew your PCO license, it will take a couple of weeks for TfL to process the renewal application. It’s highly recommended that you start to think about this at least one month before your PCO license is due to expire.
How do I renew my PCO licence?
TfL knows that the renewal process can take time for drivers. This is why they will send you an application pack around four months before your existing PCO license is due to expire. Once you receive the application pack from TfL, you should start collating the necessary documents as soon as possible.
You can save time and money by applying for a DBS check through the DBS update service. Additionally, use TfL’s official photo guidelines before taking a new photo of yourself.
At this stage, you should already have an existing TfL account. If you don’t already have one for any reason, visit tfl.gov.uk to create one. Once you have signed in into the site, you will be able to apply for a PCO license renewal as you are an ‘existing license holder’. You should be able to use your current driver’s license as your ID.
Can I renew my PCO licence offline?
If you would prefer not to use TfL’s online application form, you can always complete the paper-based application pack and return to TfL. If this is the case, make sure you check the form and update any details that are incorrect, provide your DVLA Share Code and an email address to receive updates on your application. Remember to sign the declaration box before you send the completed pack in the post.
What should I do with my expired PCO licence?
Your expired PCO license should be returned to TfL within seven days of the date it is due to expire on, as this will no longer be valid moving forwards.