Establishing a Taxiunternehmen: How to open a taxi service in Germany

updated on 11. February 2019 17 minutes reading time

You’re a reliable driver and have an entrepreneurial flair. And now you want to start your own taxi business? Here you’ll find important tips on the topics of requirements, costs, qualification examination, legal form, and much more.

Setting up a business: How do you set up a taxi company?

Before you can open your own taxi company, you must decide on a legal form that’s best for you and your business plan. Common business forms for taxi companies are the UG (haftungsbeschränkt), the GmbH, and the sole proprietorship. A business start-up as a GbR (partnership under civil law) would also be possible. In the following section, you will find an overview of the legal forms for taxi companies:

Form a taxi company as a UG (haftungsbeschränkt)

The UG (haftungsbeschränkt) stands for Unternehmergesellschaft (haftungsbeschränkt) – in English, entrepreneurial company (limited liability) – and is a special form of GmbH. It’s particularly suitable for founders who want to set up their own taxi company with limited start-up capital.

Advantages: A UG only requires a share capital of at least €1, which means the total formation costs are lower than those of a GmbH.

Liability: A UG has limited liability. That means that partners are generally liable with the company assets and not with their private assets.

Forming a taxi company as a GmbH

The shareholders of a GmbH, or limited liability company, require a total share capital of €25,000.

Advantages: The GmbH is a very popular and highly respected form of business, in Germany and also abroad.

Liability: The shareholders do not assume any personal liability, but are liable with the company’s assets.

Setting up a taxi company as a sole proprietorship

The sole proprietorship is the simplest way of forming a company with simple registration and no accounting obligation. The legal form of a sole proprietorship is a popular choice for taxi companies.

Advantages: No capital contribution is required.

Liability: Careful, the sole proprietor is also liable for damages with his or her private assets.

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Form a taxi company as GbR (partnership under civil law)

The GbR – or partnership under civil law – is a variant in which all partners are also managing directors. For this, you’ll set up your taxi company with at least one partner.

Advantages: There’s no required minimum capital and a notary isn’t necessary.

Liability: The partners are also liable with their private assets.

Requirements for setting up a taxi business

Taxi companies can only be set up with the correct permission

In Germany, moving passengers by taxi or rental car is one of the professions subject to authorisation. This means that anyone wishing to set up a taxi company needs a permit from the relevant traffic authority. The permit is also colloquially referred to as a “taxi license”. According to the German Passenger Transport Act (§13 I PBefG), it must adhere to the following conditions:

  • Safety and efficiency of operation must be guaranteed.
  • You must prove your reliability and harmlessness.
  • Proof of professional suitability must be provided.
  • The registered office or branch must be in Germany for the purposes of commercial law.

Tip: The processing time for a taxi licence can be several months. So take care of all the documents as early as possible. When you apply for approval, you will usually need to submit these documents:

  • TÜV (technical control board) certificates for your vehicles
  • Proof of available equity/reserves of at least 2,250 € for the first vehicle, 1,250 € for each additional vehicle
  • Police verification certificate
  • Clearance certificate from the tax office (Finanzamt) and the health insurance company
  • Excerpt from the Central Traffic Register (Verkehrszentralregister)
  • Excerpt from the Central Trade Register (Gewerbezentralregister)
  • Certificate of qualification for commercial passenger transport (Chamber of Industry and Commerce known as the IHK in Germany)

There are two ways to prove the professional ability to run a taxi company, which are explained in the following sections.

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Certificate of qualification without examination by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce –   IHK

You can also prove your professional competence without an examination by the IHK if you meet the following requirements:

  • At least three years in a management position in a taxi or rental car company
    • Position may not have been more than two years ago
    • Proofs of the position through certificates
  • Renewal of an existing approval
  • Existing license for a car rental business
  • Completed training as a businessman or woman in railway/road traffic with a focus on passenger traffic
  • Completion of further training as a transport specialist
  • Completed degree as
    • Business economist (DAV)
    • Business economist (m/f) in the faculty of economics
    • BA Transport Management and Logistics, incl. major in passenger transport
    • Diploma as transport economist (m/f)

The relevant Chamber of Industry and Commerce can invite you to an appraisal interview to test your expertise. Inquire in advance from your local Chamber of Commerce and Industry about the individual documents required and the fees involved.

Certificate of qualification with an examination by the IHK

If you don’t meet the above requirements, you must take a qualification examination by the IHK. The aptitude test usually consists of three parts: Two written examinations of 60 minutes each and one oral examination of 30 minutes each. The exam costs about €150.

The subject areas of the aptitude test are:

  • Legal
  • Commercial and financial management
  • Technical operation and execution of operations
  • Road safety

Can I start a taxi company without a taxi license?

It’s possible to establish a taxi company without owning a taxi license. In this case, you are restricted to commercial activities and may not drive any persons. Nevertheless, you need a certificate of expertise.

What can make it more difficult to set up a taxi business?

The German Transport Authority (Verkehrsbehörde) may reject your application for authorisation, taking into account the following factors:

  • Demand for taxi transport orders
  • Taxi density
  • Development of earnings and costs including operating time
  • Number and causes of business tasksIssue of the taxi permit depends on the competition

In general, existing taxi companies should not be put at risk. Approval for new applicants is generally limited to two years. For re-applicants, the current admission period is five years.

How and where can you register your taxi business?

First step: Trade office (Gewerbeamt)

With valid permission from the traffic authority, you can register your taxi company as a company. Regardless of the legal form you have chosen, you must register at the trade office responsible for your company headquarters. If you open your own business as a sole proprietorship, a simple business registration is sufficient.

After registering with the trade office, the tax office automatically reports to you for tax registration. As soon as your documents have been reviewed and checked by the tax office, you will receive your tax number and may issue invoices.

Business registration in Berlin (download form)
Business registration in Hamburg (download form)
Business registration in Munich (download form)
Business registration in Cologne (download form)
Business registration in Frankfurt (download form)

Entry in the Handelsregister – Germany’s commercial register – as a taxi company

As a public register, the Handelsregister documents the registered merchants in the area of a competent register court (Handelsgericht). The GmbH and UG legal forms must be entered in the commercial register

Membership in the IHK

Like the tax office, the IHK is informed by the trade office about your business start-up. They will contact you shortly after this. When registering a business, membership at the IHK responsible for you is mandatory.

Trade association for taxi drivers and taxi entrepreneurs

Trade associations are the providers of statutory social accident insurance (gesetzliche Unfallversicherung) for companies and their employees. Be sure to register at the corresponding trade association. Regardless of your legal form, you must register with your relevant trade association.

For questions regarding membership, contact the German Social Accident Insurance (Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung, commonly know as DGUV) at +49 800 60 50 40 4.

Federal associations of the taxi and rental car industry

Consider whether a voluntary membership in a relevant federal association makes sense for you. In addition to numerous regional associations and clubs, there are national umbrella organisations such as the German Taxi and Rental Car Association e.V. (Deutschen Taxi- und Mietwagenverband e. V.) or the German Taxi Association (Taxiverband Deutschland). Associations represent the interests of their members in politics, business and to the public.

Costs and financing: How much does it cost to set up a taxi company?

The path to self-employment must be carefully planned and structured in every industry. Draw up a detailed business plan by calculating the acquisition costs and operating costs. Keep in mind that every new company has a start-up phase in which expenses exceed income. Your business plan should include the following costs:

Start-up costs: documents, certificates, applications, registrations

  • Fees for taxi permit and certificate of expertise
  • Any fees for IHK examination
  • Acquisition costs of the vehicles or leasing fees
  • Minimum operating capital: 2,250 € for the first vehicle, 1,250 € for each additional taxi
    Tax dues
  • Insurance: Professional liability insurance, vehicle insurance, commercial insurance
  • Technical equipment for the vehicles: navigation, taximeter, calibration
  • Maintenance costs for the vehicle pool
  • Fuel costs
  • Any wage costs for your employed taxi drivers
  • Reserves for unforeseen events
  • Reserves to secure livelihoods
  • Marketing expenses
  • Any fees for taxi headquarters

 

Marketing: How do customers find out about your taxi company?

Establishing a successful taxi company requires smart placement in a highly competitive market. As good as your financial planning is, you are ultimately dependent on your customers. So how can you attract new customers?

Self-promotion for your taxi business

Depending on the competition at your location, simple advertising materials are a good start. Place advertising on your taxi, in telephone directories and advertising spaces in your city. Make contacts! Hotel and catering businesses that order taxis for their guests are a good source of income that doesn’t cost you anything. Hospitals and medical practices are also good contacts for partnerships.

Use Google for yourself

In the age of smartphones, most people who want to order a taxi reach for their mobile phone or laptop and google the first taxi company near them. Make sure your company makes a legitimate impression with your own website. The more you optimise your homepage for search engines, the faster potential customers will find you online. Enter your location on Google Maps. You will be easily found and your passengers will have the opportunity to evaluate your service.

Taxi centres and taxi agencies

Generally, there are two types of so-called taxi centres: Service providers who only place orders with taxi companies without their own vehicle fleet and mergers of several taxi companies. Associations are often registered associations or registered cooperatives.

The advantage of connecting to a taxi centre is that you do not have to worry about accepting and distributing orders yourself. Often special, lucrative orders are also distributed through these agencies, such as shuttle services to airports, patient transport, or goods transports. At the same time, there are fees for membership in a central exchange, which you must take into account.

Taxi apps as an alternative to the central office

There are now many different apps that eliminate the need to call the traditional taxi headquarters. Taxi Deutschland, myTaxi, Easy Taxi and taxi.eu are just a few examples of apps that broker taxi services nationwide. Here, too, a partnership is associated with costs.

Inquire in advance about your cooperation possibilities and successfully start your own business.

Which legal form is best for your enterprise?
firma.de will find you the right expert to advise you on your business.

The information published on our site is all written and checked by experts with the greatest care. Nevertheless, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information, as laws and regulations are subject to constant change. Therefore, always consult an expert in a specific case – we would be happy to connect you with the right professional.

firma.de assumes no liability for damages caused by errors in the texts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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