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

Want to start your own taxi business? Get to know the requirements, costs, qualifications and possible business types here.


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How do I set up a taxi company in Germany?

Before opening your own taxi company, you must decide on the best legal form for you and your business plan. Common legal forms for taxi companies are the UG (haftungsbeschränkt), GmbH, Einzelunternehmen (sole proprietorship) and GbR. A business start-up as a GbR (partnership under civil law) would also be possible. Let’s look at the potential legal forms for taxi companies below.

Form a taxi company as a UG (haftungsbeschränkt)

The UG (haftungsbeschränkt) stands for Unternehmergesellschaft (haftungsbeschränkt)—in English, an entrepreneurial company (limited liability)—and is a special form of GmbH. It suits founders who want to set up a 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 only for the company’s assets and not for their private assets.


Form a taxi company as a GmbH.

Setting up a GmbH (limited liability company) requires a total share capital of €25,000.

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

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

Set up a taxi company as an Einzelunternehmen (sole proprietorship)

An Einzelunternehmen (sole proprietorship) is the simplest way to start a business in Germany. It requires straightforward registration and has no accounting obligations. The 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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Set up a taxi company as GbR (partnership under civil law)

The GbR – or partnership under civil law – is a variant in which all partners also manage directors. You’ll set up your taxi company with at least one partner for this.

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 permissions

In Germany, moving passengers by taxi or rental car is one of the professions subject to authorisation. 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.

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)

Two ways to prove the professional ability to run a taxi company are explained in the following sections.

Certificate of qualification without examination by the 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 with the following conditions:
    • The position was not longer than two years ago
    • Certified evidence of the position
  • 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
  • Received a degree in:
    • Business economics (DAV)
    • Business economics (m/f) in the faculty of economics
    • BA Transport Management and Logistics, incl. major in passenger transport
    • Diploma in transport economics (m/f)

The relevant IHK can invite you to an appraisal interview to test your expertise. In advance, inquire 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 are the pitfalls to look out for?

The Verkehrsbehörde (German transport authority) 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 tasks
  • The current competition (market conditions)

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.

What are the different registrations?

Gewerbeamt (trade office)

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

After you register with the trade office, the Finanzamt (tax office) will automatically notify you to register for tax. As soon as the tax office reviews and checks your documents, 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 (commercial register)

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

Membership in the IHK

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

Berufsgenossenschaften (employer’s liability insurance associations)

Berufsgenossenschaften (employer liability insurance associations) provide statutory social accident insurance (gesetzliche Unfallversicherung) for companies and their employees. Be sure to register at the correct trade association. Regardless of your legal form, this is a legal obligation.

For questions regarding membership, contact the Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung (statutory accident insurance).


Federal associations of the taxi and rental car industry

Consider whether 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 Deutschen Taxi—und Mietwagenverband e.V. (German taxi and rental car association e.V.) or the Taxiverband Deutschland (German taxi association). Associations represent the interests of their members in politics, business, and the public.


Costs & financing: How much does setting up a taxi company cost?

The path to self-employment must be carefully planned and structured in every industry. Draw up a detailed business plan by calculating the acquisition and operating costs. Remember 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 clever placement in a highly competitive market. As good as your financial planning is, you ultimately depend on your customers. So, how can you attract new customers?


Simple advertising materials are a good start, depending on the competition at your location. Place advertising on your taxi, in your city’s telephone directories and advertising spaces. 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.


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 website. The more you optimise your homepage for search engines, the faster potential customers find you online. Enter your location on Google Maps. You will be easily found, and your passengers can evaluate your service.

Taxi agencies & centres

Generally, there are two types of so-called taxi centres: Service providers who only place orders with taxi companies without their 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. Special, lucrative orders are often distributed through these agencies, such as shuttle services to airports, patient transport, or goods transport. At the same time, there are fees for membership in a central exchange, which you must consider.

Taxi apps

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

Inquire about the possibilities of cooperation and successfully start your own business.


[BEGIN: Insert an Image between this tag]

Andreas Munck

[END insert Image]

Do you still have questions?

  • Startup expert
  • 10+ years experience

Hi, I’m Andreas, and I’ve been advising businesses in Germany for over a decade. I’d be happy to call you and answer any questions you have in a one-on-one consultation.


Want to know more about starting a business in Germany?

The ultimate guide to starting a business in Germany:

Do I have the proper residence permit to start a business?
What legal form is right for me?
Getting ready to start a business
What you need to know about starting a side (hustle) business
How to set up a business in Germany
Taking your first steps as an entrepreneur

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