PCO car hire is a term that you’ll hear used extensively if you’re looking for a flexible way to earn an income with Uber or other on-demand driving apps. But what do you really need to know? What are the pros and cons? How can you get started?
With the web full of information from different sources, often one contradicting the other, it’s easy to get frustrated. Don’t worry, you’re in safe hands. At Splend, we’re PCO car hire experts. We’ll help you manage the business side of things so you can focus on earning.
Take a look at our guide designed to answer all your questions related to PCO car hire.
PCO stands for the Public Carriage Office, which is a department of Transport for London (TfL).
The PCO licence is an essential document that allows you to drive for Uber or other rideshare apps in London.
Important: its official name is Private Hire Driver Licence, but most people simply call it a PCO licence. Don’t let this confuse you.
PCO cars are Uber-ready four-door cars and minivans. In other words, they meet all TfL requirements for personal transport, and have a valid Private Hire Vehicle Licence.
The PHV licence is the same as the PCO licence, but for your car—it’s proof that TfL has approved the car for private hire use.
Yes, all rideshare drivers in London must have a valid PCO licence, regardless of the ridesharing platform.
Anyone who has a valid UK driver’s licence with at least three years of driving experience and the right to work in the UK can apply for a PCO licence.
You’ll also need other documents to apply, but you can acquire these in a relatively short time. Jump to the full list of requirements.
Your PCO licence is a plastic card the size of a standard credit card and includes its serial number and expiry date, as well as your basic personal information and your photo.
Your PCO licence is valid for three years. Here’s how you can renew it.
To get a PHV licence, your car must meet the following criteria:
You don’t need to be the owner of the car you use for PCO driving. As long as it has a valid PHV licence and hire and reward insurance, you’re good to go.
Keeping your car within parameters and the paperwork up to date is a lot of admin work. It demands time and attention that you’d certainly rather focus on what you do best: driving.
PCO car hire is a solution that gives you the peace of mind that you and your car are always ready to work.
Your car is part of a PCO fleet, with an entire team dedicated to keeping things up to spec, so you can keep your eyes on the road and your mind set on success.
Most people think on-demand drivers use their own cars for Uber and other rideshare apps. While this is indeed possible, many drivers rent their private hire cars. Let’s see the pros and cons of PCO car hire.
You must meet these requirements to apply for a PCO licence:
You’ll also need to acquire these documents:
Once you have all the documents listed above, you can submit your PCO licence application to TfL. Register here, sign in, and follow the instructions.
Yes, TfL requires proof of your English Language Qualification as of September 2020. Here’s a list of certificates they accept:
A PCO application costs around £700 in total, but bear in mind that this may vary by quite a lot depending on your particular situation. You’ll obviously have less to pay if you already have some of the necessary documents, however, if you need courses to prepare for your assessments or fail an exam, you may need to reach deeper into your pocket.
The table below should give you an idea of how much your PCO licence will cost you at the end of the day:
|Licence application fee (non-refundable)||£124|
|Grant of licence fee||£186|
|DBS check||£56.85 (online) / £58.85 (paper)|
|Topographical assessment||~£40 (assessment only) / ~£75 (with training)|
|English language assessment||~£180 – £200|
|Foreign licence conversion||£43|
|*Post Office ‘Check and Send’ transfers||£7.15 (unless paid via credit/debit card)|
Check our guide on how to become a certified Uber driver
Start pulling the documents together as soon as possible, because it generally takes 12 to 16 weeks to fully process a PCO licence application.
It does take a few weeks until TfL processes your renewal application. It’s best to think ahead and start the process at least one month before your PCO licence expires.
This takes time, and TfL knows it. That’s why they send you an application pack four months before your PCO licence expires. Once you have your application pack, you can start collecting the necessary paperwork.
You should already have a TfL account, but if you don’t, head to tfl.gov.uk and register. Once signed in, you can apply for licence renewal as an “existing licence holder” using your driver’s licence as your ID.
You can also sign up the old-fashioned way, by completing the application pack and sending it back to TfL. In this case, check the form and change incorrect details, provide your DVLA Share Code and an email address for updates, and sign the declaration before posting the completed pack.
You should return your PCO licence to TfL within seven days of its expiry date.
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