In this article I'd like to talk about facts and realities of running a taxi business.
Fact number one: your employees do not own your taxi business. You do. The consequences of this are that your employees do not care about your taxi company and often their agendas are very different from yours. If they were smart they would have the same agenda at least partly, because they’re not in most cases getting a paycheck, but a percentage.
I see all the time drivers that want to go home as early as possible, no matter how busy it is out there, who don’t really care about the condition of cars they drive, don’t talk to passengers and don’t help them with the bags.
Here’s what they think: “I’m a driver. I’m supposed to drive and not talk to passengers or help them with their bags.” That’s what happens all the time, that’s what I see all the time, that’s what you’ll see if you look. That’s reality.
Fact number two about employees is that they’re not your friends or your family. Please understand me correctly, I do think that you should be friendly with your staff and you should encourage them to be friendly. You should recognize their birthdays, anniversaries, and other important events in their lives, but don’t ever forget that they pretend to be your friend as long as you feed them and the minute that you stop paying them they will be gone.
Fact number three is a consequence of facts number one and two. Fact number three is the unavoidable resentment that comes from the huge differences in wealth and power. Your employees think that they’re smarter then you are, they know how to run your taxi company better, that it’s them who’s doing all the work and you are not doing anything and you are getting all the money.
When I’m saying that they think you’re getting all the money, I mean that they think you’re getting all the gross and not the net. They don’t get even close to understanding the difference between the gross and the net. The conclusion from the above stated facts is that, first, you got to understand and remember about all that at all times and, second, you’ve got to take it into consideration when you’re dealing with people. For instance, if they can steal from you, if you let them steal from you, they will be stealing from you.
It doesn’t matter if I would prefer it to be different or if you’d prefer it to be different. The truth of the matter is that you will have to implement in your taxi company systems that prevent stealing. These systems will let you see who is stealing, so that then you can punish them and deal with it.
What these facts also mean is that you should have a zero tolerance policy for the things that shouldn’t be tolerated, otherwise you’ll be like the frog in the squat. There is a tale about the frog in the squat. The water was being warmed up slowly and the frog could jump out of the water at any given time, because it always has the power to jump out of the water. But because the water was being warmed up slowly, the frog wasn’t noticing it and so the water finally boiled and the frog died.
If you do not have a zero tolerance policy for all the stuff that your employees are trying to pull, then you are being slowly and gradually cooked by them until they ruin your business. This is serious stuff. If you start accepting unacceptable behavior, it’s only a question of time when it starts spreading from one person to another. You can’t afford this to happen, because it will means death to your business.
I’ve seen taxi companies where some employees are stealing and get away with it. Then you see other guys, guys that wouldn’t be stealing by themselves, but they look at what’s going on and see everybody else stealing. Guess what? They also start stealing, because “if everybody’s doing it and the boss is okay with it, why am I not doing it? If that’s how things are here, then let me play the game”, – especially when the game means money in their pockets. You cannot afford this happening.
All this means one thing: you’ve got to have your way of doing things in your taxi company. I’m not talking about some printed manual that you give to all your drivers or dispatchers to read before they start working, though having such a manual is not a bad idea. I am talking about business in general. You’ve got to have your own way of doing things in your company. It should be communicated to all your employees and it should be communicated as a very clear message. Because if you don’t have your own way, I can tell you what’s going to happen: your employees will have their own way of doing things, whatever these things may be. And I can bet you that it will not be the way you want things to be done in your company.
A very important thing to remember here is that you can only expect what you can inspect. You need to be able to check at any time if they are actually doing what you’ve told them to do, doing the things they are supposed to be doing in order for your taxi business to run as effectively as possible.
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