Climatecars is an environmentally friendly taxi service, offering a green alternative to black taxis or minicabs. Rates are competitive and Climatecars offer free added extras such as mineral water and magazines in all the cars. Climatecars operates 24/7/365 and you can book online at www.climatecars.com, over the phone or on our app.
Read about the man behind http://www.climatecars.com/" rel="nofollow">Climatecars. Nicko tells us about his experiences of starting up an environmentally friendly taxi company in London.
I didn’t do anything before http://www.climatecars.com/" rel="nofollow">Climatecars apart from university. I decided upon leaving Bristol University that a conventional career was not for me and that I wanted to start my own business straight away. 1 year after leaving Bristol, aged 23, I launched Climatecars.
It took 2 years from being just an idea to becoming a real business with customers and revenue!
The idea for a green taxi firm came when driving past a gas conversion garage near Bath. I suddenly thought here was an industry which I could enter relatively easy and make some real changes in by introducing modern, low emission technology. Our emissions are less than half that of a normal London black taxi.
I began by researching LGP (liquid petrol gas) and biofuels but settled on the hybrid Toyota Prius because, not only do they emit between 45 and 53 per cent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the average black cab or people carrier, but I calculated that the extra emissions costs created during the manufacture, which had initially worried me, would be cancelled within the first few months of service.
After the initial research I got a job at a normal taxi firm and learnt the business. I contacted http://www.london.edu/" rel="nofollow">London Business School and got help from 2 mentors there and many others helped me along the way.
I wrote a business plan and raised the first round of equity finance. Then we launched in June 2007. I raised equity finance firstly from family and friends. This is one of the best ways of funding a start-up.
We also raised a second round of funding in summer 2008 through a more institutional business angel network, once we were producing decent revenues and had a year's trading history.
Impossible question to answer!
There were a lot of very hard moments, mainly around being a small business and people being unreliable. So initially there were only 2 office staff and me; when one would call in sick I would be in the office till midnight! Raising finance in a recession was a challenge, plus late payment from clients and various other day-to-day running issues.
However I am pleased to say it is a lot easier now we are bigger. Being in the position we are in now where we are on a run, expecting to turnover in excess of £1.5m, and having created this from nothing, feels like an achievement.
Do your homework. Plan, plan, plan.
Be very bearish when setting your budget in terms of revenue, but be realistic with costs (everything always costs more than you think). The worse place for a small business to be is without cash.
http://www.london.edu/" rel="nofollow">London Business School, Google etc.