(Please don't ring the editor of this site for a taxi - I do not provide a scooter taxi service! ed.)
How two entrepreneurs have made a success out of folding scooters.
This is an exciting and innovative opportunity. Folding scooter taxis - an excellent small business idea.
Two young entrepreneurs are on the road to success, and their service has been acclaimed by the Design Council as one of the prestigious Millennium Products.
'One For The Road' was set up by 28 year old Alister Robinson and Jason James. In 2000 they employed 25 drivers at their two offices in Putney and Kennington, each of whom has a scooter that folds away into a bag which can be easily stored in a car boot.
This service is the answer for people who are worried about getting home after having a drink. Say someone has driven to a London show and decided to have a drink afterwards. They call up 'One For The Road', who send out a driver on his scooter. The driver reaches the customer on his scooter, then drives the customer home in the customer's own car, with the scooter stowed safely in the boot.
When the customer's destination is reached the driver unpacks his scooter and heads off to the next person. Each driver, who must prove they are over 21 and have sufficient ability and street knowledge before they are taken on, is insured for up to £75,000 in case they damage a client's car.
The firm already has thousands of regular customers, who pay a set rate of £10 for up to three miles, plus a sliding charge for longer distances. While this is about 20% more than the cost of a one way cab fare, the customer is saved the hassle of collecting their car the next morning. They also escape the possibility of being clamped, or being fined and banned if they risk driving their vehicle home.
One problem James and Robinson had was obtaining suitable scooters, so they decided to design their own. Based on a Japanese monkey bike, their scooter has a four stroke engine and divides into two parts for easier stowing. The pair intend to import them and convert them in the UK.
They have also done a deal with national Car Rentals to collect and deliver hire cars during the day - the perfect way to complement their evening activities and maximise profits.