SO YOU WANT TO START YOUR OWN TRANSPORT BUSINESS?
This page will hopefully give you some insight into the rules and
regulations that you need to know before you start up your own
The information here is based on our own experiences when we first
started up. Laws are changing all the time and this page is only
designed as a guide and should not be taken as Law.
I suggest the first thing you do is to call a few companies.
Make sure there is work out there for you and you can start as soon
as you get your vehicle on the road. Also check out their credit
terms. Can you wait 60 or 90 days before you get paid?
Ok, first things first. Do you have the available funds. First of
all you need a lorry. One of the things you need to consider is what
type of work are you going to do and what kind of vehicle will you
need to do the work. When your considering your finances one of the
things you should be aware of is how many axles your vehicle has.
The more axles, the cheaper the excise duty.(Road Tax)
When you apply for your Operators Licence, you need to be able to
prove you are of good financial standing. This means that you have
to have £5800 in the bank before you even start!!! I know,
I know... a load of crap, but that's the law. If you are thinking
of putting on more than one, you need £5800 for the first vehicle
and around £2500 for each vehicle after that.
On to the actual vehicle. If you are looking to buy your lorry,
chances are it's going to be an hire purchase agreement.
(Unless of course you've got 20 grand tucked away somewhere!)
You're going to need a deposit, usually around 10% - 15% and of
course VAT. (The vat is on the cost of the whole vehicle,
not the deposit.) Not forgetting the road tax of course.
As I've said before, the more axles you have the cheaper the tax.
3x3 running at a revenue weight of not more than 38 ton is around
£1280 for the year or £704 for six months. 3x2 at the same weight
is around £2820 for the year or £1551 for six months. These were
the prices before April 2000 budget so hopefully (yeh right!) these
prices may be down a little...
This might now be a good time to think about fuel. Can't do without
it I'm afraid. The best way of getting your fuel is with an agency
card. Unfortunately, a lot of fuel companies want trade references
before giving you a card. ARE THEY STUPID OR SOMETHING? They know
you're only just starting up and therefore have no trade references!
You can overcome this sometimes by giving a (usually hefty) deposit.
You don't wanna do that! Call around, eventually you will find a
company that is willing to give you a chance although it might
give you a headache in the meantime.
After sorting out all that, you have to be aware that the chances
are, you're not going to get paid for the first 60 days.
This is on a usual 30 day credit agreement. Unfortunately
you have to do 60 days to get your first 30 days and then every
30 days thereafter. Remember in the meantime that the mortgage
still needs paying and the household bills are still coming in.
It may also help if you can feed yourself during this very stressful
time... not to mention the ever desirable fuel companies who might
not want to wait till you get your first cheque!
Who said this would be easy?
OK, you've got the work sorted and you have the money ready.
Where to next. Well one of the first things you need is an Operators
Licence. Before you can apply for that, you need an Operating Centre
and a Transport Manager. It might be worth noting here that you
should really apply for the licence at least 9 weeks BEFORE you
Basically what the Traffic Office is looking for in an Operating
Centre is somewhere off road for parking, and somewhere preferably
away from neighbours. (the last one is in your favour, the less
people near it, the less people can complain about the noise or
nuisance you may cause!) We have a friend, who has a farm. Hey
Presto! Operating Centre.
Your intention of using your chosen place as an operating centre
must be advertised in your local paper. This is to notify the locals
of your intention and to give them an opportunity to protest. In your
favour, they must have reasonable grounds for their protest to be
valid, if not you'll get it anyway. There are more people who can
protest but I don't want to go into all that here...
Right. Got your Opertaing Centre, now you need a Transport Manager.
A Transport Manager is someone who holds a CPC.
(Certificate of Professional Competence). This person doesn't have
to be you, but can be a nominated person who agrees to be your
manager. If you don't know anyone... go for it yourself.
There are courses all over the country, or home study course if this
would suit better. The exams are held roughly every three months.
There is also a little matter of 'Good Repute'. You automatically
have good repute unless you have lost it because you have had a
conviction relating specifically to vehicles - such as drivers
hours offences and which have occurred within the last 5 years
OR convictions for anything else and which are not 'spent' -
that is, beyond a sort of 'sell by' date.
You are the operator and as such, you are totally responsible
for maintaining your vehicle. You can choose to have this done by an
outside firm, but you have to prove that you have made a maintenance
agreement with the firm in question. Usually only requires a
signature and name and address of the garage.
Have I put you off yet?
This is not my intention, honest!
There are so many laws, rules and regulations out there that
I couldn't possibly mention them all. As I've said at the beginning,
this page is to give you a rough idea of what you need to do BEFORE
you can get your company up and running. Most of it, (in my opinion)
is a load of rubish, but it is also the law, albeit perhaps a bit
Be assured, if any of the laws have changed, it's not in the hauliers
favour!!! I recently read in a trucking magazine that some nice man,
sitting in his nice little office somewhere, wants would be it Owner
Drivers to have £20,000 in the bank before they are even considered
to get an 'O' License. There are THOUSANDS (figures elude me at the
moment) of Owner Operators on the road at this time.
Where would the big companies be without us? Most, if not all of
them, use sub-contractors, without having to give us any of the
credit for getting the work done.
If you get past all these little hiccups then you are ready to go.