Starting your own haulage business is likely to take a substantial initial investment – even if you start small with just one lorry and lease the vehicles you need rather than buying them.
It is quite a business commitment, therefore, and for that reason alone, one that you need to take on with your eyes wide open and preparations carefully planned.
What you need to know
Despite the size of the investment you are likely to need for a start in the haulage industry, it remains essential to the UK economy and continues to grow in value year upon year.
But it is also a regulated industry – with more official hoops for you to jump through than many another kind of business. Here are some of them:
- whoever is going to be driving the HGV you use for haulage – whether that is yourself or someone you employ – the appropriate driving licence is a necessity;
- if you have just medium sized vehicles of between 3,500 kg and 7,500 kg in weight or Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM), the relevant licence is Category C1 – to which you might want to add a C1+E suffix to tow a trailer heavier than 750 kg;
- to drive a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) of more than 7,500 kg MAM, the driver needs a Category C licence, and a C+E licence to use the HGV to tow a trailer heavier than 750 kg;
- as with any other motor vehicle, the law requires that you arrange a minimum level of third party insurance for any vehicle you are going to be operating – but since any one of these is likely to represent a substantial capital investment for your business you might want the safety and security of comprehensive cover against all forms of accidental damage too;
- when arranging your HGV insurance, you must make clear to the insurer the nature of the vehicle and of the haulage purposes it is intended to serve;
Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)
- anyone wanting to drive for a living also needs to pass the Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) – and to complete a minimum of 35 hours of ongoing training within every five-year period in order to keep the CPC up to date;
Goods Vehicle Operator’s Licence
- in addition to the necessary qualifications that need to be held by any driver of your business’ HGV, you also need a Goods Vehicle Operator’s Licence;
- the application details the type and nature of your business, its principal officers, the number and type of vehicles to be covered by the licence, and whether you are going to be operating only domestically or internationally;
- you are also required to give details about the financial status of your business, together with a record of any convictions – and penalties – of anyone named in your application;
Acquiring your vehicles
- the website returnloads.net publishes a useful guide to starting your own haulage business and stresses the importance of acquiring the appropriate number and type of vehicles you are going to need;
- it also makes the point, however, that these do not need to be purchased outright, but may be operated under some form of lease – operating leases and finances leases being the most popular.
Starting your own haulage business is clearly a serious matter, but if you keep to the various regulations and requirements required of any such business, your business might enjoy significant rewards.