Getting started as an owner driver is easy, and has the advantage of potentially becoming profitable pretty quickly due to the lack of overheads. However, there are some things to consider as you start, and this guide hopes to show you the kind of things you will need and the pitfalls to avoid when going freelance and becoming an owner driver.
What You Need:
Firstly, you need a vehicle. This is pretty damn obvious for anyone getting started as an owner driver, but it is still worth stating. The vehicle should be no more than six years old and can actually be of any size really – though if you’re serious about making this work, then investing in a larger van (as opposed to using a hatchback car) will allow you to transport larger loads, and thus charge more.
Secondly a mobile phone is all important for new owner drivers. These days, people who don’t own one are something of a rarity, so this shouldn’t be an issue: All the same, it’s important to be able to keep in touch with others from the road, so getting hold of such an ‘unusual’ and ‘exotic’ device is all important.
Finally, owner driver insurance is all important. The array of options can be confusing, but there are three types of insurance you need to look into, which I shall deal with now:
Courier insurance is all important for new owner drivers. There are three types of insurance you need to look into:
Any vehicle on the road must be insured – that’s a legal requirement which most people are aware of! When you contact the insurance company, a common temptation is to say your vehicle is for business use – but actually be sure to specify that you need it for courier use. The difference is that you will be carrying goods for others for profit, and this will affect your quote, and any subsequent claims you need to make!
Goods in Transit Insurance
It’s worth stumping up the extra cash for ‘Goods in Transit’ insurance as well. This will protect your cargo against loss and damage, generally covering you for goods up to a value of £10,000. Your main insurance company might cover this, but if not, then it’s very easy to get this from specialist courier insurance dealers. This is especially worth considering for new owner drivers, as it makes you seem more legitimate and people will be more comfortable dealing with you.
This one may not be as necessary as the other two, but is still worth considering, especially for new owner drivers with butter fingers! This will cover you for incidents involving your customers, for example if you drop their same-day-delivery box of anvils on their foot…
While not strictly insurance, it’s also worth mentioning at this point that as you’ll be self employed, new owner drivers need to sort out their taxes with the Inland Revenue and arrange any credits they may be entitled to. At this point it may be worth hiring an accountant who will know how to save you money by understanding what expenses you can claim. Alternatively, if you know book keeping, there is nothing to stop you from managing your own finances, if you’re not too busy with all the owner driver jobs you hope to be inundated with!
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