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.
Photo by TruckPR
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 be of any size really though if youre 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 dont own one are something of a rarity, so this shouldnt be an issue: All the same, its 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 a legal requirement that most people are aware of! When you contact the insurance company, a common temptation is to say your vehicle is for business use but 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
Its 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 its 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, its also worth mentioning at this point that as youll 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 finances, if youre not too busy with all the owner driver jobs you hope to be inundated with!