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The Cost of Being an Owner Operator

Feb 9, 2023

If you want to be an HGV driver, you can enjoy a much more flexible working schedule – and potentially a much more lucrative career – if you work as an independent owner operator.

How to Become an HGV Driver

We’ve got a detailed guide to the steps to take to qualify as an HGV driver. It covers the qualifications you’ll need, the tests to take, and the various rules that apply to HGV drivers.

For more on how to become an HGV Driver, see our complete guide to becoming an HGV driver.

Types of HGV Driver

Once you’re qualified, you can either find work at a logistics or haulage firm, or as a fleet driver for a private company. Or you can go independent as an owner operator, working for yourself or else contracting for larger haulage companies.

In this post, we’ll focus specifically on the costs associated with being an owner operator, to help you decide if this approach is right for you.

Qualification You Need to be an Owner Operator

To qualify as an HGV driver, you’ll need:

  • A relevant driving licence.
  • A Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

You can read our full guide to the qualifications you’ll need to become an HGV driver.

It will cost you money to achieve these qualifications.

HGV Licence Application Costs

Getting a provisional HGV licence is free so long as you already have a valid driving licence. But it will cost you £34 to apply for your first provisional licence.

HGV Training Costs

After this, a five day course to get a Category C licence (which will qualify you to drive vehicles over 3,500kg) can cost at least £1,500. And if you want to progress from this to a Category C+E licence (which will qualify you to drive vehicles with trailers over 750kg), it may cost you at least another £1,000 on top of the initial training fees.

You’ll also have to work through a number of HGV practical and theory tests. The fees for these vary from £11 to £141 depending on the test, and when you do it. You can see the most up-to-date fees for HGV qualifications here.

Periodic Driver CPC Costs

Once you’re qualified as an HGV driver, you’ll have to complete 35 hours of CPC training every five years to stay qualified. The cost of this ongoing training can vary, but it could be between £40 and £90 per seven hours of training, and significantly more for specialist course (such as hazardous goods ADR training.)

So you’ll notice that the more advanced training you get, the more you’ll have to pay. As an owner operator, investing in advanced training might be a price worth paying. Because the more qualifications you get, the more lucrative loads you can transport.

How Much Does it Cost to Buy an HGV

As the name implies, owner operators own their own vehicles. The type of vehicle you drive will depend on the type of licence you get, and the type of work you want to do.

Though the price of HGVs can fluctuate, you might expect to pay:

  • Between £10,000 and £30,000 for a tractor unit.
  • Up to £20,000 for a rigid unit.
  • Around £15,000 for a trailer

Standard Operator Financial Standing

You need to demonstrate that you have certain financial resources in place to own and operate certain vehicles. This is to satisfy the traffic commissioner that you’ll have enough money to maintain your vehicles and run your business properly.

At the time of writing, for a standard operator licence, you need to have £8,000 in the bank for your first vehicle, and an extra £4,500 for each additional vehicle.

For more, you can read the government’s full statutory guidance concerning financial standing for HGV drivers.

HGV Running Costs

There are many ongoing running costs associated with driving an HGV. These include:

  • Fuel
  • Maintenance and repairs
  • Vehicle Excise Duty (and HGVs invariably fall into the higher tax categories)

It’s hard to provide even an approximate figure for these ongoing running costs, as it will all depend on the specific vehicle you drive, and the amount of driving you do.

But at the time of writing, diesel costs an average of 1.709 per litre. And as most HGV operators must travel over 1,000 miles a week to remain economically viable, it’s easy to imagine how quickly the costs could ramp up.

Commercial Vehicle Insurance Costs

Finally, you’ll need to add specialist commercial vehicle insurance to your list of ongoing costs. Again, the exact cost of this will vary depending on the vehicle you drive, how often you drive it, the type of cargo you carry, and your driving history.

This is where an expert insurance broker can help you. They can help you ensure you don’t pay for cover you don’t need, without putting yourself at the risk of financial loss by not having cover you do need.

If you are looking for insurance for your HGV or lorry then talk to us at Anthony Jones. Our expert teams will take the time to understand your business and the risks you face. We can then help you secure the right insurance cover for your owner operator business. Talk to us today on 020 8290 9099 or email us at commercial.motor@anthonyjones.com.

Get a Quote

You can call us during normal office hours, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Outside of office hours you can either email us or leave an answerphone message and we promise to get back to you the next working day.

General enquiries:
020 8290 4560

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