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The Pros and Cons of Being an HGV Driver

Apr 6, 2023

As with any role, there are numerous pros and cons to working as an HGV driver. If you’re considering training as an HGV driver, or returning to work after retirement, this guide will help you decide if trucking is the role for you.

At Anthony Jones we specialise in insurance for the transport and logistics sector. So if you have any questions about your insurance needs as an HGV driver, call us on 020 8290 9099 or email commercial.motor@anthonyjones.com.

Pros of Working as an HGV Driver

There are a number of benefits of working as an HGV driver, including:

  • An abundance of work
  • Independence and flexibility
  • Earning potential

We’ll go through each of these benefits these in more detail below.

HGV Driving Job Security

The UK is currently facing a shortage of HGV drivers. Train as an HGV driver and you’ll always have work. Even when there isn’t a national shortage of drivers, there’s always an abundance of work – whether you’re setting out as an independent owner operator, working as part of an umbrella company, or working for a retailer or logistics firm.

Working as an HGV driver also guarantees a level of job security. No matter what happens, the world will always need dependable qualified drivers.

Independence and Flexibility of HGV Driving

Work for an umbrella company, or as an independent owner operator, and you can effectively set your own hours. You get to work whenever you want, and to some extent, wherever you want.

The role can be as varied as you want, too. Spend some time making deliveries in your local area, then spice things up with a trip across the UK, or even across the continent. If you’ve got the qualifications, where you go and what you do is entirely up to you.

Earning Potential for HGV Drivers

A fully-qualified HGV driver can earn around £32,000 a year.

If you take the independent route, you could earn much more, perhaps even working up to managing your own fleet of vehicles. Yet even if you work for a haulage firm or a retailer, you might get bonuses for length of service, good safety rating, or good performance.

Cons of Working as an HGV Driver

Despite the pros, there are also cons of becoming an HGV driver. These include:

  • Complex licencing requirements
  • Long hours and loneliness
  • Some jobs aren’t as flexible as others

Again, we’ll explore each of these in more detail to help you decide whether they apply to you or would affect your decisions.

A High Bar of Entry

It’s true that anyone with a UK driving licence can train to be an HGV driver. But getting your HGV licence is by no means straightforward, and some might find the amount of tests and training involved off-putting. Plus, to stay qualified, you need to complete an additional 35 hours of training every five years.

And that’s just if you want to work for a haulage firm, an agency, or a retailer. If you want to work as an independent owner operator, you’ll have to account for numerous upfront costs. These include training fees, the cost of buying an HGV, and standard operator financial standing – not to mention your ongoing running costs.

Long Hours and Loneliness Among HGV Drivers

Some HGV drivers love how the role lets them see the world, taking them to numerous far-off places they would never have seen otherwise. But all of this travelling can take its toll. You might have to spend long weeks away from home, and unsociable hours may mean you seldom see your friends and family even if you’re just driving in your local area.

Plus, no matter where you drive, you’ll be spending many hours alone in your truck. There’s often great camaraderie among truckers, but you must also be comfortable spending long stretches with nobody but yourself for company.

And speaking of long hours, they come with the territory for HGV drivers. There are rules to the number of hours you can drive in a week. But still, some drivers complain of boredom, monotony, and the difficulties of staying alert behind the wheel for extended periods.

Yet if you’ve a tight deadline to meet and you’re stuck in an endless traffic jam, that feeling of monotony can quickly transform into a feeling of stress and anxiety.

Lack of Independence and Flexibility with Larger Firms

Work as an independent owner operator and you’ll be your own boss. You’ll make your own rules. But work for a haulage firm, or through a recruitment agency, and you’ll most likely have to follow someone else’s rules.

You’ll have to carefully log all of your hours and all of your miles, and you’ll probably have to complete extensive paperwork for every journey you make. Plus, some firms like to monitor their drivers very closely indeed. Some use technology to record your behaviour behind the wheel. Others take a more direct approach, using cameras to keep tabs on their drivers in real-time.

So working as an HGV driver can give you a peerless feeling of freedom and independence. Or it can feel like a tightly controlled role in which your every move is recorded and assessed. It all depends on who you work for.

Is Trucking the Life For You?

There are many benefits to working as an HGV driver. Yet the role certainly has its downsides, just like any job.

But regardless of what type of trucker you become, you’ll need dedicated commercial vehicle insurance to cover yourself, your vehicle, and any goods you transport.

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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