YW Tanker Truck

Becoming A Freelance Driver

Something I get asked often is “how do I become a freelance driver”. More and more drivers throughout the UK are becoming self-employed and are searching for work themselves. In an ever changing economic climate is freelance the solution to regular employment for drivers?

Yorkshire Water Truck

What Is A Freelance Driver

A freelance driver is a driver that is registered self-employed or who trades under their own limited company. They usually drive either HGV’s or Coaches and don’t own any vehicle other than their own car (i.e don’t own a truck etc). Freelance drivers instead of working for just one company work for many and tend to cover for more permanent drivers while on sickness or holiday, their contract duration can be from 1 day to several months. Freelance drivers actively search for their own work are deal directly with companies, as opposed to dealing with an employment agency.

Why Go Freelance Driving?

Work is very tough at the moment and many companies can’t guarantee much. Driving agencies are forced to share the work out and companies can’t afford to pay the rates they used to. By turning freelance and searching for work, freelance drivers can dictate higher earnings and secure longer working contracts, this is done by cutting out employment agencies. Greater flexibility is also a key factor for many deciding to go it alone, companies can restrict holiday time, agencies are irregular, but freelance drivers have the pick.

Malcolm Truck

How To Start Freelance Driving

The first thing to do is to seek professional help from an accountant, they can instruct you on how to register self-employed or how to set-up a limited company, you’ll need to do either before trading as a freelance driver. There is no cost to register self-employed, though you’ll have to pay for the services of an accountant after every year of trading (currently around £200). If you chose to set-up a limited company the cost can be much greater, though trading under a limited company does have greater benefits and the companies you deal with will prefer it. Speak to your accountant about registering for VAT, done correctly this can really improve your profits!

Once you’ve sorted with the legal side all you have to do is secure some good contracts, though I personally have never actually used a contract of employment between myself and a company this seems to be the terminology used. Companies will usually hire drivers on a verbal contract (most often done over the phone) that usually consists of clarification of rates only.

Sainsburys Truck

Invoicing Companies

This is my favorite part for obvious reasons. Usually after a week you should send your invoice into the company. I chose to use a program to create my invoices, SIMS (Simple Invoice Management System) has been my trusted companion for many years, I find the layout simple and easy to use. Alternatively, you can use a Microsoft Office Word template, though requires a little more calculating, is free. Download

How Much To Charge

This depends greatly on where in the UK you live, I live in York and comfortably receive £14 – £20 (plus VAT) an hour Monday to Friday. Since you’re self-employed the only factor deciding how much to charge is you. When deciding on a rate, try to think about how much work the company can offer you, if the job is a one-off you should negotiate a higher rate than if the company can offer you 6 months guaranteed work. Always think about your own costs of working, it’s not a good idea to quote your lower rate to a company which is a 2 hour commute. Also, if you’re using a skill that many others don’t possess you should also quote higher, for example if you’re ADR trained and are carrying chemicals.

The rate you decide on should also reflect upon the time when you’re not working, for example holidays and season quiet times. I find it best to take holidays in January, February or March when work is at a low.

Freelance/Self-employed drivers should consider Freelance Driver insurance.