Do you love driving your car? Would you like to drive for money? If your answer is yes, then becoming a self-employed courier driver can be a good option for you. Choosing a career as a courier driver provides you with the freedom to be your own boss and set your own hours. You can choose to work as a freelancer or a full-time worker. No investment or quitting of your current job is required to start working as a self-employed courier driver. However, you can also do this to earn some extra income in your spare time.
Due to current COVID restrictions, there is an increase in the online shopping demand, which has ultimately increased the demand for couriers and made this as a comfortable and preferred work option.
Who is a Self-Employed Courier Driver?
A self-employed courier driver is a person who is responsible for collecting and delivering the parcels to their customers as per specified deadlines. Self-employed courier drivers choose their working hours, manage their workload and fulfil their order commitments everyday with no boss to look over their shoulders. Not having a boss may be a great feeling. However, you can not ignore that the whole responsibility is on your shoulders to provide a professional courier services and earn better projects in the future. As a delivery driver, you need to provide a professional, reliable and efficient services to your customers to leave a great impression for better prospects and contracts in future.
How to become a Self-Employed Courier Driver?
Look at some of the great tips from current drivers that may help you initiate this new career –
- Get a Vehicle – If you plan to initiate your career as a courier driver, the first and the foremost requirement is getting a vehicle, depending on the type of courier you are dealing with. Try to invest in a big van so that you can deliver maximum parcels to your customer at one go, and the result is earning more money. Make sure the vehicle you are driving is fully serviced and has a valid MOT. Don’t spend too much on the vehicle as you need to manage other costs too.
- Mobile phone – A mobile phone is certainly a most important requirement nowadays. Try to grab a deal which offers you a large number of free calls every month. Direct communication and frequently answering the customer orders can build a good impression among the customers and provide you with more orders in the coming future. A separate phone for business may also make it easy for you to workout tax claims.
A computer or a laptop may not be considered so important. Still, if you prefer buying a computer, it may help you makecalculations, keep track of records, build or manage a website etc. Don’t forget that you need to send invoices to the courier companies otherwise you won’t get paid.
- Estimate your earnings – Take each cost into consideration and work out your earnings. There are many expenses which you need to consider before going ahead with starting a courier delivery business. If you do not take all costs into consideration, there may be chances that you’ll undersell your services, and you may go into a loss situation. Some expenses for your consideration include –
- Buying a car/van (If you already have a car, then you can’t use that)
- Mobile phone
- Maintenance of the vehicle
- Advertising cost/Promotions
As a self-employed courier driver, your income increase depends on the hours you work, the more you travel and the more the parcels you deliver to your customers. According to “The National Career Service”, a courier driver’s income ranges from £14500 to £40000 in a year.
- Think about whether you need any courier qualification – You don’t need any formal qualifications to initiate your business as a self-employed courier driver. A driving license and a passion for driving are required however. You could also take a step ahead and join a professional body such as NCDA (National Courier and Dispatch Association), which may boost your reputation and improves your image as you a reliable service provider. However, some people may also join apprenticeship to learn the trade before establishing as a courier driver. A driving Goods Vehicle Course may also be considered by people before starting a business as a self-employed courier driver.
- Finding work – After initiating your work as a courier driver, make sure a steady income is coming into your business, which will only be possible when you find regular clients. To establish regular clients or boost your business further, you may need to work on the following –
- Advertise your name locally (Try to reach out to a maximum number of customers via social media).
- Establish strong communication with your new customers and make it super easy for them to contact you. They can refer you to many of their contacts, which ultimately increase your chances of new customers/business.
Generally, self-employed courier drivers are engaged with various courier companies via contracts. You can visit the official website of various courier companies that will help you find regular work, reduce costs, boost your business and even allow you to promote yourself in a better way. Please make a note that courier jobs may take time to really take off, but whenever you complete a task of delivering a parcel to a high standard at customer’s doorstep, it establishes your reliability among the customers, which may transform into new business in the future and maximise your chances of getting new work.
- Focus on building your brand name – As a self-employed courier driver, you’re collecting and delivering parcels to your customers at their doorstep. Still, it is not just about driving and delivering; you must take time and focus on building/boosting your business. There are many other duties which you need to perform to take your business sky high –
- Regular tracking of your deliveries.
- Working out costs and managing them properly.
- Tracking of name and customer signatures of the person who collected the parcel.
- Daily admin tasks.
- Keeping a record of your business accounts.
- Website Maintenance (If you’re running your business through a website)
- Register your courier business with HMRC and pay the due taxes– Keep track of your earnings and expenses and register your courier business with HMRC. Make sure you submit a self-assessment tax return and pay the due taxes. Not paying the right amount of tax could lead to fines and penalties from HMRC in the future.
- Look into your courier insurance needs – Whether you are involved in any business, insurance is the most needed step to cover any future threats. Public liability insurance covers yourself from any damage or injury claims that can be made against your business. You may also consider insuring your goods in transit to protect your items from any damage on the way. If anyone starts working for you, the employer’s liability insurance is a legal requirement. Despite these, there are many other insurances which you may avail for your business –
- Vehicle insurance for self-employed courier business
- Legal expenses insurance which covers the legal cost etc.
Good sense of direction – When you drive, you may have to face many difficult traffic situations or encounter road closures. Nowadays, people use satellite navigations to reach destinations easily, but it would be better not to rely on it completely and concentrate on training yourself. A good road/direction sense makes you ready to combat challenging traffic and road situations. When you know the right path for your destination, you’ll reach the same on time and keep your customer happy.
How can Limelight help?
Limelight Accountancy was started in 1993, become a subsidiary of DNS Associates in 2016, having the main aim of providing accountancy and tax services to the small companies. We are specialised in dealing with small owner-managed businesses like sole traders, Freelancers, partnerships, or small limited companies and offer a comprehensive range of accountancy and tax services from start-up to final accounts, including bookkeeping, payroll, VAT and tax returns.