With so much more shopping happening online these days, there is a growing demand for more couriers on the roads. Many individuals choose to start a courier service because it offers more freedom, allowing you to choose your own working hours and therefore fit it around your daily life.
Although there are many benefits to launching a career as a courier, there are factors to consider before you take the first step.
One of the upsides of a career in this sector is that you don’t need to worry about premises, equipment or other start-up essentials. However, you obviously need some sort of transportation. Depending on the service that you offer, this can be anything from a bike or car to a van or lorry. It goes without saying, the more space you have in your vehicle, the more items you can transport.
Considering your vehicle will be paramount to your work, you need to consider the running costs that will be incurred, for example, fuel. Also, you need to make sure that you are continually up to date with insurance, tax, MOT and that you have a valid driver’s license.
As with any job, ensuring that it is a viable financial option is paramount. There are many different types of courier services and therefore, a wide range of potential incomes. You can visit Glassdoor.co.uk and compare and contrast all of the various organisations and hourly rates in order to get a better idea of the overall financial options.
Another aspect to consider is how much money you will be paying out. You need to make sure that your income is viable, even after you deduct any essential payments. As already mentioned, this includes the cost of your vehicle and its upkeep, but it can also include the cost of advertising, mobile phones and any unexpected outgoings, such as emergency maintenance.
There are no qualifications required in order to become a courier; in fact, that’s one of the reasons why so many people choose this profession. This being said, qualifications will not only make you better at your job, but they may also make you more attractive to prospective employers.
In terms of options, there are City and Guilds courses for Driving Goods Vehicles, or you could even consider an apprenticeship, which will allow you to learn as you work. One way in which to become instantly more employable is by joining a professional body such as the National Courier and Despatch Association.
The majority of couriers are self-employed, which means they have to set up a business and pay taxes. When starting a business, the first decision will be whether you will be a sole trader or work through a limited company. Both options have their benefits, but becoming a sole trader tends to be much more straightforward and is, therefore, a safer option for newcomers.
When you’re setting up your business, you need to register with HMRC and complete self-assessment each year that you’re self-employed. HMRC will calculate the amount of tax that you owe and you will have a deadline in which to pay this amount.
When it comes to taxes or any aspects of business for that matter, record keeping is paramount. Recording, retaining and organising your financial information can pay dividends when it comes to tax season.
Registering with HMRC and the tax system, in general, can seem complicated at first, but with the right help, the process is much simpler. We at Salhan Accountants offer a specialised accountancy service specifically aimed at delivery service drivers. U Deliver offers an award-winning service, helping drivers in their bookkeeping, self-assessment and overall finances.
Insurance provides peace of mind that you are protected, should the worse happen. There are different types of insurance policies available to couriers, for example, public liability insurance, which covers your business for damage or injury claims. Another policy which is worth thinking about is legal expenses insurance. This may not seem like a pressing concern, but legal expenses can become a problem for any business, for example, if someone lodges a false claim.
There are also legally required insurance policies, for example, ensuring your vehicle is insured and employers’ liability insurance, if anyone works for you in the business.
If you are looking for more information on starting a business, don’t hesitate to visit Salhan Accountants. We offer a variety of services, ensuring you are meeting all of your business requirements, freeing you up to focus on the job at hand.