Another OD Startup Thread - Sorry

Hi from the posts i have been reading i have been taking note of your advice about the startup of a new owner driver, i am currently about a year off from starting this venture as im currently serving in the forces and not due to get out until Jan 2014 because of tour commitments.

I was looking at working for myself as an OD and buying a used truck and subbing using a hired trailer to minimise costs, i am yet to get my CPC for both driver and operator as you may well know the army are exempt from CPC and drivers hours (in a way).

I worked in civy street as a Class 2 driver doing european work and national work for about 2-3 years before joining the army and getting my Class 1 so i have little experiance in artics but have driven loads of waggon and drag, I live in Dover, Kent and was wanting your opinion on what the quality of work is like down this way, i know we have a few container ports ect, but was wanting to get a bit of info from someone that is local to me, also how much would you recomend starting with? so far i have about £10k, I have loads of experiance in moving containers and flat racks and also hold a HI-AB cert and was thinking of buying a tractor unit with a large HI-AB for loading and unloading of containers.

I have also look around my local area for employed jobs and have been offerd a class 1 job running local for a small family owned company for £495 Take home a week PAYE (after tax and other deductions).

I am a hard worker and dont want millions altho it would be great, im happy to plod along earning £18k a year doing what i love, so any advice you can throw at me would be great, Thanks - Carl

Until you get your bearings burn somebody else’s rubber. Civvy St.,new career is enough to cope with without gambling your pot.

By that how much experiance do you think i need? i drive in the army and have done for 4yrs altho its not a patch on the civy work iv done its still something?

I think I would tend to agree that if you have a decent PAYE job on offer then it might be better to start out with that. However, if you are set on giving it a go, then two firms in the Dover area which take on subbies are Heritage and Sealane, although I’ve never been on for either so don’t know what they are like to sub for, perhaps somebody else will.

You will need a fair bit more than £10k though, even for a one-vehicle licence then you have to maintain a minimum balance of £7,700 at all times (I believe this is coming down by a few hundred pounds in the near future), and depending on what work you do you’ll probably have to fund yourself for a month at the very least so £4,000+ for diesel, and you’ll also have to lay out the VAT on the truck if you buy one, as that can’t be built in to the finance. Then there’s about £1,000 for the O licence and a fair few other start-up costs.

You’ll find a fair bit of information and opinion in past threads, although it does seem to be the case that the most information and advice will be from a certain somebody who has never operated one in his life. :wink:

Army experience is very little help in the real world, drivers with no experience before going out the army often find it a very steep learning curve!

My advice would be to take the job you’ve been offered , refresh your memory of the job, and think again about being an owner driver in a year or two

Hire & reward is a different ball game to piloting an army truck. No doubt you can handle the equipment but the reality of civvy st. is time equals money & you work under pressure until you get the experience that turns stress into a routine habit.
Nobody is knocking your driving skills but a lot of us have been in the army & know it operates a lot like the wonderful police forces,profit is not a priority.
See how long it will take you to make £10k before you blow it?

here you go…

i’m in the middle of all this - i got my dcpc - i got the exams for ocpc in june £165 — o lic application needs £7,700 in the bank at all times, you gotta have a yard of some description suitable for keeping whatever you get, your o lic costs £1660 just for the o lic, there are some other charges plus you got first up running costs diesel £4kish p/m, insurance, tax, finance, rent on the yard, rent for the trailer although you’ll prolly be far better off buying a secondhand skelly for what you want, then you gotta your wages so you can live and pay your normal overheads on top of this — it’s seriously hard to make it pay initially as i’m finding out. in terms of contracts try maritime they’re always looking for OD’s - plenty of shorthaul…

make sure get yourself armed with as much intel as you can - i know you’ve said 12months well you need to be sitting the ocpc exams in the next 6 months cos they only run them every quarter and you need to find a truck, a yard and build up your cash reserves - i reckon that you’ll need circa £30k all up…

i didn’t think that i’d be saying this but you’ve sourced a ■■■■ good contract working for someone else with zero hassle — why are you looking at doing this ■■?

good luck with it anyways :smiley:

Years ago lot of companys and agencys wouldnt touch ex army as very diffrent driving .

10k will just about cover your fuel till start getting paid if on 30days then you need money for insurance breakdown O licence and purchasing of a truck .

10k is pretty much a drop in the ocean

Take the PAYE job

foxy stars:

  • i reckon that you’ll need circa £30k all up…

I’d say that’s pretty much spot-on.

can’t believe this - someone actually agreeing with me :grimacing:

thanks harry :grimacing:

ok note taken on the finances side of things, i know what you mean by the driving in the army its a shame because when i went to do my class one test, i seen so many idiots getting given it as if they just opend a cereal box and found it, they cast a bad light on the ones that enjoy driving, i will most likely take the PAYE job to get me going and save a few quid more, and hopefully have the capital to start up in 2015, that gives me pleanty of time to get ready and even make some friends / contacts in some companys.

Thanks for the advice.


I’d say 2015 would be a reasonable target date in your circumstances, it would give you time to get acclimatised to life outside the Army, to do your research, take your Operator’s CPC and get some more funding behind you. One way or the other, I’m sure the economic situation will be very different in 2015, whether that is for the better or worse isn’t within my remit to say.

I make a reasonable living at it, and I get enormous satisfaction about it all being my own trainset and for me, job satisfaction has always been as important as the money, we all spend a lot of time at work and as you’ll read on the main forum there are folk who have pretty miserable jobs working for greedy and unsympathetic taskmasters.

I’d neither encourage nor discourage you, you’re a big boy now and old enough to make your own decisions, if you do decide to proceed I’ll give you, or anyone, the best and hopefully impartial advice I can. For the time being, I’d say the PAYE job is the way to go, look on it as training you get paid to do while you get used to Civvy Street and then evolve.

foxy stars:
can’t believe this - someone actually agreeing with me :grimacing:

thanks harry :grimacing:

Lol! Only because me & a few others that I know have bought the t-shirt,& we are lucky to be left with that after all the vultures have picked over the bones. Problem with newbies they think the o/d’s are trying to hide the pot of gold, but it’s just the opposite. No offence intended to Carl.
Lots good sound advice on here.

I started up wi 40k from scratch. I might see it all back one day :wink:

If you want to make a small fortune out of trucking, start with a large fortune. I started with nothing & finished with less but thought myself lucky to walk away without owing anything. :laughing:

I started up wi 40k from scratch. I might see it all back one day :wink:

Me about the same although if I packed it in tomorrow, sold the truck, closed the business account, transferred the money into my personal account and waited for the final two month’s Gregory’s money to come in then I would be ahead by enough to have made it all worthwhile, absolutely no doubt about it and had lots of fun along the way.

If you put a truck on the road with your own money then you’ll make a better return than if you left the money on deposit, if you do it with borrowed money then the interest payments will wipe out any profit you make. I had to get my first year’s insurance on instalments and I’ll have paid £790 in interest on £3,000 by the time it’s paid for, I borrowed £15,000 from Close Asset Finance towards the £25,000 purchase price of the truck and over three years that will cost me £21,800.

I’m about four months away from insurance renewal, this time I’ll pay it all up front, hopefully when the truck needs replacing I’ll have saved enough to pay for that outright too with my current one as deposit. The advice I always give to wannabe owner-drivers is “By all means do it with your own money but don’t ever put your family home up as security”.

I was looking at working for myself as an OD and buying a used truck and subbing using a hired trailer to minimise costs

I am a hard worker and dont want millions altho it would be great, im happy to plod along earning £18k a year doing what i love

Ha I knew Rob K would be along soon! Owning my own truck was my childhood dream, it’s all I wanted to do along with drive them. But then I started driving for a living and soon realised that my dream was somewhat misguided! Work for someone would be my advice. Find a decent job and stick with it. It’s what I did and for me I made the right choice. No stress, just drive from a to b to c and that’s that. No stress, no worrying about loads, fuel prices, delays, breakdowns, chasing payments etc. Good luck to the chaps that do it but I think it would do my head in.

Ha I knew Rob K would be along soon!

Me too. :wink:

Harry Monk:
You’ll find a fair bit of information and opinion in past threads, although it does seem to be the case that the most information and advice will be from a certain somebody who has never operated one in his life. :wink:

For the benefit of the OP, and the ever-present RobK, I will just expand a little on earnings. Then it’s up to anyone to decide if earnings are reasonable, or if they wouldn’t get out of bed for them. Being a long-term benefits claimant, RobK is probably already firmly entrenched in the latter camp, but here goes anyway.

A month will either have four invoicable weeks or five, depending on where the days fall, there will be eight four-week months and four five-week months in any given year. 52/12 = 4, carry 4.

In a four-week month my company pays me wages of £600. This is below the PAYE and NI threshold so I don’t pay either, although I still get a NI credit. It pays me £25.38 night-out money and £2 a day meal allowance, together these comes to about £550.

Then, because I lent it the money to get started, it makes me a loan repayment every month of £1,000. Obviously I don’t pay tax on that, because it’s a loan repayment. So the company pays me a total of £2,150 nett for a four-week month.

In a five-week month, my company makes a £2,000 loan repayment so that’s £3,150. I’ve been going for eight months now but because I’m on “Thirty days end-of-month” terms, I didn’t start paying myself until September (but will still get paid for two months after I stop) and over six months I’ve paid myself £14,900 which is an average of £2,483.33 a month. Plus, virtually every item of clothing I have bought since I started, every tool, a telescopic ladder, a laptop, lunch at the Toby Carvery today blah blah blah has been paid for by the company even though I make extensive personal use of them, and the company has a stronger bank balance every month.

Plus, I enjoy doing what I do. Possibly I could earn marginally more driving a Tesco lorry on unpopular shifts but that would seriously interfere with life’s other obligations, children, girlfriend, sleep etc and that would make me very unhappy and quite possibly even ill.

But even if the OP was content to do something he loved for £18,000 a year then I would still have more respect for him than for a £71-a-week dole bludger who has never achieved anything other than sniping at folk who have more gumption and a stronger work ethic than him.