November 28, 2022

Once you’ve done the hard bit and got your HGV licence, you may want to consider your options. There are different ways you can put your licence to work, and it’s a good idea to check out the options to see which one works best for you and your lifestyle.

There’s great flexibility for drivers who can operate HGV’s, and it’s worth taking a bit of time to determine what is going to suit your needs. You’ll want to take a few things into consideration before you start, but the main three options you have are: Owner Driver, PAYE driver and LTD Driver. Let’s explore them in more detail and you can decide for yourself which one is better for you.

What is Owner Driver

Owner Driver is fairly self explanatory. It means that you own a vehicle (either outright, on finance or by a rental agreement), and you operate it too. 

This option often attracts drivers with an already established career in truck driving. For many drivers, the time comes when they are ready to be their own boss, and the owner driver set up is a good way to do just that. It allows them to put their years of experience to good use, and benefit from running their own business. 

What are the Pros and Cons of Being an Owner Driver?

Pros 

You get to pick and choose your work, and your time off

All the profit is yours – you do the work, you reap the benefits

You have an asset by owning a truck which will have a resale value when the time comes to upgrade

You become part of a wider community of supportive owner drivers, with help and advice from those in the know

Cons

The added responsibility of running a business, and all the headaches that come with it

Keeping accounts – if you’re not mathematically minded you could find it a little daunting

Chasing payments – not everyone pays on time

Uncertainty of regular work / income

Tips

Decide whether to rent or buy a truck – buying will give you a better return on your investment

Insurance – do your research – are you going to be travelling abroad? Will you need a lawyer? Will you require a courtesy truck should yours be out of action?

Have some work lined up before you take the plunge

 Confirm prices beforehand, and always get proof of delivery

Make sure you have all the necessary extras in the way of safety equipment in the event of a breakdown

Familiarise yourself with a good software accounting package, or get yourself a reliable accountant to avoid future problems

What is the Difference Between a PAYE and a LTD Driver?

Drivers who are not self employed are often now asked to choose between the PAYE scheme, or operating through a limited company.

Agencies are choosing to say, ‘No’ to entering into a contract with self employed drivers. 

Here are some of the differences that exist between these two types of drivers:

In simple terms, operating under the PAYE scheme means that drivers are taxed as employees. 

Those who choose to operate through a LTD company are subject to the self assessment tax return process.

PAYE employees will have to pay tax and make National Insurance contributions based on the amount they earn in any given tax year.

LTD company drivers, on the other hand, can take advantage of tax efficient strategies, resulting in lower tax contributions than their PAYE counterparts.

PAYE drivers benefit from statutory employment rights

LTD company drivers do not receive employment rights

PAYE employees cannot recover business expenses, in the main

LTD drivers benefit from claiming a wide range of expenses

PAYE means there are no admin tasks to complete, and the driver can get on with the job in hand.

LTD company drivers are subject to tax, accounting and filing responsibilities.

Which is Best – Owner Driver, PAYE or LTD?

The real question should be, ‘which is best for you?’

The great thing about these options is that you have the flexibility of deciding which one suits you and your lifestyle the most? You may have financial or family obligations, or you may have time constraints that limit the hours and locations within which you can work. Alternatively, this may be a second job and you are not relying on it as much as someone who works full time as a truck driver.

Before you decide which system fits in with your lifestyle, it’s a good idea to consider your own strengths and weaknesses, from a business perspective. If you’re not particularly organised, or have trouble with maintaining accounts, perhaps the owner driver option is not for you. Alternatively, if you want to take your driving knowledge to the next level then perhaps it’s time for you to bite the bullet and set up on your own. 

Hopefully the details herer have given you food for thought, and you can use it as a starting point when deciding which direction to take your truck driving career next. 

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