Mileage Allowance Scheme for Self Employed Couriers

A typical self-employed same day courier will put a lot of effort into keeping their vehicle running costs as low as possible; the difference between their running costs and their turnover is their profit after all. It’s quite common to leave financial matters, particularly tax-related matters, to an accountant or bookkeeper and I’m always astonished how many ‘accountants’ fail to advise their same day courier clients to consider using the Mileage Allowance Scheme rather than claiming their actual vehicle running costs against tax.

Many accountants seem completely unaware that this option is available to their clients, despite it being prominently featured in the HMRC Help Sheet HS222: How to calculate your taxable profits.

Self-employed people with a turnover under the VAT registration threshold Read More…

Posted under Courier Basics, Courier Financial Issues, Mileage Allowance Scheme

Posted by Alec at 8:42 am, July 30, 2008

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ANOTHER Fuel Protest from Lymm Truck Stop

These protests are getting very boring now and have achieved nothing, nor were they ever likely to.

The plans for the latest protest were reported by the Manchester Evening News here. It makes very interesting reading, even if it is wildly innacurate and slightly sensationalist.

According to the article “In June, 80 lorry drivers – plus around two dozen other motorists – took part in another Saturday morning go-slow convoy on the M6, starting from Lymm and heading south”. Actually I counted 55 vehicles including an ice-cream van, a cement mixer, a couple of limos and a few couriers‘ vans. Maybe the spare lorry drivers were in the limos. Oh, and they Read More…

Posted under Protests & Strikes

Posted by Alec at 2:36 pm, July 29, 2008

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Courier company desperate for a bit of publicity

The Scotsman reports here that Eagle Couriers’ staff were apparently “left stunned” when they realised that a package they had collected was addressed to Nicole Kidman.

So did they send a same day courier to hand-deliver it to her on a film set? Did they deliver to her house and she signed for it at the front door in person with her curlers in and wearing a dressing-gown? Is that why the delivery caused “quite a bit of excitement”? No, they took it to the international courier company that carries out their international consignments and it was them that organised the delivery to Hollywood.

I can only imagine that couriers in Scotland must lead very sheltered lives if a delivery addressed to an actress causes Read More…

Posted under Uncategorized

Posted by Alec at 9:02 am, July 29, 2008

VOSA using ANPR technology to target overloaded vehicles

This really is old news now but it’s surprising how many commercial vehicle drivers, particularly same day couriers and other drivers of vans below 3500kg GVW, aren’t aware of this system and how much it affects their chances of being caught if they take a risk and overload their vehicle.

The system, known as VIPER, involves weight sensors actually embedded within the road surface (known as WIMS – Weigh-In Motion System) which measure the weight of each axle going over them to within 5% accuracy. The vehicle details are checked using ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) and the VOSA operative in front of his computer immediately takes the decision whether to request that the vehicle’s stopped and brought in for accurate weighing at the VOSA weighbridge.

During the trials of the system from June 2004 to December 2005 VOSA reported a 700% improvement in the accuracy of their vehicle stops for suspected overloading. Out of Read More…

Posted under Courier Basics, Legal Issues, Vans, Weight Limits for Vans

Posted by Alec at 2:09 pm, July 26, 2008

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SPECS Speed Camera Dodge Confirmed as an Urban Myth

According to this report in The Register the widely reported ‘dodge’ that apparently allowed speeding motorists to avoid detection by SPECS cameras has been exposed as a myth by the makers of the cameras.

The SPECS system measures the exact time taken to travel between two sets of cameras and accurately calculates the average speed over the known distance.

The Register quotes Geoff Collins, marketing director of Speedcheck Services Ltd, the manufacturers of the SPECS cameras, as describing the idea that you can avoid points on your license simply by changing lanes as “categorically untrue”.

He went on to explain that Read More…

Posted under Speeding

Posted by Alec at 10:43 am, July 25, 2008

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How many hours am I allowed to drive my van for?

For most same day couriers within the UK the only legal restrictions on driving and working time will be the domestic drivers’ hours rules and some aspects of the Working Time Directive.

The GB Domestic Drivers’ Hours Rules apply to all drivers of goods vehicles, however small, driven in Great Britain (Northern Ireland has its own rules) in connection with a business, where EU drivers’ hours rules (tacho regulations) don’t apply.

The rules are quite straightforward. In any day (defined as 24 hours from the start of duty) you’re allowed to drive for a maximum of 10 hours. Driving is defined as being at the controls of a vehicle for the purposes of controlling its movement, whether Read More…

Posted under Courier Basics, Drivers' Hours, Employment

Posted by Alec at 4:19 pm, July 24, 2008

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DHL Driver Convicted After Train Crash

21 year old DHL van driver Graham Foster was recently convicted of endagering the safety of train passengers following a collision with a train on an unmanned level crossing.

Most newspaper reports have picked up on the driver blindly following his satnav’s instructions and ignoring warning signs but other reports make the situation clearer.

“The DHL delivery driver had started work at 7.30am that morning. It had been a long day for him and he had only made 85 drops out of 120 he had to complete by the time of the accident.

“It was a strange area to him and he was under a great deal of pressure to get the delivery out first and foremost.

“This is a 21-year-old man who was under significant pressure from his employers.

“He was panicked and fairly stressed and at the time of the accident still had 35 packages to deliver.”

The accident happened at 1735 – the driver had already been working for over 10 hours and had done 85 drops out 120 in a rural area of Northumberland that he was unfamiliar with. His satnav Read More…

Posted under Drivers' Hours, SatNav

Posted by Alec at 10:45 am, July 23, 2008

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SPECS Average Speed Cameras – not working or just very effective?

Police in Northern Ireland have revealed that following the installation of 32 SPECS cameras on the busy A2 Belfast to Bangor road in May, only ONE motorist has been caught speeding.

SPECS speed cameras work by measuring the average speed of a vehicle over a stretch of road, avoiding the phenomenon known as ‘camera surfing’ where speeding motorists slow down for conventional speed cameras and immediately speed up again once they’re passed the camera.

The BBC reports Peter Weir, the Northern Ireland Assembly member for North Down, as saying: “It will lead to suspicions that the cameras have not been operating properly or that drivers are finding a way of evading detection. There is a key challenge to the police on this issue, and they must come forward with immediate confirmation that the cameras have been fully and properly operating.”

There is another possible reason for the low level of detection that Peter Weir seems not to have considered. Maybe the local motorists have taken notice of the 32 bright yellow cameras Read More…

Posted under Speeding, Tolls, Charges & Fines

Posted by Alec at 12:48 pm, July 21, 2008

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