Do I Need a Licence to be a Courier

I was checking the search engine referral statistics for the Courier Info site and noticed that it seems to be getting quite a few hits from people searching Google using phrases like “do I need a courier licence” or “do I need a licence to be a courier” which bring up the page Do I need an Operator’s Licence? as the first result.

So – Do I Need a Licence to be a Courier?

In the UK there are is no special licence required to operate as a courier. You’ll need a full driving licence of course if you want to drive a van, car or motorbike. You could ride a motor bike on a provisional licence but you’d be limited to 125cc bikes which are of very limited use in the courier industry; you’ll also struggle to get proper courier insurance on a provisional licence.

Your normal full driving licence will allow you to drive vans up to 3,500 kg GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight – the maximum allowed loaded vehicle weight). This would include most large Sprinters/Transits/Ducatos etc but not the biggest 3,500kg+ models in the ranges – these larger vehicles are very rare in the courier industry though.

If you passed your Category B (normal car) test before 1st January 1997 you should also have Category C1 (vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes) entitlement and Category B+E (vehicle and trailer) entitlement. If you passed your test after 1st January 1997 you’ll need to take an extra test if you want to drive vehicles over 3,500kg or a van towing a trailer over 750kg.

If you intend to operate a vehicle over 3,500kg you’ll also need an Operator’s Licence (known as an ‘O Licence’) which is much to complicated an issue to cover here. See the Transport Office website for more details.

Depending on your circumstances you may need permission from the local council, your landlord or your freeholder to park a van at your house, these requirements are quite rare though.

Courier Insurance

If you’re just thinking about getting into the courier business your next step should be to consider insurance. Motor Insurance, Goods In Transit Insurance and Public Liability Insurance are a major start-up expense.

Motor insurance which covers you for the “carriage of goods for hire or reward” is essential – and is a legal requirement.

Goods In Transit insurance covers the goods you’re carrying against loss, theft or damage. This isn’t a legal requirement but it’s sensible and some customers, particularly other transport companies, will insist on you having it.

Public Liability insurance insures you against claims from customers or members of the public for damage or injury that might be caused by your actions. Examples of this would be dropping a box on someone’s foot or knocking a computer of someone’s desk while you’re delivering.

Posted under Courier Basics, Insurance for Couriers, Vans

Posted by Alec at 2:35 pm, July 20, 2008

2 Comments so far

  1. Hi there, I wonder if you can help me? I work for a security company in Kent, we are looking at branching out and offering Coroner’s transporting services for their goods. However I am having great difficulty in finding out what licensing we would need to apply for and regulations that we would need to adhere to. Local council’s do not seem to know, the ‘Health Authority’ are unaware therefore I hope you can enlighten me. Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon

    Kind regards

    Claire Murray
    Swift Security

  2. Alec added on  October 28th, 2009 at 11:54

    I’m not sure exactly what you would be moving on behalf of Coroners but the only possible legal requirement which comes to mind is if you were transporting medical samples which potentially contain harmful pathogens. In this case you’d need ADR (dangerous goods) training. It would be up to the shipper (the coroner’s office presumably) to determine whether the goods were subject to ADR, so presumably the past starting point would be to talk to your potential customers.

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