Business Opportunities for Freelance Same Day Courier Owner Drivers

Sorry about the misleading title – there are NO ‘courier business opportunities’ on this page, just a few words of warning for anyone thinking about becoming a ‘freelance same day courier’ or a ‘courier owner driver’.

As the recession, or ‘downturn’ to put an optimistic slant on it, starts to bite, particularly in the building trade, we’re starting to see more and more new entrants to the same day courier industry. It seems an inevitable feature of every economic slowdown that the industry is swamped with out of work tradesman and redundant factory-workers, keen to put their unused van (or their redundancy payment) to use starting a new business for themselves.

It’s an easy enough business to get into, just a van and a mobile phone required. Nowadays it’s apparently not even necessary to have a collection of maps, or even any map-reading skills; just spend £75 on a satnav and you’re ready for work. That’s the theory at least.

There will no doubt be no shortage of local and national same day courier companies Read More…

Posted under Courier and Freight Exchanges, Courier Basics, Courier Business, Courier Scams

Posted by Alec at 4:02 pm, October 5, 2008

Speed limits for vans – are the DfT even more confused than the rest of us?

For many years there’s been confusion among some van drivers over the speed limits that apply to their vans. This has led to many prosecutions of drivers of medium and large vans for exceeding the speed limit.

Many van drivers just assume that the speed limits for their vans are the same as for a private car. In many cases, particularly for smaller vans, they may be right, but for anything bigger than a small van they’re wrong.

The maximum speed limits for all goods vehicles of 3500kg and less, unless lower limits are indicated by signs, is 70mph for motorways, 60mph for dual-carriageways and 50mph for single-carriageway roads. The only exemption is for ‘car-derived vans’ with a maximum loaded weight (GVW) of 2000kg or less, to which the speed limits for cars apply (70, 70, 60).

For many years it seems that the police have interpreted ‘car-derived van’ as meaning any small van with a GVW of 2,000kg or less. This would include many of the vans typically driven by same day couriers, vans like the Escort, Courier, Berlingo/Partner, some Doblos, Combo, Nemo/Bipper/Fiorino, Kangoo, as well as some of the more obvious ‘car shaped’ vans like the Astravan, Fiesta, Corsa and Punto.

In December 2007 the Department for Transport (DfT) issued a document Read More…

Posted under Courier Basics, Speeding, Vans

Posted by Alec at 7:48 pm, October 4, 2008

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The Transport of Fireworks by Road

With the firework season nearly upon us there’s an enormous demand from the firework distributors for large numbers of hauliers and same-day couriers to carry out their deliveries over a very short period.

Considering the obvious hazards of firework transportation, and indeed every aspect of the manufacture, storage and transportation of fireworks, it might be expected that firework manufacturers and distributors would be more careful than most in checking the qualifications and experience of the transport companies they use for their deliveries.

I would expect a responsible firework distributor to fully vet their transport suppliers to ensure that they fully understand their responsibilities under ADR and have access to a competent Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor, to offer their own advice to the transport company on the safe transport of their goods if necessary, and above all to ensure that the transport company is fully aware of the training that their staff and subcontractors are required to undertake before transporting fireworks.

I was surprised then to read a message posted on one of the leading courier industry websites looking for 70 vans to do 172 journeys over a 3 day period delivering fireworks. There’s nothing particularly wrong with that, although I didn’t think that the company were likely to find 70 suitably qualified drivers on the website in question. I was slightly concerned at this stage that although the company had mentioned the need for various items of safety equipment, they hadn’t mentioned any need for training.

The next day the company followed up their posting with the information “You do not need ADR because the NEC (explosive content) doesn’t exceed Read More…

Posted under Hazardous Goods - ADR

Posted by Alec at 1:16 pm, October 4, 2008