Becoming an HGV driver can be very rewarding. If you’re the sort of person who likes the idea of taking responsibility for your own workloads and doesn’t mind travelling long distances on the road, then it might be the perfect job for you.
However, there are a few things you should keep in mind before getting into HGV driving jobs.
You’ll need to make sure you have the right training, an appropriate HGV licence, and that you stick to working hours as laid out in employment law.
But don’t worry! In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know before you get started. While it might seem that becoming an HGV driver can be tricky, it’s very simple providing you put time and effort in. Let’s look at what you need to keep in mind.
Are You the Right Person for HGV Driving Jobs?
The first thing you should always do before embarking on any kind of career is considered if you are the right fit. HGV driving will appeal to plenty of people; however, it may not suit some temperaments.
To become an HGV driver, you need to be very patient. Driving heavy loads on the road at all hours of the day is going to take time and effort. As you will always need to drive safely, you are also going to need to pace yourself. Hurrying an HGV job is going to potentially put lives at risk, as well as your job.
You must also be comfortable being on your own. Driving an HGV is a solitary job, which means you will only get to socialise with people very minimally. What’s more, this also means you need to be well-organised, and ready to motivate yourself at short notice.
What’s more, you must make sure that you are in good shape to handle long jobs and heavy loads, and that you are able to drive for long periods. Enjoying driving, too, is an absolute must!
How Much Do HGV Drivers Earn?
The amount you could earn as an HGV driver will vary depending on your skill level. Just starting out, you can expect to earn a starter wage of around £18,500 per year. As with inflation and other changes in the UK budget, of course, these figures are subject to change.
However, once you are a little more experienced, you could earn a base rate of £23,000. Spend more than a few years on the job, and you could earn as much as £35,000 per year. Once again, do be aware that these figures are only estimates, and that they can change given changes in the industry and the UK’s financial status.
What Do HGV Drivers Do?
Drivers of HGVs will do more than just drive big lorries from point A to point B. As a driver, it’s your job to make sure you plan routes as safe as possible, and that you carefully plan delivery schedules. This means you must stick to rigid and routine timetables considering traffic warnings and any potential diversions. You’ll work with logistics and transport management, often, to iron out these details.
Of course, you should also look after your loads, as well as your vehicle. One of the main jobs expected of an HGV driver is to safely and securely load and unload vehicles. This means you’ll need to learn how to lift and secure heavy goods properly. You must also keep your HGV well-maintained and topped up, meaning oil, water and fuel checks, as well as tyre tread checks, are always necessary. Don’t forget about the brakes!
You may be surprised to learn that there is a fair amount of paperwork involved, too. This is because you will need to confirm when deliveries are complete, and what you have done to pick up items on the route. These elements are crucial to the whole process, so do make sure your administration is in full check. This means that all HGV drivers must be comfortable handling multiple documents and filling them out whenever required.
When Do HGV Drivers Work?
As HGV driving takes place over long hours, you will need to spend some time driving at night. Therefore, you must make sure that you get enough sleep beforehand and after your jobs – and that you take plenty of breaks while on a route. These should be planned for before you head out on any new tasks.
You can generally work for up to 42 hours a week, but this can vary. You should consult a transport or logistics company you sign on with to learn more. You can find out more about the HGV driving hours here.
What Do I Need to Get Started?
Before you can drive any HGV, you need to be fully qualified. This means you need a full driver’s licence, and you will often need to complete driver CPC training. You’ll also need to be over 18 years of age, in most cases, before you can drive an HGV.
Driver CPC training allows you to learn how to drive a lorry, bus or truck. It normally comprises of around four different tests, and it’s crucial that you complete it if driving a large vehicle takes up the bulk of your work.
However, you won’t need CPC training if you’re only going to drive as a hobby or in your own time. When driving HGVs for commercial or occupational reasons, you must have full CPC training on file.
What is a Provisional Lorry Licence? How Much Does an HGV Licence Cost?
Just as you will need to apply for a provisional driver’s licence for a car, you need a separate one for a lorry and any HGV driving jobs. Don’t worry about HGV licence costs, however, as it’s free to apply for a provisional licence card. The licence you apply for will differ depending on the type of vehicle you want to drive. If you would like to learn more, you can read our post about the differences between HGV Class 1 and Class 2 license here.
For example, you’d apply for a ‘medium size’ licence if you want to drive C1 lorries (anywhere between 2.5 and 7.5 tonnes in weight) and C1E vehicles, which are the same as C1, but with allowance for a trailer of over 750kg.
Category C vehicles need larger licences, and these will generally let you drive any commercial road vehicles over 3.5 tonnes in weight. Category CE will apply, again, if you want to attach a trailer.
What is Driver CPC Training?
As mentioned, driver CPC training will prepare you for handling HGVs safely on the road. These are split into four parts – theory testing, case study analysis, driving ability, and practical demonstration. Driver CPC training costs can and will vary from section to section. Let’s look at each of these sections in a little more detail.
Module One: Theory Testing
The theory part of the training will offer you multiple-choice questions as well as a quiz on hazard perceptions. You can complete both within at least two years of each other. You’ll need to score 85 questions right out of 100.
Hazard perception training will allow you to watch videos and decide what a driver should do in specific situations. You will need to pay £26 for the multiple-choice testing, and £11 for the hazard testing.
Module Two: Case Study Testing
Case study testing will give you up to seven scenarios that you need to read through and analyse. These cases will be much like those scenarios you’ll expect while driving an HGV. You’ll receive up to seven questions per case study, and you will need to pass with a score of 80% or higher. You’ll need to pass this level of testing before you can attempt module 4.
However, your results can stay valid for up to two years. If it expires, you’ll need to book in again. The cost of this level of training is £23.
Module Three: Driving Ability
The driving ability module is the most expensive test at as much as £141. However, it is one of the most important. You will take to the road in a practical exam, once you have passed module one satisfactorily. You will be asked questions about safety and exercises that take place on and off the road.
You’ll need to show examiners that you understand how to run safety checks on your vehicle. You’ll also need to demonstrate that you know how to safely drive an HGV and that you know how to handle hazards on the road. You will also be given the chance to perform off-road tasks to show your ability.
Module Four: Practical Demonstration
The final module, the practical demonstration, can cost as much as £63. In this test, you’ll need to demonstrate that you understand the vehicle’s transmission, how to make the most of fuel economy, and how to safely and legally load and unload your vehicle. You must also demonstrate that you can safely control your vehicle.
This test can be quite intensive, however, it is crucial to show examiners you know how to safely and confidently operate an HGV. There is a pass rate of 80% across all categories, and once you’ve successfully passed all modules, you’ll receive a DQC or Driver Qualification Card.
What Happens Now?
Congratulations – you’re now an HGV driver! Make sure you always take your HGV licence and DQC with you – and enjoy taking to the open road on a variety of different HGV driving jobs. However, there is one last thing you need to do before you can legally drive a commercial vehicle on a public road as a new HGV driver, the ‘HGV medical Exam‘. The law requires every new HGV driver to take an HGV medical test with related paperwork (D4 Form) that is submitted to DVLA by the doctor who carried out the examination.
Well, we hope you have enjoyed reading the post and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch; our team are always happy to help. You can call us on 01604 761206 or send us a message via our online contact form here.