You can have an experienced professional complete this process for you and avoid expensive mistakes and long delays. Contact Dmitry Nade at TransportForum.com on 07833 684449 (phone and WhatsApp) 8am-11pm 7 days a week or email: [email protected]. We've been able to obtain O-licenses in as little as 6 days, here's proof but it can't always be guaranteed.
At this link you will find all the information you need to start and setup as an HGV or PSV transport company.
1. START YOUR ACTUAL APPLICATION ON THE GOV.UK WEBSITE RIGHT NOW BEFORE READING FURTHER
To avoid some technical issues, follow this guide and complete the online application on your computer, not the phone.
Where to complete your application online
Create an account on this gov.uk website right now before proceeding further and start completing your own application as much as you can even if you don't have everything ready and don't know all the answers. This will give you a very good idea of what you will need to accomplish, clarify a lot of things in your mind and answer most of your questions before you even have them.
Prerequisites – What you need to have before starting your application (or I will need if I do it for you)
You only need a permission from a yard where you will park your vehicles and the required amount of money in your possession somewhere. You don't need anything else. To be more specific, everything else is just some basic information like names, addresses, phone number, email address and so on, don't worry about those, you already have them.
Limited company vs. sole trader
There's no significant difference in operating as a limited company vs. a sole trader when you have 1-5 vehicles. You don't need to register anywhere to be a sole trader. You can register a limited company here yourself for £13, you just need to answer a few simple questions.
If you don't have a business account yet, open it ASAP and transfer the required amount of money to it from your or another director's personal account or deposit cash to it. If a significant amount of money arrives to your business account from someone else (a non-director) or another limited company, that may raise questions and delay your application. Banks like Monzo or Starling let you open business accounts in their phone apps and it usually takes 1-2 days. Statements from these and other online-only banks are usually accepted.
The total cost of getting an HGV or PSV operator's licence will be approximately £1,000 in various fees to the Traffic Commissioner's office and the newspaper for your public notice (usually £200-300). That doesn't include the cost of your operating centre (yard or parking location) for which you usually need to pay only after you get your operator's licence and buy your vehicle(s).
If you are applying only for a Light Goods Vehicles (vans) licence, you don't have to pay for a public notice and you don't need an operating centre but you'll still have to pay these licence fees (£257 + £401).
That amount also doesn't include the cost of a transport manager if you don't have a transport manager CPC yourself which is different from your driver's CPC. If you want to obtain your own transport manager CPC, here's how you can do that but it takes a few months usually, in the mean time we can refer a transport manager to you at these rates.
How long it takes
In the best case scenario, you can expect to get an interim licence in a month. On average it takes about 2 months and in some cases it can take 3 months or longer. Sometimes we've been able to get licenses in less than a month. You can view the exact statistics here.
You don't need to be VAT registered to apply for an operator's licence. VAT registration does not affect your application for an operator's licence in any way and no one asks you to answer one way or another if you are VAT registered. But eventually you will need to register here.
You don't need to have any vehicles before you apply for and obtain an operator's licence and it doesn't matter how your will obtain your vehicles later (buy, hire, lease, rent, borrow or by any other means). Everything in this guide still applies in the same way. In the "Vehicles" section of your application, just answer "No" to the question where they ask you if you want to provide vehicle details.
Types of licence – Restricted vs Standard
Read about the differences between a Restricted and Standard goods operator's licenses at this link or the types of PSV (passenger) licences here. Most likely you will need a Standard operator's licence. They are very reluctant to grant restricted licenses even if you meet the criteria, they do everything possible push you towards a standard licence.
Skip the "Transport managers" section in the application until you have everything else in it ready. When you get to that section, go back to the page where you see a list of all the steps in the application on one page and click on the step below it which will be "Vehicles" and carry on. When you have everything else in your application ready according to this guide (including a public notice and bank statement, Sections 4 and 5 below), add a transport manager as described in to Section 8 below. Adding a transport manager usually is the last step right before you submit your application because it can be done quickly but everything else might take you longer.
2. WATCH THE VIDEO ON HOW TO COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION
Watch the following video on how to complete your online application and actually answer as many questions as you can in your own application online while you are watching the video even though you may not be able to answer all of them now.
3. FIND A PARKING LOCATION WHICH IS CALLED AN 'OPERATING CENTRE' IN YOUR APPLICATION
If you are applying for a van licence (below 3.5 tonnes gross weight) you don't need an operating centre, disregard this step.
In most cases you will need a proper commercial or industrial type of property for your operating centre, farms are also acceptable. It is very unlikely that a normal residential property with a typically small yard will be accepted. One of the main conditions is that you can enter and exit your yard in forward gear. In other words, they don't want you backing up to the main road when you are leaving the yard. Also you need to have about a metre of space around your vehicles for daily inspections by drivers before their shift. Detailed requirements for operating centres can be viewed here.
Find a parking location or yard for your vehicles, in the application it's called an "operating centre". We have 85,000+ operating centres in the UK grouped by city and region at this link. If you need more of them or in smaller cities, watch this video on how you can find them:
Search for operating centres used by other companies with a valid operator's licence at this link as explained in the video above. Once you've made a list of operating centres in your area, visit them in person, talk to someone there and negotiate a parking place for yourself. Print business cards or flyers with your contact details and hand them out at the places you visit so that they can contact you if something becomes available later. Also, ask for their contact details and follow up in a few days or weeks if no places are available at the time of your visit. You may need to contact them several times before you find a place. Don't just go to the places on your list but stop by other locations where you see commercial vehicles parked and talk to them as well. A verbal permission to park is usually enough but if they give you a confirmation letter, by all means take it. In practically all cases, you will not need to submit a written permission from a parking location. See a more in-depth article on how to find an operating centre here: transportforum.com/find-operating-centre. You should get a letter or an email from them with a confirmation that your are allowed to park there, here's a sample letter: https://transportforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4841. There's no place to upload it with your application so just keep it in your records.
You can view available operating centres for rent and advertise that you are looking for one in the following section of TransportForum.com: https://transportforum.com/viewforum.php?f=38
4. DEPOSIT MONEY INTO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT ASAP AND GET A BANK STATEMENT LATER
Deposit a sufficient amount of money on your limited company's business account as soon as possible (not to your personal account unless you are applying as a sole trader) and keep it there at least until you get your licence and possibly longer. That amount of money has to remain on your bank account for 28 days before your statement can be accepted but you can still submit your application before that and save some time. So if you have the right amount on your account even for less than 28 days you should submit your application and provide additional statements later.
When you transfer money to your business account, do so from your own personal account. Don't transfer it from other limited companies or from people who aren't directors of your limited company, it will raise questions about their relation. Do not write that it's a loan in the reference section of your transfer, don't write anything at all there or write a meaningless word like "transfer".
Technically, you always have to have that amount available to you, even after you get your licence. You can dip into it after you get your licence but it will need to be replenished within a reasonably short (but unidentified) time, see details about not using that money later in this article. Read the following detailed article about the financial and bank statement requirements for an operator's licence: transportforum.com/financial-evidence
Trailers don't count as 'vehicles' for the purposes of calculating your financial requirements. So if you are applying for 1 vehicle and 1 trailer, that's counted only as 1 vehicle and you need to have £8,000 on your bank account.
The required amounts for Standard licenses are as follows:
1 vehicle: £8,000
2 vehicles: £12,500
3 vehicles: £17,000
4 vehicles: £21,500
5 vehicles: £26,000
Each additional vehicle: £4,500
Here's a video that explains bank statement and financial requirements in more details:
5. PUBLISH A PUBLIC NOTICE IN THE LOCAL NEWSPAPER IN THE AREA OF YOUR OPERATING CENTRE
Email your ad to [email protected] for quote to advertise a public notice. Use the template and other details in this post and this article. Always put at least the same number of trailers as the number of vehicles in your public notice and the application even if you don't need trailers, see this post for more details about trailers. It doesn't cost anything extra to have trailers authorised and you definitely need to have them authorised if you will operate artics, even only tractor units. Upload both the front page and the entire page with your public notice into your application under: "Operating centres and authorisations" → Click on the address of your operating centre → Click "Upload" at the bottom of the page. Once your public notice is published - do not wait 21 days (it's a common mistake), you have to submit your application WITHIN 21 days, see this post for more details about that.
6. FIND A MAINTENANCE COMPANY (GARAGE) AND GET A MAINTENANCE CONTRACT SIGNED
Contact maintenance companies of commercial vehicles (garages) in your area by phone and just ask them "Will you do my PMIs?" (PMI = preventative maintenance inspections, they'll know what it is). They will most likely say "yes". You can find them by going to Google Maps and searching for "hgv repair near yourcity" (for example: hgv repair near birmingham). it's easier to find them by searching for "hgv repair..." even if you are applying for a PSV licence, those are the same types of garages but you will find more results if you search for "hgv repair...". Technically, you need to have them sign this contract. You can have them do it remotely and send you pictures. There's no place to upload this contract into the application and no one usually asks for it unless you go to a public inquiry for your initial application, so just keep it in your records. It doesn't matter which maintenance company you use on your application as long as they have proper equipment for repairing and maintenance of vehicles. You don't have to pay them anything until you actually bring your vehicles there. And once you get your licence, you can change them online in a minute.
7. UPLOAD YOUR BANK STATEMENT
Upload your bank statement under "Financial evidence" if you haven't done it already. Here are the detailed requirements again: transportforum.com/financial-evidence plus watch the video above in this guide.
8. GET A TRANSPORT MANAGER ADDED TO YOUR APPLICATION
If you don't have a transport manager CPC yourself which is different from your driver's CPC, find a transport manager (CPC holder) and add him to your application. You can use the following options:
- Call Dmitry Nade at TransportForum.com on 07833 684449 (phone and WhatsApp) 7 days a week or email [email protected] and a verified TM will be referred to you at these rates without any additional charges or you can simply add me as a user to your online application like this and we'll do the rest
- Search for available TMs at https://transportforum.com/viewforum.php?f=5
- Advertise for free in our largest Facebook group for transport managers with 17,000 members called "Transport Managers CPC UK" at facebook.com/groups/cpc.tm
- Advertise that you are looking for a TM at https://transportforum.com/viewforum.php?f=6
If you want to obtain your own transport manager CPC in order to be your own transport manager and avoid hiring one, you will need to study and pass an exam and it can take several months. You can find more details about courses and exams here.
Transport manager's duties and responsibilities are related to compliance with regulations and include the following: see Section 14a of the TM1 form or look in this article.
9. SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION ONLINE
Once you publish your public notice, you now have only 21 days from the date of publication to submit your application, otherwise you will have to publish a new public notice and pay for it again. So even if your bank statement is not ready by this time, submit your application anyway. You can still provide your bank statements later during the period of up to 2 months from the date when you submitted your application.
An interim licence is a temporary licence that is usually given sooner and can be used while you are waiting for your permanent licence. It's not always guaranteed that they will give it to you. As a reason for an interim licence, you can just say something like "I'd like to start sooner" or "I have clients waiting" or some other reasonable answer.
Link to this post: transportforum.com/guide-olicenceYou can have an experienced professional complete this process for you and avoid expensive mistakes and long delays. Contact Dmitry Nade at TransportForum.com on 07833 684449 (phone and WhatsApp) 8am-11pm 7 days a week or email: [email protected]. We've been able to obtain O-licenses in as little as 6 days, here's proof: https://transportforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=96 but it can't always be guaranteed.
At this link you will find all the information you need to start and setup as an HGV or PSV transport company.