Can I carry Dangerous Goods?

1) If the packages are marked with a WHITE diamond containing the letters ‘LQ’ and/or UN numbers of all substances contained then they’re exempt from ADR and you can carry them without any specialist training – see www.hse.gov.uk/cdg/manual/exemptions.htm#lq Your insurance companies may possibly have their own ideas about whether these goods are classed as hazardous so you may need to check with them before carrying the load.

TAKE CARE – most traffic office numpties seem to have decided that ADR doesn’t apply at all to goods below the ‘small loads’ thresholds. When the driver (with no training) questions whether they’re allowed to carry the goods they say something like “don’t worry, it’s limited quantities”. Read More…

Posted under Keeping It Legal

Posted by Alec at 4:35 pm, March 31, 2008

Should I be VAT Registered?

Should you be registered for VAT? Almost certainly – unless you do a lot of work (say over half your turnover) for private individuals or companies that aren’t VAT registered. Otherwise you’d be crazy not to register for VAT – you’re just handing the government your money.

Having decided that you need to be registered for VAT you need to decide which scheme and which accounting method you’ll use.There are two relevant VAT schemes that apply to you as a courier – either ‘normal’ VAT or the Flat Rate Scheme (FRS). Both schemes give you the option of cash basis or accrual basis accounting. Accrual basis means that you account for VAT based on the invoices you’ve raised during the VAT quarter whereas cash basis means you only account for the VAT on payments you’ve actually received from your customers. Read More…

Posted under Finance and Accounting

Posted by Alec at 4:08 pm, March 31, 2008

Would I be better off using the Mileage Allowance Scheme?

Self-employed people with a turnover under the VAT registration threshold (whether they’re registered or not) are allowed to claim HMRC Approved Mileage Rates instead of actual running costs. 40p/mile for the first 10,000 miles then 25p/mile.

Since the government haven’t raised the rates since the scheme was introduced in 2002 it’s not quite as beneficial as it once was but it can still be a very tax-efficient, and simple, way of claiming your vehicle expenses under certain circumstances.

It works best for owner-drivers with rented small vans doing very high mileages. 2500 miles per week equals about £650 allowance for £85 rental, £20 insurance & £250 fuel. Read More…

Posted under Finance and Accounting

Posted by Alec at 4:00 pm, March 31, 2008

Are my drivers employees or subcontractors?

There are a few common misconceptions about employment status – many people believe that it’s not possible for a worker to be truly self-employed if they only carry out work for one company. This is far from the truth though, particularly in the transport industry.The very fact that a subcontractor provides their own (whether owned, hired or leased) vehicle is almost good enough to be an overriding factor to prove self-employment. There would need to be very substantial pointers towards employment (like paid holidays, hourly pay and requirement to supply proof of sickness when you’re absent) for self-employment not to be provable – if that’s what the ‘employer’ and the subcontractor want of course. Read More…

Posted under Employment

Posted by Alec at 3:54 pm, March 31, 2008

Redirection Scam – the ‘Boiler Scam’

This scam has been going on for years now – there hardly seems to be a courier company that hasn’t been caught up in it.

It involves an unsuspecting courier being contacted by a random customer out of the blue and being sent in to a third party to collect valuable kit. A few couriers have been arrested and accused of being involved in these scams.
There are a few basic steps that can be taken to avoid becoming involved:

Every ‘Cash On Delivery’ job should start alarm bells ringing straight away. Every job involving collection of high value items from third parties for end-user companies you’ve never dealt with before should also start alarm bells ringing.

Always get a landline phone number for the company that you’re dealing with. Ring them back on it to confirm a minor delivery detail. Check the number you’ve called using Google etc and see if it corresponds to the company that you think you’re dealing with. If not then find a number for the company by other means and ring them direct and ask them if they’ve organised the job. If you can’t contact them that way then ring the company that you’re collecting from and ask them to verify with the account holder that it was them that have ordered the goods. Nobody is going to think any the worse of you for carrying out a few fundamental checks. Read More…

Posted under Scams

Posted by Alec at 2:41 pm, March 31, 2008

Do I need a Tachograph fitted

Rules on Driver’s Hours and Tachographs

“Vehicles used for the carriage of goods by road and with a maximum permissible weight (including any trailer or semi-trailer) of over 3.5 tonnes are in scope of the EU rules. ‘Carriage by road’ is defined as any journey entirely or in part made on roads open to the public of a vehicle, laden or unladen, used for the carriage of passengers or goods.”

That means ANY vehicle or vehicle and trailer combination, Read More…

Posted under Keeping It Legal

Posted by Alec at 1:47 pm, March 31, 2008

Space Invaders

Posted under Uncategorized

Posted by Alec at 12:39 pm, March 28, 2008

Frogger

Posted under Uncategorized

Posted by Alec at 12:34 pm, March 28, 2008