If you are wanting to increase your income or possibly change your work direction there are numerous ways of using your vehicle to make money.

UKDPF have put together some useful information on what options are available to a vehicle owner.

Courier

A courier or delivery driver job is essentially to transport items from one location to another, the parcels need to arrive on time and in good condition.

A self-employed courier uses their own vehicle, which can be a car or van depending on the types of delivery you want to do. If you work for companies like Evri or Amazon and will be delivering small parcels a hatchback or estate car is more than suitable. A van will give you scope for larger deliveries or more items.

You will require a smartphone for delivery information, and adequate vehicle insurance for courier work. Your regular car insurance is not enough, and you are required to contact HMRC to inform them of your self-employment status. Going forward this will mean you will have to fill out a self-assessment form to work out your tax.

It is imperative you keep all your fuel receipts, invoices and paperwork so you have all the relevant information for your tax return. You may be able to claim some expenses when you put in your tax return.

Food Delivery Driver

Food delivery has become big business, if you have a vehicle of any kind, you can become a food delivery driver. You will require a smartphone for the orders, fast food delivery insurance – this is essential as your usual insurance will not cover you for deliveries, and insulated bags – some companies will supply these, but you may have to pay for them.

Food delivery drivers are usually self-employed so you must inform HMRC of your self-employed status and fill out a tax return form each year, keep all your paperwork for this reason.

Mini-Cab Driver

As a cab driver, you can work for one company or work with app-focused businesses like Uber. To work as a min-cab driver you need a clean & valid driver’s licence and plenty of driving experience.

To carry people in your vehicle, you will be required to apply for a PHV (Private Hire Vehicle) licence. To obtain this licence you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be a minimum of 18 in some local areas but usually over 21 years of age for most parts of the UK.
  • Have held a full driving licence for at least 12 months, although some local authorities require 3 years.
  • Allowed to work legally in the UK.
  • A background check may be required for some local authorities, this may include a DBS which checks criminal records.
  • Depending on where you work a medical examination may be required.
  • You may also be obliged to take a driving and area knowledge test for some authorities.

It is advisable to check details with your local authority.

Vehicle Requirements:

  • Your vehicle must have a minimum of 4 doors.
  •  It must be capable of carrying at least 4 passengers and no more than 8.
  • The vehicle must be well maintained mechanically and kept clean.
  • Each authority may have rules on how old the car can be, most are 5 years maximum.

You must have Private Hire Insurance to carry passengers.

Pros of being a self-employed driver with your own vehicle

Freedom – You are your own boss; this can demand a degree of self-discipline.

Flexibility – You can work when you want to, full-time some days or not at all others, the choice is yours.

Topping Up – Top up your income from your full-time job by working evenings or weekends. A great way of earning more when you need it.

Multi Company – Being self-employed means you can work with several companies and can increase your income.

Cons of being a self-employed driver with your own vehicle

The freedom and flexibility of being self-employed using your own vehicle comes with a few negatives.

No Holiday Pay – You only get paid for what you do, so if you take time off you do not get paid for it.

No Sick Pay – If you are taken sick, there is no sick pay. It is recommended that you take out insurance to cover yourself in the event of an accident, this could help considerably if you are unable to work.

Vehicle Maintenance Costs – Your vehicle is essential and therefore needs to be properly maintained to keep it on the road.

Fuel Costs – It pays to have an economical vehicle to keep down fuel costs as these will dip into your income.

Early Mornings & Evening work – A courier’s job often involves picking up their deliveries from depots early in the morning and many couriers work into the evening for home deliveries, consequently sometimes the hours can be antisocial.

In the case of mini cab work, some shifts are more lucrative than others, meaning the work can be antisocial. There is no guarantee of a lot of fares, so you may spend time just waiting around.

There are added costs of insurance and any licensing requirements.

What are the rewards?

Driving can be hard work and you may have to put in long hours and distances to make big money, but an experienced driver can earn well. However, as a part-time side hustle it can be a good option to top up your current income.

The key thing to remember is that looking after your vehicle becomes even more important when you are relying on it as a workhorse. Get it serviced regularly, check your tyres often and do everything you can to improve fuel economy as the costs of running your vehicle will affect your earnings.