How to become a LGV Driver, a male driver with a black top and hat, sitting in his van with his arm on a box checking his delivery schedule.

How to become an LGV Driver?

Overview

Job Role Light Goods Vehicle (LGV) Driver 
Responsibilities Loading the vehicle, drop offs and completing paperwork.
Salary

£7.83 per hour / £17,660 per year

Required Qualifications

Full drivers licence 

What do I need to do to become an LGV Driver? 

A light goods vehicle (LGV) driver in the UK is someone who professionally drives a commercial carrier, with a gross weight that is less than 3.5 tonnes. Examples of such LGVs include pick-up trucks, vans and some three-wheeled vehicles.

To operate a truck or lorry that is over 3.5 tonnes in weight, you need to become a class 2 heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver, which you can read about here. This job requires an additional driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC licence).

It’s important to understand that the European Union (EU) uses the term LGV driver to mean large goods vehicle, which is equivalent to a HGV driver in the UK. Therefore you must make sure the information is correct for the role you are interested in when looking and applying for jobs. This article below discusses becoming a light goods vehicle driver. If you’re unsure which type of lorry you’d like to drive, one option is to start with light vehicles, gain some experience and then move on to do your driver CPC tests to become a qualified HGV driver.

In the UK, the average annual salary for a van driver is £17,660, or £7.83 an hour, according to payscale.com. As a full-time employee, your hours will usually be between 36 and 48 hours a week. You might be able to find work that only involves regular day shifts, but employers will often need you to work some evenings, weekends or during the night.

As a Light Good Vehicle (LGV) driver, your day-to-day duties will normally include loading your vehicle, drop offs and the paperwork this entails. You may also be required to liase with customers or clients to see when they can accept your delivery. Another important part of your job is vehicle maintenance and safety checks.

So, what do you need to become a light goods vehicle driver? The most important prerequisite is a full car driving licence. Without it, you cannot legally drive any vehicle, and therefore cannot be employed as a LGV driver. You must be over the age of 17 to be able to learn to drive a car and take the test, and have eyesight that meets the required standard.

If you don’t already have a car driving licence, the first thing to do is apply for a provisional car driving licence from the government’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).  This will cost you £34 if done online or £43 to apply for it by post. Once you have this, the next step is to prepare for the computer-based theory test, and to get driving lessons from an instructor or a qualified driver who holds a full driving licence. You can start practicing for the theory test at any time, and before you start your driving lessons. You can also take the theory test as soon as you have your provisional licence.

Start off by reading the Highway Code, which the test is based on, online for free. You will need to book the theory test online, and make sure you take all of the required documents with you. If you don’t, you can’t take the test and will have to pay again to rebook your test.

As this is a hands-on skill that is tested on real-life roads, you will need to either take lessons from an instructor or be tutored by someone who is over the age of 21, has a full car driving licence and has held it for three years or more.

The practical aspect of the driving test involves five parts: an eyesight check, ‘show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions, general driving ability, reversing your vehicle and independent driving. The test is the same for both manual and automatic cars and you’ll drive for around 40 minutes. You can read all about what happens during this test here so you know what to expect. You must book your practical test online and makes sure you take along the correct documents; otherwise you can’t take it and will have to pay again to rebook. All of the information you need about driving a car in the UK can be found on this section of the government’s website.

As well as your driving licence, preferably with no traffic offences on, a good knowledge of the local area would be highly beneficial in this role. You’ll also need to be able to follow instructions well, which includes road directions but also follow your employers procedures and not cutting corners. To help you with this, make sure you listen carefully, ask questions if you don’t understand something or even write yourself notes. There will always be paperwork and records to log deliveries and other areas of your work so learning how to do this quickly and efficiently will only make your job easier.

The types of people who do well and enjoy working as a LGV driver are happy to work by themselves for most of a shift. You’ll also need a keen eye for detail and a steady hand. As with other road-based careers, you need to be a calm and confident driver. This means being able to deal with problems you encounter on the road, such as unexpected traffic or bad weather.

If you want to progress your career in transport and logistics, the most logical step is to get your driver CPC licence and become a heavy goods vehicle driver. There are two levels of HGV drivers; the most popular is class 2, which means you can drive category C vehicles. These are any HGV with a trailer that has a maximum authorised mass of up to 750 kilograms. You can read how to become a class 2 HGV driver here. The step up from this is class 1, which allows you to in addition drive HGVs with a larger trailer (category E). You can read how to become a class 1 HGV driver here.

This next step does involve some upfront costs to get the extra licence, and time needed to do the tests. These tests are similar to your car driving test but longer and more extensive. The other thing to bear in mind is that you need to be in reasonably good health; the DVLA must approve your medical check before you can take your lorry driving tests.

Working as a LGV driver is great career to get into if you enjoy early starts, getting the job done and having different challenges to face each day. If you have just left school, and want a role that you can start without further formal training or education, then this is a good option for you. If you’re looking for a change of career, it’s also a job that can offer more flexibility than office-based jobs, or take part-time hours that allow you to focus on family or other commitments in your life.

Another bonus for people who do this type of job is not having a boss or manager looking over your shoulder throughout the shift. This is good situation for someone who is self-motivated and enjoys working alone. As with any road job there will be frustrating problems to face that are completely out of your control, so if you don’t like thinking on your feet or concentrating for long periods of time this may not be for you. But if you already have a car licence, why not give it a go and see?

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