If your business uses goods vehicles above a certain weight, according to UK legislation you will have to apply for a goods vehicle operator’s license. In the UK, the maximum gross plated weight a vehicle can have at any one time is 3,500 kilograms and the maximum unladen weight of 1,515 kilograms without the requirement for an operator’s license.

There are three different types of operator’s license and the type that you will need to obtain depends on the type of work you do. The three options that are available are as follows:

  • Standard national license (For carrying your goods in the UK and internationally and other people’s goods in the UK)
  • Standard international license (For allowed trips between EU member countries, transit traffic through EU member countries and journeys entirely within another EU country)
  • Restricted license ( Allows you to carry your own goods but not other people’s goods)

Any drivers used in conjunction with these vehicles are also expected to have the correct license and training. The goods vehicle operator licensing scheme is administered by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) on behalf of the traffic commissioners. You will need to apply for a license 9 weeks before you would like to start working in order to allow time for the processing of your application, which you will be required to pay a fee for.

The first steps you will need to take are as follows:

  • advertise your application for a licence
  • advertise your proposed operating centre(s)
  • designate a transport manager if you’re applying for a standard licence
  • provide information about your financial situation
  • draw up a maintenance contract with a garage or agent to do safety inspections and repair vehicles if you don’t do this yourself

You will then have to fill out some goods vehicle operator’s license forms. If you need a license urgently, you can apply for an interim license until you get your full license. The traffic commissioner will only consider issuing an interim license on receipt of a complete application for an operator’s license.

Further information regarding how to make payment and operating centre’s can be found on the GOV.UK website.