If you’re considering a career as a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) driver in the UK, you’re probably curious about the earning potential and HGV driver job opportunities.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how much you can earn as an HGV driver, offer tips on finding the best jobs and outline the different types of companies you could work for.
How Much Can You Earn in the UK as an HGV Driver?
HGV drivers play a crucial role in the UK’s logistics industry, transporting goods across the country and beyond, anything you buy in a shop has been transported on a HGV and everything around you will have been too.
As such, their earnings can be quite competitive. However, the exact salary can vary based on several factors:
New HGV Drivers
Without doubt being a newly qualified driver does impact your ability to secure a job driving a HGV. As with any industry you have to be prepared for the first 6-12 months to work in a less enjoyable role to other more experienced drivers.
The wages may also be lower but when it comes to looking after a HGV worth over £100k and possible load value of £1m being carried, these companies want a driver with experience.
New drivers need to look towards companies carrying low value goods or companies that do ‘easy’ work. For example a company that offers building demolition carry stone, not really worth much money, may happily take on a new driver.
Other companies to try could be skip hire, pallet deliveries, house removals, supermarkets, beer deliveries, roadside recovery, animal transport. While not all of these are low cost goods being transported, the other companies you need to look at are those who find it difficult to recruit drivers due to the hard nature of the job.
Not every driver is willing to transport some types of goods they think are hard work or dangerous, these companies will offer initial extra training and often a good wage once you have proved capable of the job, such as beer deliveries to pubs – its hard work!
Experienced HGV Drivers
Entry-level drivers may start with a lower salary, but as you gain experience, your earning potential increases.
You can expect to initially earn an hourly wage of £15 to £18, if that doesn’t seem enough remember you will most likely spend long hours at work waiting to get loaded, which will count as working time.
Salaries can vary significantly depending on where you work.
In general, urban areas such as big cities like Leeds and Bradford and centrally located UK regions with a high demand for drivers tend to offer higher pay.
Employer Pay Differences
Different companies will offer vastly different pay. This is because not all HGV driving jobs are equal and have varying levels of difficultly.
For example an easy job could be working for a supermarket, very clean work, safe environment and shifts no longer than 10 hours and you get to go home every night, not sleep in the truck – the pay will be perhaps £15 per hour.
Then at the other end of the scale you could drive for a haulier that will send you anywhere in the UK, you will be expected to sleep in your truck each night, drive the maximum hours each day and your shift each day will be between 13 to 15 hours, the loads you carry will need securing in all weathers and require some manual lifting.
You will start work on a Monday at 6am and not return to the yard until often a Saturday morning. This job will not be much more hourly pay, perhaps £18 to £22 per hour, but you will be doing lots of hours and you may get some bonuses, making the yearly salary £45k or more – but you will have worked hard for this.
Type of HGV
The type of vehicle you drive (e.g., rigid or articulated) can also impact your earnings.
Articulated HGV drivers, known as Class 1 often earn more due to the additional skills required and the ability to carry more load increases the driver productivity.
On average, an experienced HGV driver can earn between £35,000 and £55,000 per year. This figure can increase with overtime, bonuses, and a licence to carry dangerous goods – ADR.
How to find the best HGV jobs
To ensure you have a chance at securing the best job HGV driver jobs available, here are some tips you may wish to consider.
Start by researching companies in your area that are hiring HGV drivers. Look for well-established logistics companies, supermarkets, and online job boards, facebook HGV Jobs is a great place to start. Follow on facebook as many transport companies as possible.
Also remember that just because the company is not posting a job advert right now, doesn’t mean they are not looking for HGV drivers. If you find a company you’d like to work for, send them an email and include your CV. This can be a great way to get in first!
Connect with other HGV drivers who may have information about job openings or can recommend you to potential employers, this could be a family member or friend. Again, this is a great way to potentially find out about jobs that are not currently publicly advertised.
Explore online job platforms, such as Indeed, Totaljobs, or Reed, to find job listings for HGV drivers. You can also search on Google to try and find companies advertising and not using agencies.
Check Industry Publications
Trade magazines and industry publications often feature job advertisements for HGV drivers.
Consider registering with recruitment agencies specialising in the logistics sector. They can help match you with suitable job opportunities, but it can be difficult to find an agency that looks after drivers’ best interests.
Also, some hauliers prefer not to use agents as there may be a considerable free for them to pay the agent for finding you as a candidate.
In summary, a career as an HGV driver in the UK offers competitive earning potential and job security – as there will always be a need for goods to travel by road. It is also a career that can be used easily as a ‘backup plan’, should a sudden career change be required in times of need.
The roles available within the sector are vast, possibly the widest range of work available, as no two companies are identical. Working for a builders merchant is very different to transporting beef cattle for example.
As a new driver you should expect to work in the hardest of roles initially, but by gaining experience and moving employers this will quickly change. Your pay will increase, your hours will reduce and the working conditions will get better – or just stay in a hard working industry and command a high wage as an experienced driver doing a tough job!
Start your HGV or Lift Truck training journey with us. From car to Class 1, Class 2 to Class 1 or if you’re looking for CPC training – we’ve got you covered. Get your Driver certificate of Professional Competence with us to help meet your legal obligations.