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  • Writer's pictureMartyn

Applying for an O-Licence: What you need to know…

Having dealt with many new start-ups in the haulage sector, we’ve got a firm grip on what you need to know to get up and running, and get it right first time.

There seems to be conflicting information out there and being mislead at an early stage can mean you never get off the ground! Below are the steps to follow to submitting a successful application…

Decide what type of licence you need. If you’re delivering your own goods to the UK and abroad, you will require a restricted operator’s licence. However, if you undertake any transport for hire and reward, i.e. haulage, you will require a standard national or international licence.

Professional competence – standard licence holders have to demonstrate professional competence, either in the form of acquired rights or by holding a certificate of professional competence (CPC) in road haulage management. This is mandatory, and the evidence (certificates) must be presented with the main application. For restricted licence holders, it is not mandatory, but advisable, to have a professionally competent transport manager. For either type of licence, it is perfectly acceptable to hire an external contractor on a part time basis, and probably more cost-effective if running a smaller fleet of less then 10 vehicles.

The Transport Manager (TM) must send their original certificates with the application. They may also have to show additional paperwork detailing how they will manager their responsibilities. This includes meeting the standards detailed in Statutory document No. 3 issued by the senior traffic commissioner.

Financial standing – prospective operators must show they have sufficient financial standing to operate the number of goods vehicles they are applying for. The current level as of 1st January 2019 is £8000 for the first + £4450 per additional vehicle for standard licences, and £3100 + £1700 for restricted. For new businesses, a document showing an opening balance from the bank meeting this requirement is necessary, and the operator will have to show further bank statements at a later date. Overdrafts, director’s credit cards and invoice finance I the name of the company are also acceptable.

Operating centre (OC) – You will need to submit proof you have an acceptable area to park your vehicle(s) and trailers at when not in use, by way of written permission or a copy of a leasehold agreement. The application will have to be advertised in a newspaper local to the OC up to 3 weeks before/after submission of the application to allow objections by trade/public bodies or representations by any local residents.


How much will it cost? - In addition to the cost of the newspaper advert and Transport Manager, the authorities charge £257 for the processing of the application and £401 for it granting.

How long does it take? - If you request interim authority to operate for £68.00, you could be up and running in as little as 3 weeks, (but this may not guarantee the granting of the main licence) Generally full authority will be granted in around 8-9 weeks without any complications.

When the licence is granted, is there anything left to do?

- There may be conditions or undertakings attached to the licence that will only be lifted when they have been satisfied. The most common being financial undertakings, usually having to submit 3 months of bank statements to the Traffic Commissioner by a certain deadline after the company has started trading. This is to ensure the licence holder is meeting their continued obligations to maintain financial standing as mentioned above. Remember to send the documents in on time!

The above is a general guide and not an exhaustive list, for further guidance please contact us on

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