Five top tips on setting up your own man and van business

Man and van businesses are booming in the UK at the moment. Buying a van and setting yourself up as self-employed is the easy part. What takes a little more effort and time is turning you, and your van into a successful partnership.

1.    Create the right business – this may sound obvious, but many people contemplating a man & van set up get confused with courier work. A man and van’s niche market is small removals and furniture jobs as well as deliveries to domestic addresses. A courier takes small packets and consignments to mainly business addresses. As it stands, this market is saturated and there is more demand for man and van work.

2.    Choose the right van – try not to lease one, as it becomes difficult to down or upsize according to how work goes. The standard vehicle used is a Luton-style box van with a tail-lift to make it easier to unload and load if you’re on your own and therefore cutting costs as you can be just one man and with your van. Don’t forget signage on your van to publicise yourself as you drive round.

3.    Get your prices right – the aim for man and van drivers is that the price offers good value for money compared with someone going to the trouble of doing the work themselves when they’d have to hire the van, pay petrol, lug the stuff around themselves and so on.

4.    Marketing yourself – get business cards made up and placed in supermarkets and DIY shop notice boards. Pop flyers through letterboxes. Register with an online man and van marketplace website such as The site emails you with matching jobs and you submit quotes. It’s free to use and if you win the job you pay the website a commission.

5.    Offer a fantastic service – once you’ve got man and van work, make sure you do a good job, as there is nothing better than word of mouth and reputation. Be on time, reliable, professional, friendly and don’t be slow!

Of course, there are also lots of practicalities to think about, such as applying to HMRC to be self-employed and getting the right insurance to be able to carry goods and/or for the goods you carry in your van.

Once set up though, you too can have the satisfaction of being your own boss and if you stay organised and focused you should be able to get to the point when your van and man services are much in demand with a full diary.

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