Get an HGV Licence – with 20% off!
In our new series Equine Careers: How Grooms Can Increase Their Salary, we are keen to highlight ways that grooms can proactively swell relatively modest pay packets each month, and it really is easier than you might think. By having a 7.5 tonne+/HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) license, and a certificate to legally transport horses (as part of your job, or as your job) you can add anything from circa £200 up to £1000 or more to your monthly wage. If you are a freelance Groom to add this service to your skills repertoire can really improve your “offerings” to prospective clients which in turn will improve your business/earnings potential, it may even be worth chatting with your accountant about any potential benefits which can be gained through additional training?
The outlay required to get these qualifications can be steep for many, but at The Grooms List we have many jobs that come in where the employer is happy to fund this training in return for a contractual promise to remain in the role for which you were employed for a mutually agreed fair period of time.
The Grooms List by Caroline Carter has negotiated a cracking 20% discount for you or your employer to make this more affordable for you by partnering with a specialised HGV trainer who trains over 200 people per month. They are the UK’s largest specialist vehicle training company, training for some of the UK’s biggest organisations.
Becky Parker has done some further research on the nuts and bolts of the subject. You need to read this…
Drive your way to a higher wage
I’m going to let you in on a little secret here, did you know there is a way to get paid for working with horses……. whilst sitting down! Never! Ok ok, so you do also have to be in charge of an 18 tonne vehicle, several live, highly valued animals and avoid the many other idiot road users. If you incorporate this skill into a working groom role it means you can be indoors, warm, dry and most importantly earning extra dollars so overall, I think you’ll agree this could be a winning option. Let me tell you some more about it…
Understanding the licence types and options
Here is a very basic run through in layman’s terms of the various licence categories.
This is the normal standard driving licence that for anyone post-January 1st 1997 only allows you to drive a total weight of 3500kg including a maximum weight 750kg trailer.
However, being old has its perks here! If you passed your test before January 1st 1997 you can drive a vehicle of Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) 8250kg inc trailer. In other words, you can drive a 4X4 and trailer or small horsebox (up to 7.5 tonnes) without the need for any extra licences.
CATEGORY B + E
Better known in the horsey world as your trailer licence. This allows the licence holder to tow a MAM (maximum authorised mass) of 3,500kg, fully loaded car and trailer.
With this licence the holder can drive any rigid lorry up to 7.5t. Many training providers recommend skipping this category and going straight for your full category C as the price and training are the same and you are automatically awarded the C1 as part of it.
The maximum HGV licence that any groom is every likely to need this qualification allows you to drive any rigid vehicle over 7.5t.
Note – Holding a C1 or C licence does not allow you to tow a trailer over 750kg, this requires a separate test to add the + E category.
Being in charge of such a large vehicle (or trying to negotiate reversing a trailer) can seem like a scary and daunting prospect. Yet, it’s silly to let our fears get in the way of our progress. Specialised HGV training have a proven track record producing proficient and safe drivers. They are one of the few companies to offer horsebox specific training. They teach their drivers to operate in a thoughtful way for happy, injury and stress-free passengers. I spoke to some of their staff to find out exactly what the training and exam process looks like and how much it will set you back.
What does the training and driving test involve?
The recommended training time for a driver with some prior experience or the capacity to practice at home is 12 hours split into 4hr sessions over 3 days. For a complete beginner it would be 5 days.
The training will cover all areas involved in the test which are;
- Eyesight test
- Show me – tell me – vehicle safety questions
- General driving ability
- Independent driving
- Uncoupling and recoupling the trailer
The test involves a 50-minute driving exam.
Cost – Approximately £799. (Don’t panic…keep calm and read on!)
The Category C training is a little different though the exam would be very similar to a car driving test. The full process follows this timeline.
- The driver is first required to pass a medical test
- They will then be issued with a provisional licence
- All the online training software is then provided to study for your theory test including mock examples. Once these are consistently passed you are entered for the theory exam.
- This passed you attend 20 hours of practical training, 4 hours a day Monday – Friday.
The final test is a 90-minute driving exam.
Cost – Approximately £3,400 for all-inclusive with no prior experience and 2 free retries at final exam. (Don’t panic…keep calm and read on!)
What are the benefits for Grooms to get an HGV licence?
As the echo fades of grooms universally crying “How much!?!” at what is a good couple of months’ wage for most let me pick you up off the floor with a reminder of what you will gain once the shock wears off!
Top priority here – more money in your pocket.
In the region of £200-£500 more a month to be specific, that is a lot by anyone’s standards!
Increased chance of landing your dream job.
Often the higher earning, better package, yard manager type top jobs will specify the need for an HGV and/or trailer licence. No matter how good you are at taking care of the horses, if you don’t tick this box many employers won’t even consider you.
New opportunities and greater freedom in a Freelance career.
As we discussed in our article on Employed vs Self-Employed, some grooms find that going it alone suits them. The ability to offer a transport service be it to competitions, training or a horse swap service for the dedicated hunting crew at 2nd horses, can greatly increase your chance of finding work and successfully establishing yourself as a small business.
Taking it a tad easier.
Inevitably, we all grow a little older and creakier eventually, some of us are young and creaky too! At this point, our bodies might not appreciate the physical nature of yard work anymore. Widening your horizons to encompass lorry driving is another string in your bow towards keeping involved in the horse world, earning good money and staying off the end of a pitchfork. Yorkie bars at the ready!
If money is really tight and you’re comfortable in your current role it can be worth broaching the subject of gaining your HGV with employers. Some will be willing to help with the cost in exchange for an agreed contract length but think carefully before entering into such an agreement.
At the end of the day being the lorry driver isn’t for everyone. If driving your car on the motorway gives you palpitations or it took you 10 attempts to pass your test, possibly this one isn’t for you. Never fear, in our special series Equine Careers – How grooms can increase their salary we suggest a few other ways to boost your income and there are more ideas in the works to come soon.
Save 20% on your HGV training with The Grooms List!
For those of you thinking this could be just the boost your pay packet was needing, Caroline Carter Recruitment is proud to announce a new partnership with Specialised HGV driving training, giving you 20% off ALL Horsebox HGV and Trailer Licence courses. Specialised HGV trains over 200 people per month. They are the UK’s largest specialist vehicle training company, training for some of the UK’s biggest organisations, so you can be assured you are in safe hands when investing in your equine career via this route.
To get a 20% discount on your training fees all you need to do is call Specialised HGV driving on 0333 220 7080, ask to speak to Solomon and mention this article on The Grooms List by Caroline Carter Recruitment!
Just another little way for us to show how dedicated we are to helping you improve your career and land that dream job! Sometimes it is worth gritting your teeth and making that brief painful outlay in order to advance with some strategic career planning. Invest in yourself and reap the rewards for years to come.