Set your priorities and budget

It is a large market out there with many different vehicles available.

Things to consider are –

  • What do you need the truck to do?
  • Will you need to undertake extra training to drive/operate the truck?
  • What sort of transmission best suits?
  • What extras will you need to maximise the truck’s use?
  • Do you have a preferred manufacturer? And why?

Research vehicles available

Take your time to investigate thoroughly.

The seller – make sure you buy from a reputable company with a track record

Review the model – check if it has any trends or faults in a negative context

Look at more than one option and take the time to choose the best vehicle for you.

Ensure you choose the right size of truck

Know what your potential payload may be.  This will also determine the axle configuration and specification.  You need to look at and understand the gross vehicle weight (GVW) – the maximum operating weight/mass of vehicle as specified by the manufacturer.

Investigate the truck’s history

This is a large investment, so ask all the questions you wish.  Request to look at the V5 paperwork and check on MOT dates and specification.  Ask to see the service history and maintenance records – use these to estimate what may need upgrading in the near/distant future.  Ask about any major recent changes to the vehicle – why they have been actioned.

Complete your own inspection

Visit the dealer and get a close-up look at the vehicle.


  • Water levels
  • Paintwork
  • oil quality
  • responsive brake pads
  • catwalks and additional equipment secure and working
  • locking cap on fuel tank
  • rust areas, wheel arches
  • internals – upholstery/sleeper cab 


Check on the tyres – make sure that you know the age and history of the tyre on the vehicle.

Inspect the tyre tread depth,  check on how many miles are still on them and their due replacement date.  Check wheel rims for signs of damage.

Test Drive

Make sure you have trade plates on the truck and take it for a spin.  This will let you assess how the engine is running and how the vehicle feels on the road.

Check on all the lights when you start up – all should be off (apart from the handbrake).

Licence required

A Category C licence is the entry level licence for anyone who wants to become a HGV driver.

Allowing driving of rigid vehicles over 3.5 tonnes with a trailer up to 750kg.

Category C+E, the highest of the LGV licences, allows driving of articulated vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and a trailer over 750kg.

CPC (Certification of Professional Competence) is also a requirement for all professional truck drivers. This needs 35 hours of periodic training every 5 years.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles (AVFs) up to  4.25 tonnes can be driven on a category B licence.

‘O’ licence

Ensure you have the correct heavy goods vehicle operator’s licence – known as the ‘o’ licence.  This permits the operation of vehicles above 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW) that are used to carry goods on public roads for trade or business purposes.

Issued by the Traffic Commissioner – the independent regulator of the commercial road transport industry.

Finance Options

How to finance your new truck is a personal decision.

There are many ways, and you need to look at the options and how they work with your own business financial plan.

One final tip – if a vehicle is too good to believe – you probably shouldn’t believe!

If you need more information talk to a reputable used vehicle seller, who will be able to help you with your journey to buy.