How To Get AN Operator’s License?

Undertakings wishing to engage in the occupation of road or passenger transport shall:

A, be of good repute. In regard to the operators past and present convictions including pay and employment conditions, repeated failures relating to drivers, driving and rest rules, weights and dimensions, road and vehicle safety, serious criminal and commercial offenses where rehabilitation has not taken place.

B, be of appropriate financial standing. Proof of funds shall consist in having available sufficient resources to ensure the proper launching and administration of the operation. The applicant, operator must have consistently available (for maintenance purposes) cash at bank, overdraft or loan facility or one years audited accounts showing access to £7,850 for the first vehicle and £4,350 for each additional vehicle to be applied for.

C, satisfy the condition of professional competence. Standard National and International Operators Licenses require a Transport Manager (CPC holder) to maintain the operating systems, who has effective and continuous control of the operation insofar as the carriage of goods and passengers are concerned. If you are a natural person and do not hold the qualification, you must have / employ a Transport Manager who fulfils the criteria.

Restricted operators do not require a transport manager under present legislation, though it has been widely debated professional competence be required on all Restricted licenses. The downside will be the cost of employing a part time CPC holder, the upside will be, set standards of compliance, peace of mind and vehicle utilisation for maximum profit.


License applications go through a tough assessment procedure which is strict and painfully slow, Interim Authorization and full grant take some three to four months to completion. It is illegal to operate your vehicle(s) until granted. We strongly advise you not to enter into any lease / hire agreements or purchase vehicles or trailers until you have obtained your O/L and definitely not use a vehicle during that period. It is illegal for a supplier /lease /hire /finance company to allow you to take possession until they have seen proof that the License has been granted. If a vehicle is not displaying the correct disc, VDSA have wide ranging powers to confiscate and dispose of it. Any finance owed to the lender under contract remains payable, in other words you could finish up paying a five year finance package and have no vehicle to fund it. Any Insurance you have will also be invalid as you would not be an Operator, so don’t put the cart before the horse it could cost you your Business.

Be aware:

Operator Licenses are strictly non-transferable”. You cannot beg, borrow or steal them. Under no circumstances can you either, get your mate to stick your truck or bus on his O/L for a few months whist you are waiting for your application to be granted or vice-versa, whether money changes hands or not. As the owner of the vehicle you could be fast asleep in bed when your driver has a fatal accident. All insurances are void as you are not holding a bona-fidi Operator License. It is possible you could go to prison under corporate manslaughter charges or conspiracy to defraud, lose your lorry, your Business and your liberty.