By James Cox, transport manager, Anglia UK
Whether it’s delivering a single car or transporting a whole new fleet, finding the right vehicle transport provider can be a challenging task.
From small, independent operators through to big national names, the choice can be bewildering.
And while cost may seem an obvious decider, there are a number of additional factors to consider when choosing.
This may seem obvious but it is surprising how many transporters do not have adequate insurance for transporting car and other vehicles, particularly more prestigious models.
You should always ask what level of cover is provided and also for written evidence as added protection.
Having the correct licencing, including a valid Goods Vehicle Operator Licence (O-Licence), is a must for any vehicle transport provider.
A licence is required to carry goods in a lorry, van or other vehicle with either a gross plated weight of over 3,500kg or an unladen weight of more than 1,525kg.
There are also three different types of licence so make sure your provider has the correct paperwork and that their drivers are all fully trained and up to date with their professional competence qualifications.
Your transport provider will inevitably have to perform some element of customer-facing work and so it is important to ensure they act as positive ambassadors for your company.
Do they have smart uniforms? Have they been trained in customer relations? Are they directly employed by the transport provider?
A company’s reputation is a valuable commodity and these are all important questions that need answering in order to protect it.
The vehicle finance industry is tightly regulated and any transport provider must be able to demonstrate its commitment to treating customers fairly.
Most vehicle collections and deliveries go smoothly but what happens when there’s a problem such as unexpected damage to a vehicle or an end-of-lease payment collection issue?
You need to be reassured that your provider can handle any unexpected events professionally and in accordance with the Financial Conduct Authority’s rules and regulations.
Your transport provider may well be doing a good job but can it be evidenced? A reputable provider will be able to record and report on every element of a job, from the initial scheduling through to the final delivery.
The information should be available promptly and in a clear and user-friendly format that is compatible with your existing systems and processes.
There are of course many other issues to consider when it comes to appointing a transport provider but if any potential candidate can’t meet these five basic criteria then it’s time to keep looking.