Going back to work after having a child, whether it’s very soon after or waiting until school age kicks in, can be a hard decision. Sometimes it’s made for financial reasons, but some women might also find they just need a little something ‘extra’ in their lives in order to be the best mother they can be. Whatever the reasons for returning to work, the one common factor is that finding the right job to work around your ‘main’ job of being a mother can be pretty tricky.
The good news is that those jobs are definitely out there if you think outside the box, and creating your own job in the logistics sector is one very smart way to make work, work.
Flexibility and Financial Reward
Everyone knows (or certainly should) that being a mother is no part time gig. There are constant demands on your time for food, transport, emotional support and, of course, the all-important fun factor! So any job you take on while still a primary caregiver for your children needs to allow a certain degree of flexibility to fit in with school schedules and other commitments. But it also needs to be worth your while in terms of what you earn for the time you put in.
A Growth Industry Looking for Workers
With the explosion in online shopping over the past decade or so, the logistics sector is crying out for willing workers to pick up the slack in the demand for same and next day deliveries. There are myriad opportunities to capitalise on the much-publicised skills shortage in the industry, and the emergence of the so-called ‘gig economy’ is creating a whole new kind of workforce. And guess what? It’s full of working mothers.
One of the most common and easily accessible jobs in the logistics industry is that of delivery driver – and the chances are, you’re already qualified. If you can drive you’re already halfway there and, as a busy parent, you’ve probably got some pretty fierce organisational skills down pat. Lastly, if you’ve got a suitable vehicle and are prepared to be a sub-contractor there’s really nothing to stop you from setting up as an owner-driver. It’s the ideal way to earn some very good money, because the rewards are in direct relation to the amount of time and effort you choose (or are able) to put in.
Getting Started Right
A major bonus of starting out as a delivery driver is that it’s fairly simple. But simple doesn’t mean imprudent and there are definitely some non-negotiable preparations that need to be put in place if you’re going to set up as a sub-contractor or independent owner driver. While freedom is absolutely the name of the game, you’ve got to make sure that not only are you operating within the law, but that you give yourself the best possible chance of success.
The Right Vehicle for the Job
You certainly don’t need a massive van in order to do delivery work, but your vehicle does need to be reliable. Even if you’ve just got a small basic car you can take on jobs that only require delivery of small parcels and packages. Just remember to only accept the jobs that you actually have capacity for, or you’ll get into all kinds of trouble.
Always Have a Plan
The always ‘have a plan’ advice is an oldie but a goodie, because it sits perfectly with its best friend ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. No matter how rudimentary it is, you need to sit down and write some kind of a business plan. It’s like a road map for where your business is going and will help you answer the vital questions with regards to set up costs, ongoing expenses and projected profits – which you absolutely must know before you start setting a price for your services. In this case you’ll need to consider vehicle maintenance, fuel, mobile phone and possibly marketing costs.
Tax, Insurance, Accounting
Those three words can strike fear into any heart, but as long as you stay informed and put the right measures in place from the get-go you really shouldn’t have any problems.
While you’ve probably already got vehicle insurance, you’ll need to contact your provider to speak to them about a change in policy in order to cover you for public liability, and also for any goods you’re going to be transporting in the course of your delivery work.
Even if you only earn a small amount, it’s vitally important that you pay the correct taxes so you don’t end up falling foul of the law and facing not just an unexpected bill, but possibly a large fine. You may need to set up as a sole trader or a limited company, but everyone’s situation is different so this is definitely one aspect where you need to contact a professional.
When you’re a sub-contractor or owner driver it’s also very important to keep your accounting up to date – even though it’s easy to let it slide when you’re juggling a busy life with kids and work. The key is to treat your business as just that, and make sure you dedicate a prescribed amount of time to the admin side of things. Even if it’s only for an hour a week after the children are in bed, keeping on top of your accounts needs to be a priority. There are plenty of cheap or free software packages that can help you do this.
There are so many opportunities going begging in the logistics sector and, for busy mothers looking to re-join the workforce, it really is a fairly ideal scenario if you’re suited to this kind of work. As long as you’re happy to work on your own, have at least a few hours a week to dedicate to the job, and have access to a reliable vehicle, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from creating a fun, flexible and fulfilling lifestyle for yourself – and earning some very good money along the way.
Jessica Vella-Bone is Digital Marketing Specialist at Courier Exchange and Haulage Exchange, part of the Transport Exchange Group.