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Freelance Versus Franchise Haulage Contracts: Pros And Cons

The problem of freelance work ‘versus’ corporate haulage contracts is one that has occupied professionals in this field ever since smaller, independent operations began to surface as a valid alternative to large corporate outfits. Like any good discussion, this issue offers two distinct points of view, into either of which drivers and hauliers slot themselves, with a few left in the ‘neutral area’ and charged with mediating.

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This particular debate does, however, present a few clear-cut facts that prevent the usual arguments of ‘it comes down to choice’ and ‘it depends on what you are after’ from fulfilling their usual role as discussion-enders. The fact of the matter is that both independent and franchised haulage contracts offer certain advantages, as well as certain drawbacks, which are all but inescapable when attempting to make a choice between either of the two. Below are a few reasons for and against either of these options, which hauliers and delivery drivers seeking a career change might want to take into consideration.

Is ‘Being Your Own Boss’ Worth It?

Any haulier or delivery driver worth their salt will undoubtedly recognise the appeal of independent or freelance haulage contracts. In an age where entrepreneurism is rewarded the prospect of going into business for oneself and managing schedules, workloads, rates of pay and other aspects inherent to running a company is undeniably appetising. However, drivers seeking to adopt this business model should be aware of all that it entails.

In fact, as any Business graduate will tell you, there is more to running your own company than just making up your own schedules and paying yourself. All the overheads, budget-balancing and profit calculations will also fall to you, so those without expertise in this area will either need to find help with these tasks or forgo the idea of going into business for themselves altogether.

There is also the not-so-small matter of these types of contracts not necessarily guaranteeing a steady flow of work, which makes them suitable only for those drivers that can ensure another form of income, either through savings or another means. Drivers with responsibilities or just starting out in the business will want to avoid the prolonged slumps and down periods that this line of work can easily be subjected to.

Should You ‘Sell Out’?

Corporate or franchised haulage contracts, on the other hand, do away with all the potential problems that going into business independently may bring about. Franchised drivers can expect a steady paycheque and stand a much better chance of being able to pay the bills during periods with low levels of work. They are also eligible for a number of benefits, such as insurance, which independent drivers may not be able to benefit from.

However, opting for this line of work can often bring about the stigma of ‘selling out’, a practice heavily frowned upon by certain sectors of society, and which pushes some drivers to opt for an independent business model despite not being ready to fully undertake one. Drivers that can look past this or that need a steady source of income, however, will certainly acknowledge the strong elements of this model as well.

Therefore, while it still ultimately boils down to choice, each of the business models has certain pros and cons, all of which drivers would do well to acknowledge when seeking to reach a decision.