Ma & Pa business – the man and van sector


ma pa business

Ma and Pa business

The man and van removals sector in London is as big as the private hire (minicab) sector with an estimated 40,000 operators. Typically run as a  Ma and Pa business operated from a mobile phone relying on sites like Gumtree and eBay for advertising. Some dabble with Google Adwords but at almost £4 a click for primary keywords this proves to be expensive, more on the Adwords black hole later.

Up to the end of the last millennium if you lost your job you could jump into the family saloon and start as a minicab driver, after private hire (minicab) legislation came into play that now requires a lengthy application process, and rightly so. However it seems now that you can pick up a cheap van, or hire one, put your ad on Gumtree and immediately start as a man and a van operator.

Many operators are not insured correctly, we are not talking about goods in transit insurance here we are talking about vehicle insurance. Most of them have insurance for ‘business use’ but in fact require a ‘carriage of goods for hire and reward’ policy, same as couriers do. This though seems to be a grey area and I have not heard of any incidents where an operator has been convicted of having the wrong insurance it’s not a case of if but when.

It is an industry screaming out for legislation, it is unregulated and at times operates as private hire with passengers travelling in the vehicle. We will be working with Transport for London TPH to try and introduce guidelines for operators and hopefully bring them under the wing of private hire legislation.

How do you define a ma and pa business

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