Recovery driver

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The Independent Online

Recovery drivers are employed by breakdown companies to assist customers that have either had an accident or suffered a technical fault with their car while out on the road. A recovery driver’s job is to discover what problem the vehicle has suffered, take it to a garage where it can be fixed and arrange a method of transport to take the driver to their destination.

What do you need to have studied?

While you will not need to have studied any specific subjects at school, the job will usually require the ability to drive a flat-bed lorry or pick-up truck, which will require a heavy goods vehicle licence. You can obtain one of these privately by applying to training courses listed both online and in trade magazines, though they typically cost between £1,000 and £1,500. Some companies will pay for this training, or include it in part of their own development course, so it’s worth checking whether you are required to have it before you apply.

How do you get a job?

You can apply for a training scheme through larger breakdown services such as the RAC, AA, or Green Flag who will pay for you to obtain the HGV licence and ensure you have all the tools you need to do the job. You may need to have completed a City and Guilds or BTEC certificate in automotive maintenance and repair or a similar qualification before you start the course, so it check on the requirements before you apply.

If you have already obtained your HGV licence you may wish to apply directly to a firm or garage.

Is there an interview process?

The interview process will depend largely on the size of the company you are applying to. Larger companies such as the RAC have a fairly stringent application process that may include a telephone interview and a couple of assessment days at one of their centres. Smaller companies will normally hold interviews where they will expect candidates to display their knowledge of different types of vehicles and an ability to provide excellent customer service.

What are the opportunities for career progression?

Some companies may well encourage you to learn more about the diagnostic side of the role while training you to fix vehicles at the roadside. This enables the company to fully service the customer at the first point of contact and should lead to a higher paid role. You may also be able to move into a role in the offices of the company, organising call outs to customers and training new recruits.

What’s the salary?

Newly qualified recovery drivers can expect a wage of around £13,000 to £16,000 per year, and with experience wages increase steadily to around £20,000 per year. If you are able to broaden your skills to include roadside repairs on minor faults you may be able to apply for jobs in larger firms, where the salary could reach around £30,000.

What benefits are there?

Most recovery drivers find their work stimulating and interesting as they are dealing with a huge variety of vehicles in a variety of situations every day. Although you will be dealing with people who have been inconvenienced by their breakdown, most will be very happy to see you and extremely grateful for your help. Helping people who were stranded to get to their destination or back to the safety of their homes leads to a great deal of job satisfaction.

What are the toughest parts of the job?

You will have to deal with customers who may be in a state of distress or shock, especially if they have had a minor accident. Some customers you deal with may need immediate transportation arrangements if they are in a rush, which can create a pressurised situation. Also, most companies offer breakdown services around the clock, so you may have to work unsociable hours in all manner of weather conditions.