How to Avail as a Start-up During COVID-19: A Real-Life Customer Success Story
Today’s business landscape looks very different to the beginning of the year. And likely, very different to what it will look like in another few months. Start-up businesses are being launched to meet the new demands the UK public has, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
On 20th April 2020, the UK government unveiled plans to make £1.25 billion available for businesses driving innovation. This includes £500 million for high-growth companies impacted by the crisis – namely start-ups – called the Future Fund. If you’re a start-up sitting on a fantastic idea suited to today’s situation, or you want to pivot or innovate to meet everchanging needs, now could be the time to do something about it. Read the full government announcement here.
Some businesses are thriving and finding their business offerings are more crucial and in demand than ever. One business that is thriving is Avail. Avail approached Perfect Image in 2018 to bring their idea for an application to transform recruitment in the driving industry to life. Now, during the coronavirus pandemic, business is booming.
Avail: Thriving Despite Adversity
Avail provides two specially designed applications to enable HGV drivers to locate and accept work, and for hauliers to find the right drivers for their contracts. They offer an empowering alternative to expensive traditional agencies. Erin Short had worked in the military as an HGV driver and then as a temporary driver back in the UK. Erin says, “I realised I could earn a lot more money if I could find my own jobs without an agency. One day in 2016 I spent 10 hours in a lorry driving around the country, thinking about how I could improve the process.”
That was when Erin began planning an application that would enable drivers and hauliers to find each other – Avail.
Bringing the Apps to Life
The Avail team came to Perfect Image with their business idea. The average demographic of a driver is 47 years old and technology-averse, so the drivers’ mobile app had to be intuitive.
The apps went live in 2019 and quickly gained hundreds of sign ups from UK hauliers and drivers looking to make their lives easier and save money. Erin says of seeing the apps live for the first time, “The only way I can describe it is like having a child. It’s an amazing feeling to see something me and my team came up with now actually alive and working.”
Using the apps, hauliers can save up to £45,000 a month and drivers can take home an extra £4,000 per year. For drivers, being paid no longer requires them to submit a timesheet – the process is automated for them by Avail. Particularly during this challenging time, the extra money drivers and hauliers can save will be transformational.
Perks of being a start-up
An incredible help for Avail was that as a Microsoft start-up customer they qualified for ten free users for their first year of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Not only that, but they also received $25,000 of free Azure cloud hosting. Learn more about Microsoft’s help for start-ups here.
Built with growth in mind
By hosting the applications in the cloud, we can easily flex the storage and compute resource so there will be no frustrating downtime. In recent times this has been crucial, as they are prospering during the coronavirus pandemic and they have seen a surge in new users. As of April 2020, they have over 4000 scanned and vetted drivers across the UK ready to be hired.
The cloud platform also offers fantastic security and compliance. Perfect Image made sure their data is secure, as the apps come into contact with people’s personal and financial details.
Avail in 2020
One of the reasons Avail is continuing to thrive is in part because of their innovative offering, but also because they live by their motto, which is to “do things the right way.” Some of the ways they have given back to their community is:
- Provided a day of free work from one of their drivers to any haulage firm with sick or self-quarantined staff.
- Raised £500+ to organise a contactless delivery of fresh hot coffee to a Manchester hospital.
- Helped Red Bull to help deliver 100,000 cans of free energy drink to industry key workers such as lorry drivers and warehouse staff.
On top of this, Founder and CEO of Avail has been shortlisted for Insider Media’s Young Professionals Awards 2020 in the Digital & Tech Professional category, with the winner to be announced on 4th November 2020. (We wish Erin good luck from all at Perfect Image!)
Now is the time to really look at your start-up business and assess how to make the best of a bad situation. While we don’t know what is coming in the future of UK business, all we can do is make the most of right now. And you don’t have to do it alone. If you’re a UK start-up and you want to get started with building or improving your apps, let us help you as your trusted IT advisor.
Find out more about Avail
Visit their website.