Van-do attitude

Courier company Anyvan launched in January 2010 and aims to change the public perception of moving goods. talks to founder Angus Elphinstone.

What is the concept?

Customers can list items they need moved and transport providers bid for the job in an online auction. Customers can either go with the lowest bid, or they can choose the bidder with the best feedback. The compromise is that customers have to be flexible on timings because transport providers take their items along their scheduled delivery routes – but they are making savings of up to 75 per cent.

How did you come up with the idea?

My other removal company was going great for two years, but then the recession kicked in and people became more price-conscious. Clients who wanted something moving would call me and say give me a shout if you’re travelling a certain way, and I would put the item on as a part load at a good price.

How did you finance and market it?

I used the funds from my previous business and got one other investor on board. Web development was a big spend; it’s a massive web site and it cost about £50,000 to build. On the marketing side, we used PPC and organic advertising. We also brought out a referral scheme whereby if you recommend Anyvan to your friends, family or colleagues they will receive an amount of Anyvan credit, which helps to boost our profile.

What next?

We want Anyvan to be the top solution for moving anything around in the UK or Europe. Marketing is our biggest challenge, noone knows about this concept, and letting people know that there is such a service out there is hard. But our aim is to have a product which is synonymous with the action of moving something, so when people think about moving an item they’ll Anyvan it.

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