10 years in the transport industry. That’s not a bad score. The first 10 down, how many more to go? This seems like a good time to recap and evaluate. Like Green Day once said “This is a turning point, a fork stuck in the road” (I might have those lyrics wrong, I can’t remember them properly).
I suppose I should clear up one detail – Avango is actually only 8.5 years old, but it’s me (Stuart, the owner) that has been working as a courier for 10 years.
Summer 2012. I was working as a freelance designer for a local print and web company and things were getting weird. The owner had talked numerous times about making me a part of his business, but it was all talk and no action.
I’m someone who prefers to either ‘p**s or get off the pot’ so to speak. I can’t be doing with people who have no follow-up.
Stage 1 – Genesis
I took the first holiday I’d had in years. It was only a little over a week. I went to the Goodwood Festival of Speed for 4 days, followed by a couple of days in Winchester, then back to Gloucestershire for the Royal International Air Tattoo for another 4 days. That is enough for any petrolhead/jethead (if that’s even a thing?) to quench their thirst for a long time to come.
By the time I’d got back, the weird office had got even weirder.
So I decided that was it. Everything felt right to make the move to a new stage of my life.
I came up with a name, made a website, got some stuff printed and we sourced a van. Hey Presto, I’m a courier.
It was NOT easy to get started. The first 12 months were a true battle. Dealing with crooks that wouldn’t pay, sourcing work, van breakdowns and unforeseen expenses… it was hell.
But we made it through.
Stage 2 – Avango is Born
After those initial 12 months, we started to find our feet. But being a sole-trader felt wrong. It put us at risk of a lot of things and prevented us from access to services companies seem to get. So I took the plunge to create a limited company.
Avango Couriers Ltd was launched 1st March 2014 – Based off the idea that ‘A van goes anywhere your car goes’. This was because we’d been doing a lot of work carrying goods that hauliers couldn’t reach with their lorries.
I had to design new website, new logo and business cards, new everything pretty much.
And in the most part, it’s been good. We’ve still had to face a lot of ups and downs. Still far too many customers that think they’re just too important to bother paying their invoices, but we’ve managed to make it to summer 2022 and the anniversary of my switch to transport.
Stage 3 – The Turning Point. Continue on, Or Change Direction?
The last few weeks have been a little eerie to put it mildly. There have been some coincidences that would shake even the most resolute persons belief and those things have left me questioning what my next move should be.
Whilst the early days were undoubtedly the hardest for us as a business, the last 2 years have been something of a ‘trudge’ – we haven’t really been getting anywhere and it feels a lot like treading water.
If any part of your life has that feeling, then it’s a good idea to stop, take a minute and reflect on what you’re doing and see what you can do differently. And that is exactly what’s happening in August 2022.
I’m taking some time to slow down while the summer lull is happening.
But Avango is still here, still strong and still ready to deliver.
Stage 4 – The Sun Always Shines on (Couriers) TV
In late 2017 I created Couriers TV. It was supposed to be a little bit of a blog to talk about courier work and give other people a bit of assistance and an insight into what the transport industry is like.
But it’s grown to something I never imagined. The traffic to CTV (my abbreviation for it) is fantastic. If we had even half that amount of people heading to Avango’s website then I would be so busy I wouldn’t have time to write amazing articles like this one (joke).
Couriers TV is definitely a big part of my future. No direction needed there. Continue straight ahead.