Brighton Entrepreneur Launches 'Van Hailing' App

A local entrepreneur has launched a new on-demand van transportation service intended to reduce the cost and hassle of hiring a van for quick, one-off jobs.

Former project manager Gavin Sandells hopes that his app, Vanuse, will solve a common frustration for people who need a one-off van to transport item(s) immediately. The platform simultaneously offers the proverbial ‘man with a van’ access to customers who need their help - filling gaps in the driver’s own schedule and providing an opportunity for van drivers and owners to earn some extra cash.

“We have local van owners and drivers signed up already – they recognise that an on-demand service is something their customers often ask for, but calling around seeing if people are available for a quick pick-up and drop-off is a pain,” he said. “With our app, customers and businesses can call on a van and our drivers will be immediately notified if there’s someone nearby who needs their help, rather than sitting and waiting for their next job to start.”

One such driver is Gary, a local bus driver, who has his own van. He was looking for a way to earn extra cash when he is not at work. “Vanuse is perfect for me” said Gary, “When I am available, I log into the app and get notifications of any jobs near me. The app is easy to use, I get the name of the person I am going to help, along with a photo and details of the items they need help moving. Then once I am finished, I get to rate the ‘Vanuser’ and I receive confirmation of the fare. I can check the history of what I have earned on the app. Money is transferred directly into my bank account”. 

All of the drivers and vehicles who have signed up to use the platform have undergone a thorough background check to ensure the safety and security of customers, businesses and their belongings. 

Vanuse simplifies payment and removes any need for bartering by acting as an intermediary between driver and customer. The app automatically debits a set amount from the customer for each transaction, which is based on a standing fee and the distance travelled. An estimate is provided during the booking process, with a 20-minute journey from Brighton to Peacehaven typically costing around £25.

The app has been developed in partnership with local app developers Agile App Co, based at the Sussex Innovation Centre. The Vanuse app is available to download for free from the App Store and Google Play. Plans are in place to take the concept nationwide over the next few years, but at present all of the drivers on the platform are based locally, in the around the areas of Brighton, Crawley, Worthing and Hastings.

“We’re ready to spread the word to people across Sussex that the solution is there if they’re ever in a tight spot,” said Mr Sandells. “Say that you’ve got a sofa that you need to get home, are moving all your files into storage, or have to get a drum kit over to the other side of town – Vanuse can connect you with a driver immediately, without all the hassle of needing to hire a vehicle for a day or half-day.”