New app brings multiple benefits for contractors
An app designed by a contractor’s son is proving its worth with busy farm contractors. We find out more about the award-winning Ag-drive.
Agricultural graduate Will Dunn was prompted to develop his Ag-drive app after seeing the challenges record-keeping and invoicing brought to his family’s contracting business.
Like many contractors Will’s father spent hours going through job sheets and preparing invoices every week. “It seemed bizarre that as an industry we have all this expensive machinery in the yard, yet the admin processes are so basic,” says Will. “There weren’t any apps available at the time so during lockdown in 2020 I decided to create one.”
By spring 2021 the first versions of Ag-drive were being tested and the app was launched to market that June. In January 2023, Will was awarded the Founders Trophy as overall winner of the LAMMA Show’s Innovation Awards. With a monthly subscription starting at £10, it now has users across the UK, Ireland, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Ag-drive is an all-in-one app which streamlines the process of job recording to invoicing with common accounting software packages. Other key features include live location tracking of operators, timesheets, field mapping, job reports and health and safety checks.
John Solomon of Cornwall-based Solomon Contractors has been using the app for several months: “If you can save time that's saving you money, it's a no brainer for me,” he says. The company, in operation since 1987, carries out a range of jobs from muckspreading and horticultural tasks to silaging on the region’s farms.
Keeping accurate records was particularly tricky with a large team, but Ag-drive has helped, he continues. “Information is there at our fingertips. Now I know where we are every day rather than being a week or month behind.
“It's easier for invoicing and provides the customer with a lot more information. For example, if we’re broadcasting fertiliser, they have records of what we've spread and how much. It's all there to give greater insight and means we can be more professional.”
John says it saves several hours per month and has improved the business cash flow. “We can invoice after every job or at the end of the week or month – we can tailor it to the customer. It means we can bring money into the business quicker and help our cash flow.”
There were minor teething problems at the start while the team adapted to the system, he says. “They were minimal though and within a couple of days we were flying.
“I don't want to be sitting in the office, I want to be out working and driving the machinery,” he concludes. “Office work is a job that has to be done, but if you can limit the hours you're in the office, you can be out earning more money so it's a real positive for us.”