A global web platform has been launched to simplify and systemise the hiring and management of independent contractors within the audiovisual industry – while also helping freelancers to find new employment opportunities.
AV Junction is the brainchild of company founder and CEO Paul Weatherhead. “AV Junction is a fully-integrated, multi-featured web platform that enables AV companies to search for, hire, and manage qualified freelancers on a project-to-project basis, as needed, from anywhere in the world,” said Weatherhead. “AV companies can post an unlimited number of jobs, search a vast worldwide database of independents, create work order contracts for hiring, message freelancers directly, and make secure payments. Meanwhile, industry freelancers can join the database free-of-charge to easily search for and apply to relevant jobs based on skill, sector and job type.”
AV Junction is a solution built to address all of the issues facing AV operations directors, project managers, and resource coordinators who are tasked to hire and manage AV freelancers for multiple projects. As the former vice president of operations at Advanced, a leading North American AV integration firm, Weatherhead has experienced how difficult securing freelancers and navigating a long-distance employment relationship could be for everyone involved.
“I realised that there was no standard industry solution for finding and hiring AV freelancers. It was either through an ad-hoc process, or via a ‘middle man’ recruiting agency,” he said. “Likewise, there is no AV-specific job platform for freelancers to refer to when looking for work. I knew that there could be a better way to connect hiring companies and independent freelancers all over the world, and importantly, give both parties autonomy to find jobs and hire talent when they want, independent of an agency or coordinator – that’s how AV Junction was born.”
AV Junction encompasses the entire spectrum of the AV company and freelancer relationship – from the application process to the payment of the final invoice. Specific platform features include:
• Qualified applicant searching: AV companies can quickly find qualified and competent AV technicians in local or remote areas if their go-to talent is unavailable.
• Simple invoicing: Freelancers can enjoy simple invoicing with easy work order creation for every hire, and the ability to set payment terms ahead of time. All they have to do is click ‘invoice.’
• Milestone payouts: AV companies and freelancers can set customized project ‘milestones’ on fixed priced work orders to provide insurance of work completion, thereby improving customer satisfaction.
• Secure payment processing: A payment processor by Stripe Connect handles payouts in multiple currencies and leverages a sophisticated milestone completion process. The milestone process ensures that freelancers get paid securely and on time, and allows employers to approve payouts when work is completed properly.
• Ratings system: AV companies can rate freelancers after each project, boosting attractiveness to other potential employers after a job well done. Freelancers can also rate employers on factors like communication, use of tools, and timeliness of payment.
AV Junction is available to commercial and residential systems integrators, rental, live event and staging professionals, exhibit and production houses, and audiovisual manufacturers in any country where Stripe is accepted (over 25 countries currently).
Interested customers can sign up for a free three-month initial trial. After 90 days, users can choose between an ‘Economy’ package, with a pay-as-you-go model offering access to the site with limited features and a flat fee per hire, or a ‘Professional’ package which includes a US$150 monthly subscription with full site access, full features, and a discounted flat fee per hire.
All applicants are vetted by AV Junction; once approved, they will receive a ‘verified’ check mark on their profiles. All participating freelancers can showcase their skills, search for short-term jobs, submit quotes, easily provide progress updates, and secure efficient payments.
“For the very first time, freelancers can minimise the risk of experiencing delayed or missing payments on a secure portal,” Weatherhead concluded. “And, for the first time ever, AV companies have access to a portal of freelance professionals that they can review and work with. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”