A Successful Startup Amid a Pandemic
When Atlas Medical Services opened in December 2019, they had no idea a worldwide pandemic would strike a few months later.
Atlas Medical Services is a medical transport company, but their services also include providing educational classes, hydration services and home fall prevention inspections for their customers.
“I first heard about [the UGA SBDC] in the early 2000s,” said Brandon Sullins, owner of Atlas Medical Services. “Right after high school, I worked at a place where we made books… and I remembered making copies of the booklets that they handed out in their [Starting a Business] classes.”
While he had a solid idea for his business, Sullins was struggling to develop a comprehensive business plan. In his search for resources, he remembered those Starting a Business booklets developed by the SBDC.
Sullins reached out the UGA Small Business Development Center in Gainesville and was connected with Patrick Fulbright, the center’s area director. From there, Fulbright worked with him to develop his business plan and get his business off the ground.
“I was nervous for them,” said Fulbright. “They put everything they own into this business.”
When news of the coronavirus began to spread, Sullins reached out to Patrick Fulbright to see what moves he needed to make for his business.
“I got Patrick’s perspective on the Paycheck Protection Loan (PPP) and he pointed me in the right direction with the bank.” said Sullins. “It provided a little bit of security going through the uncertainty of everything initially.”
When the pandemic hit hospitals, transport traffic decreased substantially and Atlas needed to pivot. However, Sullins identified that dialysis traffic was increasing and moved on the opportunity to increase transport in that field, enabling Atlas to bridge the gap.
“I am proud to work with them, they are a great husband and wife team and they have built something great,” said Fulbright.
Just eleven months into their opening, Atlas is already exceeding their three-year projections. A early goal for their business was to have four ambulances and an advanced life support system by the end of their second year. They currently have five ambulances and just submitted their paperwork for advanced life support.
“I think [the SBDC] is heavily underutilized,” said Sullins. “I could not have done the whole mapping of everything out without Patrick.”