Home Entrepreneurs Startup Errand wants to make life easier by doing your running around

Startup Errand wants to make life easier by doing your running around

by Ozva Admin
Startup Errand wants to make life easier by doing your running around

A group of BYU students working to identify a business idea decided to survey families to try to identify their biggest pain points.

What they found, which will not surprise any parent, is that one of the main challenges was the collective time spent transporting children to school, lessons, sports practices and other miscellaneous activities.

Quickly recognizing the daunting legal hurdles and daunting liability issues that would accompany any effort to market a taxi service to children, budding entrepreneurs were led to a different but close idea.

What about a business that could take care of all the non-kids running around and free up families in a way that would make parental duties less stressful?

Turns out the answer was in the question, and in January 2022, Message was born.


Claire Larsen, co-owner of Errand, poses in American Fork on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022. She and her husband launched the startup with the goal of becoming the DoorDash/Grubhub of errands.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

the beginning of the order

Errand’s co-founder, Claire Larsen, said the company launched with fairly rudimentary technology, just a website where you could order an errand, identify pickup and drop-off locations and when it needed to happen. The rest of the process was mostly manual and carried out in a small service area.

The approach was part of a very intentional plan to take a step back from the more typical tech startup fundraising process into an idea that is then tested for practicality. The go-first route, Larsen said, allowed her and her fellow co-founders to approach potential investors with a proven concept rather than an unexamined business plan.

“We knew we would need funding to create an app, but we recognized that we were a group of students with no business experience or background,” Larsen said. “We ended up running over 3,000 errands for people, using guerilla marketing tactics and spending only our own money.”

The idea and go-it attitude proved a hit with a group of investors who participated in a previous round of venture financing for the company that closed in October and raised nearly $700,000.

Just two months later, in early December, Errand launched his smartphone app. Now the business is up and running, operating along the Wasatch Front with plans to grow statewide and soon into nearby states.

Larsen said Errand is seeing success on both sides of its business model, attracting customers who need an easy and affordable way to complete tasks on their to-do lists and gig-economy boosters who are signing up, in droves. , to make those errands happen.

“When the app launched, we just wanted current customers to move in,” Larsen said. “But within the first week, we tripled our goal and about 6,000 drivers signed up.”

That quick response on the driver’s side of the equation was likely helped by a gig economy that has seen a surge in interest in recent years, with the number of people working on flexible, short-term contracts soaring.

In a recent report, Fortune noted that the number of temporary workers in the US has increased from 55 million in 2020 to a record 60 million today, according to a recent study to study by the freelance recruitment site Upwork. Nearly 40% of the US workforce has done contract work in the past year, according to the study, adding about $1.35 trillion to the economy.

On the customer side of Errand’s business model, a growing number of consumers are finding a new comfort with app-based services, thanks to the proliferation of companies like GrubHub, DoorDash, TaskRabbit, and even the ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft. .

Many ideas fail. few find success

Corbin Church, Adjunct Professor at BYU Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technologyhas been acting as a consultant and supporter of Errand’s founders and noted that the company’s business model and launch timing is hitting the mark.

Church said he interacts with many budding entrepreneurs, teaches about 350 students each semester, and sees many business ideas. But, he pointed out to her, the people behind the concepts are the most critical factor.

“I work with a lot of kids who start a lot of great businesses,” Church said. “Many ideas fail and a few find success. It turns out that what is more important than the idea is the founder behind it.

“Once in a while, these visionary founders come together with the right opportunity, and I think Errand has found that magic.”

Church said Errand is targeting a unique niche in the gig economy, staying out of the niche spaces occupied by companies like DoorDash or GrubHub and instead taking an all-encompassing approach.

“Errand comes with a broad approach and an idea that really comes down to making people more productive,” Church said. “It’s the right kind of generic that’s the same service and value whether the customer is a busy parent or a busy manager in a work environment.”

Church likes all of the potential verticals for Errand, noting that he can see the service being useful for a wide range of individual and business needs.

“Let’s say you’re in the construction industry and you run out of some important building materials on the job site,” Church said. “A company could send someone to Home Depot and pay them their hourly rate for an errand that will likely take at least an hour. Or, they can order something from the Home Depot website, designate curbside pickup, and then send an Errand driver who can do it for less than $10. It’s smart and cheap.”

Larsen said Errand’s internal economics also make sense and the company has been profitable from the start.

How does it work?

Customers pay a flat fee of $7.99 for pickup and drop-off within a six-mile radius, a distance Larsen said was determined in his early operations, where 90% of his trips fell within that mileage.

Do you need to go a little further? Errand charges an additional 85 cents per mile outside of his base range. On the driver’s side, runners are paid for both mileage and time and, according to Larsen, can earn an average of $25 to $30 per hour. In addition, he said Errand drivers have been earning twice as many tips as typical for Uber or DoorDash drivers.

While Errand can’t transport her children or others, she can handle almost any standard job, including picking up your dry-cleaning clothes, making donations to DI, or even doing some light shopping or picking up take-out orders from customers. ‘favorite restaurants.

Larsen said Errand beats the fees of popular food delivery services and will do so with a model that doesn’t hurt local businesses for their services thanks to the startup’s client-side payment system.

Errand can even get you out of some tough fixes.

Larsen said a client was met at the airport last month but realized, before embarking on a trip out of the country, that he had left his passport at home. An Errand driver was able to make the trip to the client’s home, retrieve the passport, and deliver it to the traveler in time to catch his flight.

“Not all of our trips are like this, of course,” Larsen said. “But we are saving our customers time and making their lives easier with every trip we take.”

To learn more about Errand and how to get the app, visit goerrand.com.

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