Time and money: In today's fast-paced world, hard-working men and women wish they had more of both. According to a recent Harvard study, many people were happier when they were willing to trade a little bit of money to pay for services that gave them more free time.
Starting an errand business affords you the opportunity to use your time and talents to provide services to people in your community. Set your own prices and choose when and how much you want to work. You'll need reliable transportation, as errands often involve driving, and clients usually want a task completed within a certain time frame. You can also expect to spend time waiting in lines for certain tasks.
Depending on where you live, clients may be looking for errand runners to complete any of the following tasks:
- Bank visits
- Car services (such as taking a car for a service appointment, oil change or wash)
- Dog walking
- Dry cleaning drop-off and pickup
- Food pickup
- Post office drop-off and pickup
- Shopping (for groceries, retail items and gifts)
It costs very little to start your own errand business. Begin with reliable transportation and a cellphone. Visit your local city or county offices to find out what you need to do to register a business in your area. Obtain a tax identification number by completing a form on the website of the IRS.
Get business cards printed and pass them out at every opportunity. Consider running ads in media such as the local newspaper, free shopper newspapers and diner menus. An errand business is largely built by word of mouth, so once you start providing services, satisfied customers are likely to tell other people.
Forty million Americans are over the age of 65. Of that number, 6 million are over 85. Running errands for seniors can make a big difference in the lives of individuals who have difficulty getting around as well as those who want to enjoy more free time in their golden years. Check with community-based senior centers and over-65 communities in your area to see if you can advertise your services by putting up flyers, passing out business cards or running ads in a monthly newsletter.
Pricing in your errand business depends on the time and skills required as well as the fees customers are willing to pay. Price services hourly or by task. Look online to determine how much errand runners are earning in your area.
Location matters. In the San Francisco Bay Area, with its high cost of living and heavy traffic, delivery people can earn between $25 and $60 per task.
Instead of starting your own business from scratch, you might want to take advantage of the name recognition and reputation built by TaskRabbit. The enterprise was launched in 2008 by Boston-based engineer Leah Busque, who built a web-based platform that enabled freelance errand runners and DIYers to connect with people who needed help with errands, simple home projects and furniture assembly. Busque sold TaskRabbit to IKEA in 2017, but the original concept remains the same.
Check the website to see if your city is among the nationwide locations, and if so, you can register as a tasker. This includes undergoing a background check. Once you're accepted, TaskRabbit will notify you of potential tasks in your area. TaskRabbit connects clients with people who can run errands, help with moving, make deliveries, assemble furniture and complete home handyman projects.
As a TaskRabbit tasker, choose the jobs you want to complete and set your own prices. Confirm the details with the clients and go to work. When you've completed the job, you'll submit an invoice through TaskRabbit. Errand-service payment is handled through TaskRabbit, and you are charged 15% of the fee billed.