In economic times that are less than robust, you may be thinking about starting your own business to help bolster your income. An errand service is a good way to put some of your free time to work by catering to those who are incapable or too busy to perform certain tasks on their own. Essential to a successful errand service is impeccable bookkeeping. Keep records and receipts to make sure that your records are perfect.
Establish an hourly rate for your errand services. Your hourly rate will most likely be based on the clientele that you are targeting. If you're planning on doing everyday tasks for elderly people, like picking up medication, then your rate should be lower because you can expect more of these small tasks. If you're targeting the busy and the wealthy, and expect to be trusted with more difficult tasks, set a higher hourly rate. Most errand services charge $15 to $60 per hour, depending on clientele and services.
Record in an accounting software or ledger each time you receive a task. Record the type of task that you completed, and how fast it was done, down to the minute. Errand services run on their ability to get things done quickly, so you'll want to track your time and compare it to how much you're charging.
Save any receipts that you incurred from purchases that you made to complete the errand. Some receipts, such as the purchase of requested items by the client, will be his responsibility, and you'll need to add them to your invoice. However, some receipts, like gas for your car, are not the client's responsibility and need to be entered in your ledger as "Expenses."
Use your ledger or accounting program to create easy to understand, itemized invoices for your clients. Making sure that you have perfect records, and receipts to back up those records means that there won't be any question of how long you spent on an errand, expenses incurred and a final bill.
Balance your books at the end of each month so that you can see the difference between your time and expenses, versus your gross net for the month. You can decide whether you need to adjust your pricing or cut back in transportation costs to make sure that your errand service is profitable.
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.