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 isolate what their biggest pain was.

What they found, which will not surprise any parent, is that one of the top challenges is about the collective time spent taking children to school, lessons, sports practices and other various activities.

Also Read :  Melinda French Gates wants Silicon Valley alternative for women

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

Also Read :  What parents should do to give their children a successful school year

What about a business that can take care of all the non-kid running around and free up families in a way that makes parenting duties more stress-free?

It turns out that the answer is in the question, and, in January of 2022, Errand was born.

merlin_2955449.jpg

Claire Larsen, co-owner of Errand, poses in American Fork on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022. She and her husband launched the startup that aims to be the DoorDash/Grubhub of errand running.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Errand began

Errand co-founder Claire Larsen says the company launched with some pretty rudimentary technology, just a website where you could place a request for an errand, specify pickup and drop-off locations and when you need it to happen. The rest of the process is mostly manual and performed in a small service area.

The approach is part of a very intentional plan to pull a reverse move on the more common tech startup fundraising process with an idea that will later be tested for practicality. The do-it-first pathway, Larsen said, allowed him and fellow co-founders to approach potential investors with a proven concept rather than an undefined business plan.

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

The idea and the go-get-’em attitude proved a hit with a group of investors who participated in a pre-seed round of venture funding for the company that closed in October and raised nearly $700,000.

Just two months later, in early December, Errand went live with its smartphone app. Today, the business is defunct, operating along the Wasatch Front with plans to grow statewide and, soon, into neighboring states.

Larsen says Errand is finding success on both sides of its business model, attracting clients who need an easy and affordable way to cross things off their to-do lists and the gig economy. drivers signing up, en masse, to perform those tasks.

“When the app went live, we just wanted to move existing customers,” Larsen said. “But within the first week, we tripled our goal and had about 6,000 drivers sign up.”

That quick response on the driver side of the equation has likely been helped by a gig economy that has seen a surge in interest over the past few years, with the number of people working on flexible and short-term contracts increasing.

In a recent report, Fortune said the number of gig workers in the US grew from 55 million in 2020 to a record 60 million today, according to a recent study by freelance recruiter site Upwork. Nearly 40% of the US workforce worked on a contract last year, according to the study, adding about $1.35 trillion to the economy.

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

Many ideas fail. Only a few find success

Corbin Church, an adjunct professor at BYU’s Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, is acting as a consultant for, and a supporter of, Errand’s founders and noted the company’s business model, and the timing of the launch, are reaching with all the correct marks.

Church said he interacts with a lot of budding entrepreneurs, teaches about 350 students each semester, and sees a lot of business ideas. But, he said, the people behind the concepts are the most critical factor.

“I’ve worked with a lot of kids who are starting a lot of great businesses,” Church said. “Many ideas fail, and few succeed. Turns out, more important than the idea is the founder behind it.

“Sometimes these big vision founders come together at the right time, and I think Errand found that magic.”

Church said Errand is aiming for a unique niche in the gig economy, breaking out of the specialized spaces occupied by companies like DoorDash or GrubHub, and, instead, embracing an all-inclusive strategy.

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

Church likes all the potential verticals for Errand, and said he sees the service being used for a wide range of individual and business needs.

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

Larsen says Errand’s internal economics also make sense, and the company has been profitable since the beginning.

How does this work?

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

Need to get away a bit? Errand charges an additional 85 cents per mile outside of their base range. On the driving side, runners are paid both by mileage and time and, according to Larsen, can average $25-$30 per hour in earnings. Plus, he said Errand drivers earn twice as much in tips as the average for Uber or DoorDash drivers.

While Errand won’t be able to carry your kids, or anyone else, it can handle most of the usual running around including picking up your dry cleaning, running DI donations or even doing a little shopping or picking up to-go orders to clients’ favorite restaurants.

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

Errand can even get you out of some tough jams.

Larsen said one client found themselves at the airport last month but realized, before they started on a trip out of the country, that they had left their passport at home. An Errand driver makes the trip to the client’s home, collects the passport and delivers it to the traveler in time for their flight.

“Not all of our trips are like that, of course,” Larsen said. “But we save our customers time, and make their lives easier, with every trip we make.”

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



Source

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.