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 points were.

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

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Quickly recognizing the huge legal hurdles and daunting liability issues that accompany any effort to commercialize a baby taxi service, new entrepreneurs are drawn to a different , but close, idea.

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

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The answer is in the question, and, in January 2022, Errand was born.


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

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Start of Errand

The co-founder of Errand, Claire Larsen, says that the company launched some simple technology, just a website where you can put a request for a task, find out pick-up locations and drop and when you need it to happen. The rest of the process is usually manual and performed in a small service area.

The approach is part of a deliberate plan to pull off a reverse move in the more common tech startup process of gathering an idea that can later be tested for practicality. The do-it-first pathway, says Larsen, allows him and fellow co-founders to approach potential investors with a proven concept instead of an untested business plan.

“We knew we needed funding to build an app, but we knew we were a group of students with no experience and no business background,” Larsen said. “We ended up running over 3,000 jobs 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 on his smartphone app. Now, the business is up and running, operating along the Wasatch Front with plans to expand across the state and, soon, into neighboring states.

Larsen said Errand has found 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 economic drivers. in the gig that enlists, in large part, to make those tasks happen.

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

That rapid response to 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, short-term contracts rising. .

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

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

Many ideas fail. Few have found success

Corbin Church, an adjunct professor at BYU’s Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, acted as a consultant for, and supporter of, Errand’s founders and noted the company’s business model, and timing of the launch, struck a chord with everyone. correct mark.

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 have started a lot of great businesses,” Church said. “Many ideas fail, and few find success. It turns out, what’s more important than the idea is the builder behind it.

“Every time, these great visionaries are joined by the right opportunity, and I think Errand found that magic.”

Church said that Errand is aiming for a unique niche in the gig economy, which is not in the specialized spaces occupied by companies like DoorDash or GrubHub, and, instead, has adopted an all-inclusive approach. .

“The task comes at it with a broad approach and an idea that focuses on making people more productive,” Church said. “It’s the right kind of generic equivalent service and value whether the customer is a busy parent or a busy manager in a work environment.”

Church wants all the potential verticals for Errand, as he sees that the service can be used for a wide range of individual and business needs.

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

Larsen said Errand’s internal economics also made sense, and the company was profitable from the start.

How does it 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 by their early operations, with 90% of their trips falling within that. mileage.

Need to go a little further? Errand charges an additional 85 cents per mile outside of their base range. On the driver side, runners are paid by mileage and time and, according to Larsen, can average $25-$30 per hour in earnings. Additionally, he said Errand drivers earn twice as much in tips than the average Uber or DoorDash driver.

While Errand can’t take your kids, or other people, it can do almost all the standard running around including picking up your dry cleaning, running DI donations or even doing a little shopping or taking orders from clients. ‘favorite restaurants.

Larsen said Errand beats the rates of popular food delivery services and will do so with a model that doesn’t target 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 an overseas trip, that they had left their passport at home. An Errand driver was able to travel to the client’s home, collect the passport and deliver it to the traveler in time for their flight.

“Not all of our travels 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


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