Jaicee Wild will pick up the goods from Shaundee Bull at American Fork on Tuesday and deliver them to Deseret Industries. A group of recent BYU graduates started this startup with the goal of being your DoorDash/Grubhub. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
Estimated duration: 6-7 minutes
PROVO — Working to identify business ideas, a group of BYU students decided to survey families to identify their biggest pain points.
What they discovered, which should come as no surprise to any parent, is that one of the biggest challenges is the collective effort spent transporting children to school, lessons, sports practice, and a variety of other activities. It was about time.
Recognizing the sheer legal hurdles and formidable liability issues that accompany any effort to commercialize kid-friendly taxi services, budding entrepreneurs were quickly led to another, but closer, idea.
What about a business that can take care of everything but running kids and free up families in a way that makes parental duties less stressful?
The answer is in the question, Errand was born in January 2022.
The beginning of errands
According to Errand co-founder Claire Larsen, the company launched with fairly rudimentary technology. Just a website where you can submit your request, identify your pick-up and drop-off locations, and when you need to do it. The rest of the process was mostly manual and done in a small service area.
This approach was part of a very deliberate plan to reverse the more typical tech startup process of raising money based on ideas that are later tested for utility. According to Larsen, her Do it first path allowed her and her fellow co-founders to approach potential investors with proven concepts rather than untested business plans. rice field.
“We knew we needed funding to build the app, but we knew we were a group of students with no experience or business background,” says Larsen. . “We ended up using Guerrilla’s marketing tactics and using only his own money to run his 3,000+ errands for people.”
The idea and aggressiveness were a hit with a group of investors who participated in the company’s pre-seed venture funding round, which closed in October and raised nearly $700,000.
Just two months later, in early December, Errand launched a smartphone app. Business is currently suspended, operating along the Wasatch Front, with plans to expand across the state and into nearby states.
According to Larsen, Errand has been successful on both sides of its business model, signing up en masse with clients who needed an easy and affordable way to traverse their to-do lists and to fulfill those errands. is attracting gig economy drivers who are
“When the app came out, we just wanted to take over our current customers,” says Larsen. “But in his first week he tripled his target, with about 6,000 drivers signed up.”
That quick turnaround on the driver side of the equation may have been aided by a surge in the number of people working on flexible short-term contracts and the growing interest in the gig economy over the past few years.
In a recent report, Fortune pointed out that the number of gig workers in the US has grown from 55 million in 2020 to a record 60 million today, according to a recent study by freelance job site Upwork. Nearly 40% of the U.S. workforce has been in contract labor in the past year, according to the study, adding about $1.35 trillion to the economy.
On the client side of Errand’s business model, more consumers are finding new comforts in app-based services, thanks to the proliferation of companies like GrubHub, DoorDash, TaskRabbit, and even ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft. increase.
Many ideas fail.few people succeed
Corbin Church, adjunct professor at BYU’s Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, who has acted as a consultant and advocate for Errand’s founders, believes the company’s business model and launch timing all hit the right spot. I paid attention to
Church said he interacts with many up-and-coming entrepreneurs, teaches about 350 students each semester, and sees many business ideas. But he pointed out that the people behind the concept were the most important factor.
“I work with a lot of kids who have started a lot of great businesses,” Church said. “Many ideas fail, some succeed. More important than the idea is the founder behind it.
“Sometimes these big vision founders tie in with the right opportunity. I think Errand has found the magic.”
Church said Errand is aiming for its own niche in the gig economy, moving away from the specialized space occupied by companies like DoorDash and GrubHub and instead taking a holistic approach.
“Errand takes a broad approach and the idea of ultimately making people more productive,” says Church. “It’s just the right kind of generic, offering the same service and value whether the customer is a busy parent or a busy manager in a work environment.”
Church says he loves all of Errand’s potential verticals and believes the service will serve a wide range of personal and business needs.
“Let’s say you’re in the construction industry and you’re running out of critical building supplies on site,” Church said. “A company can send someone to The Home Depot and pay them an hourly rate for an errand that they think will take at least an hour. Or order something from the Home Depot website and specify curbside pickup. We can send you an Erland driver that can do it for less than $10. It’s smart and economical.”
Larsen said Eland’s internal economics also make sense, and the company has been profitable from the start.
how does that work?
Client pays a flat fee of $7.99 for pickup and drop-off within a 6-mile radius. According to Larsen, this distance was determined in early operations, and 90% of trips were within that distance.
Need to go a little further? Errand will charge an additional charge of 85 cents per mile over base range. On the driver’s side, runners are paid for both distance traveled and time, and on average he earns $25 to $30 an hour, according to Larsen. Additionally, she said her driver gets twice as much tip as Uber and DoorDash drivers usually do.
Errand can’t carry your kids or anyone else, but it can handle just about any standard run, like picking up dry cleaning, making DI donations, picking up light shopping or take-out orders with clients. increase. Favorite restaurant.
Larsen said Errand is overcharging popular food delivery services and will do so on a model that does not serve local businesses, thanks to the startup’s client-side payment system.
You can even get out of some tough traffic jams.
Larsen said he found one customer at the airport last month, only to realize he left his passport at home before he left for an out-of-country trip. Elland’s driver was able to go to the client’s house, retrieve the passport, and deliver it to the traveler in time for their flight.
“Of course not all trips are like that,” said Larsen. “But we save our customers time and make their lives easier every time they travel.”
For more information on Errand and how to get the app, visit goerrand.com.