What are Errands?
Errands are usually a short trip or journey to get some work done. The work has to be a specific purpose, for example, delivery or to collect some things, or even sending a message, often on behalf of a person you know. You can be running errands for your family, your friends, or someone you wish to help out.
Common examples of errands would be picking up groceries, getting the car washed at a car wash, taking clothes to the washing center, delivering your stuff like some paperwork to someone, etc. Errands are usually menial jobs that take more time and effort than add value to your time. So, you find someone who is free and can do it for you. E.g., kids usually have a lot of free time and so run errands for their parents as a helping hand or to neighbors as a kind gesture.
All of us are aware of these tasks called errands, which we do multiple times a week. There are errands even if you are single and have to take care of just yourself. It’s quite boring work at hand, and most of us would like to do without it if given a chance. And this is exactly why many of us seek outside help to get things done. For example, a friend can drop letters at the post office, and another can drop a cheque at the bank, another person can pick up some groceries for you while they are shopping for groceries themselves, someone can pick or drop your kids at school now and then.
Running Errands for Senior People
Every society has a lot of elders or seniors, as we can call them. At the last count, there were about 50 million seniors in just the United States alone. And the number of senior citizens in society continues to increase with time. With age, the capacity to do work decreases and the energy to get things done. Elders will slow down, making some tasks quite tedious for them.
While tasks like ordering food and medicines can be done from home, they still need outside help to do other tasks. The other tasks are like visit the bank, post a cheque, deliver important documents, etc. There are many seniors in society who need this help very often and rely on friends and neighbors for errands. There comes a time when we all have a to-do list ready, and the second set of hands is needed to help get it done. Some errands are important official work and cannot be missed, thus increasing their importance.
Errands or Chores?
Errands are usually confused with chores, usually domestic tasks, e.g., vacuuming the house, washing the pets, taking out the garbage, etc. Chores are thus necessary domestic tasks that often have a schedule and are also shared between family members as a routine for smooth operation in the house management. Errands are external and refer to somewhat official work. Errands by definition, mean going somewhere to do a small but necessary task at hand.
You can run errands for yourself as well as your family members. Picking up things like dog food, fruits on the way back from the office, dropping someone at the metro or bus station on the way to college, delivering some things for your mother’s friend, queuing up for something your brother needs, filling out an application for your sister’s job search and many more. The list is endless, depending on how flexible and helpful you can be.
Technology and Errands
There are several free and paid applications (Andriod as well as iOS) that are in the market that will help you time and run the errands. They will help you make a list, track it, schedule it, and also share among the group you wish to help out. So if you are going to the grocery store, you might as well pick up some medicines so someone else who falls on the same route as well. You can even use the simple Google scheduler to arrange the tasks.
Friends and family do not just run errands, but you will find them in corporate offices as well. Surprised? Well, that’s the reality if you have missed it somehow. Offices will usually hire administrative assistants and secretaries to do exactly that. Help their bosses with small tasks that would take out a lot of time from a Senior Executive’s productive day.
These tasks can be arranging a meeting, taking notes, sending reminders, booking flights, making hotel reservations and paying bills, etc. So suddenly, the task of running errands has now reappeared as a job profile too. Assistants are hired to do exactly that, and usually, none of these are personal tasks. The job profile only involves work tasks and taking care of them while the boss can handle other larger tasks.
When is the Best Time to Run Errands?
Usually, a lot of people have time only during weekends, and that’s the only time they can help or assist someone. Therefore 90% of the errands are run on Saturdays and Sundays. Unless it’s easy for you to do the task while you are on the move, like pick up coffee or sandwich on the way for them, pick up groceries while you are shopping for your own, or taking clothes at the Laundromats while you are doing it yourself.
Errands as a Business
In our busy schedules, a lot of people just don’t have the time to run their errands. Either that or they just don’t have the energy to do it. Imagine working all week tirelessly and spend crucial weekends running chores. It can be taxing for some, and most would like to outsource it at a cost. Also, there are people who do multiple jobs, so they would be busy during weekends. So it’s better to outsource the work for a few dollars rather than spend additional time and energy running around doing it. This is where the concept of an Errands business came about.
Even though it’s a professional service, they still hire people for the tasks. What if someone told you could get paid for running errands and earn hundreds of dollars in the process? Yes, by taking up the job of an errand-runner. You can run scheduled errands for people and earn anywhere between a couple of dollars to 10-20 dollars an hour, depending on the complexity of the task.
There were always times when you would pay someone money to run errands, but making this into a full-fledged business was also a viable business opportunity waiting to be tapped. Thus, many errands services came up in all cities and towns, and a mere google search would reveal many of them and offer a range of services.
Basic Tasks of Errand-Runner
Some basic services can be listed as below:
- Short distance Delivery/ Courier service
- Office Help
- Repairing/ Cleaning like the car or motorcycle
- Event Planning
- Shopping help
- Transportation for dropping/ picking up something
- Pet assistance and care
- Handyman services
Companies or Errand runners can charge by the task or by the hour. You can also assign a list of tasks to the person and let a single person complete them all. However, there are specialists who have skills you can use, e.g., shopping for discounts, help with filing some official paperwork, planning and scheduling your travel, and a whole lot more. I hope you got the idea. So you can choose a single person or a company who will complete the tasks for you.
If you have a list of tasks that need to be done regularly, like monthly activities, you can negotiate and work out a long-term service plan. I agree that running errands as a job is difficult as there is no fixed work or time, but clients will come back to stay and offer more work if the services are good. They can also give more business through word of mouth.
Successful Business and a Nice Gesture
Running errands is not just the weekend help for someone you know. It has now become a successful business model as well. But at the very core, it’s a necessary and beautiful thing for society as we help each other out and helps us all stay connected and grounded. Doing things for each other is the perfect way to bond and build relationships too. I hope this information helped you. Hope this article helped you get a better picture of running errands as a business and in the other case as a nice gesture.