Errand service is a home based business which can be started up easily and inexpensively. This industry is becoming a fast growing multi million dollar business due to today’s busy lifestyles. More and more people now rely on errand service providers to help them carry out their errands which in turn would provide them free time to enjoy more important things in their life.
The following checklist outlines the basic guidelines required to start off your errand service venture with ease.
1. Required Skills and Qualifications
You should be an outgoing person with great people skills. You should also have great organizational skills, punctuality and efficiency. Since your tasks may differ day to day and you may need to travel about a lot, you should be adaptable and flexible in any given situation. Being computer literate would be advantageous since you may have to carry out internet researches, online bookings, etc. A special training is not required to carry out a basic errand service, but if your service includes complex tasks such as event planning, vacation planning, etc. it is recommended that you obtain some specialized training from an established errand service provider.
2. Essential Equipment and Supplies
Depending on the type of service you wish to offer the required resources would vary. But to get your business off to a flourishing start you would require these basic equipments and supplies: a dependable computer, a printer, an internet connection, software programs for accounts and contact management, a phone line with voice mail, a fax machine, a cellular phone, office supplies and stationary and if your services includes transportation a vehicle would also be required.
3. Target Market
The target market in this industry consists of three main groups. The first group contains the busy working people. Since they do not have time to carry out their errands, they prefer to pay someone else to perform it for them. Corporations would fall into the second group. They would either hire errand service providers to carry out mundane tasks on behalf of their business or would hire errand services on behalf of their employees as a benefit or an incentive for them. The third group consists of people who need help to carry out their errands due to sickness, disability, old age or the arrival of a new baby. You should select to which group/s you would cater your services to depending on the skills and resources you posses.
4. Type of Errands
As an errand service provider your errands can be categorized into two main groups. The first would be the simple errands. These types of errands do not require any special type of training. For example grocery shopping, utility bill payments, house sitting, laundry pick up/delivery, etc. The second group consists of more complex tasks which would require you to be computer literate. Furthermore you may even need to obtain some specialized training. Tasks such as meeting and event planning, travel and vacation planning, appointment and scheduling management, etc would fall under this group. Depending on the skills, experience, training, resources, time and effort you posses, you should decide on the type of errands which you would undertake on behalf of your clients.
5. Creation of the Business Plan
No matter how small your business is, it is always recommended that you create a business plan for your venture. This will enable you to always be focused on the services you are providing as well as manage the growth of your business. In this you should state details such as the description of your company and the ownership, the service you provide, information regarding the industry, target market, expected growth, financial plan, etc.
6. Legal Requirements and Insurance
The legal requirements in establishing your venture would vary from state to state. So it is advisable that you consult an attorney in order to understand the exact legal requirements involved. You may also need to visit the town clerks office and your states Department of Revenue to obtain assistance with the paper work and licenses which are required prior to setting up your business. Another important step would be to obtain business insurance for your venture. This is extremely valuable when running an errand service business because of the high amount of liability involved.
7. Fixing the Correct Price
As an errand service provider you would be charging your clients on an hourly basis or by the type of service provided. Generally errand service providers charge their clients around USD $25 to USD $125 per hour. If you are servicing regular customers who hire your services on a standard basis then you can even offer them a membership where they would pay you an annual fee for a certain number of requests for each month. Generally these annual fees might start at around USD $1,000 to USD $1,500. For corporations the membership fees could vary due to the size of the company, number of employees and how many requests each employee is allowed. It is always better to check out the competitive rates in the market before deciding on your price.
8. Marketing Your Service
It is vital that you market your services in order to attract clients. Networking is a cheap but effective way of promoting your business. The people you meet would be direct referrals to your business or even become your clients. You can also advertise on local papers, magazines and business journals or even get listed in the Yellow Pages. Another easy and cheaper way of spreading the word is by utilizing flyers, brochures, posters, emails and sales letters. Having your own website would be an added benefit since this would enable thousands of people to find out about the service you offer.
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