Errand is here to pick up your dry cleaning and drop off your donations
It was Christmas Eve, and Trevor Compton was busy cooking dinner and wrapping presents when he realized he needed ice melt. His driveway had become a massive sheet of ice, and he was worried about his guests slipping. But he didn’t want to take time away from holiday prep to run to the store, so he gave Errand a try.
Three hours later, he had three bags of ice melt on his porch. “I live in Morgan, which is almost never in the coverage area of [shopping and delivery] services like this. . . . They just don’t have drivers that come up to Morgan, but Errand did it,” said Compton in his Google review. “These guys are legit, and I am a fan for life.”
Krista Humphrey wanted to take donations to the local Savers, but at eight-and-a-half months pregnant, she needed help. She wrote in her review that she enlisted Errand and was thrilled to check the to-do item off her list.
Virginia Somerville’s granddaughter forwarded the Errand app her way, thinking it might be helpful. Somerville tried Errand’s services with a prescription pick-up and was pleased to get notifications when the courier was on her way and updates on traffic delays. “She was polite and kind. I would definitely use their services again,” Somerville wrote.
From dry cleaning pick-ups to retail returns and post-office runs, Shalice Larsen is a repeat Errand customer. “I have used it for multiple errands I didn’t have time for . . . everyone needs this in their life,” Larsen wrote.
Utah-based Errand is a Brigham Young University student startup and a relatively new arrival on the gig services scene. This already competitive landscape is expected to generate $455 million in 2023. As of 2021, 16 percent of US workers had earned money working with a gig platform.
And while co-founder and CEO Kason Larsen acknowledges contenders in the gig economy are in a scrum for both customers and workers, he says that Errand’s early success has come from filling a niche more prominent players aren’t targeting.
Food delivery apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats will pick up your restaurant order and deliver it to your door. Ride-sharing apps like Lyft and Uber will pick you up and deliver you to your destination. Grocery delivery services like Instacart will shop for your order and bring it to your doorstep. But Errand’s runners will handle a myriad of errands the others aren’t.
Kason and his co-founders, CMO Claire Larsen and CTO Scott Young, launched Errand’s web platform in early 2022 with funding from friends and family. They released the app in December with the help of $600,000 in funding from angel investors. In its first year, the company has seen significant growth, especially since the launch of its app.
Errand’s most requested services include grocery and retail shopping. While others like Instacart already provide grocery shopping and delivery, Errand’s differentiator is it can provide the service for any store, not just those contracted with delivery platforms or that offer in-house delivery. Its customers’ most in-demand grocery store? Trader Joe’s. Similarly, when it comes to retail, Errand will shop for items at big chains like Dick’s Sporting Goods and make trips to local places like Neverland Emporium in Kaysville for ballet slippers.
He says that once Errand’s customers try out the app for one errand, they use it as a super-app for all their errands. “Errand is completely customizable to the user,” Kason says. “They’ll book a donation delivery to Savers, then a grocery store run, then a Costco trip.”
He says other requests have included things like picking up keys left at the office, grabbing a laptop left at a coffee shop, and even buying mice to feed a pet snake. One of the most unique runs was a last-minute emergency for a customer who had arrived at the airport only to realize their passport was still at home. Errand’s runner snagged and delivered the passport before the customer’s plane took off.
"Errand is the first gig company centered around pick-up and drop-off errands, and as long as the company can grow quickly enough, they’re confident they can attract the attention of global platforms."
About 70 percent of Errand’s customers are stay-at-home or working moms, ages 28–48, who want to spend more time at home and less time running errands. And while Errand seems like it would be perfect for seniors, that segment of the company’s market is growing more slowly. “Even though we’ve made it super simple, there’s a bit of a technology gap for seniors,” Kason says. “When we get on the phone with them and they figure it out, they’re some of our best recurring customers. It just takes a little more training to help them know how to use it.”
Kason says Errand’s relatively low costs make it attractive to customers. The base fee is $7.99 for pick-up or drop-off within a six-mile radius, with add-on fees for things like additional miles, the number of shopping items, etc. As for time frame, customers can request errands from 30 minutes to up to a week out.
Errand has had little trouble recruiting runners, who are hired as independent contractors, like most other gig workers. Errand’s average runner earns about $30 an hour (the global average hourly pay for independent workers is $19).
Kason says Errand’s runners also love the flexibility. According to Symmetrical, that’s consistent for gig workers everywhere: “The majority of gig workers enjoy the independence, flexibility and job variety this type of employment allows.”
Unlike other platforms, however, Errand has designed its system to give runners even more latitude. “It’s not like DoorDash, where you get [the request] and have five seconds to decide,” Kason says. “You get to see the list and have a lot of time to decide if you want to take [the errand].”
Errand’s current service area mainly covers the Wasatch Front. With several universities throughout the region, Kason says the executive team has been surprised that less than 5 percent of runners are college-aged.
“We thought it would be mostly students, but our best errand runners are single parents looking to make more money,” Kason says. “We also have seniors, ages 60 to 70, that are retired but want to fill their day with something. Then the rest are long-time DoorDash and Uber drivers who are already on the streets all day, and they just pick up our jobs, too.”
As a startup, Errand has its sights set on scaling its services throughout the rest of Utah and the nation. Kason realizes they’re up against some of the world’s biggest companies in a highly competitive gig economy, but that doesn’t scare him. He sees it as an opportunity.
“We’ve seen many trends in the marketplace for gig companies like Uber and DoorDash to buy up all these smaller companies that are building new customer bases,” Kason says. “Our goal over the next five years is to build this up, get a couple hundred thousand users, show them we’ve created a new niche, and get them to acquire us.”
Recently, DoorDash acquired Caviar, a competing food delivery platform, for $410 million in cash and preferred stock, and Uber acquired the alcohol delivery platform Drizly for $1.1 billion in stocks and cash.
Kason adds that Errand is the first gig company centered around pick-up and drop-off errands, and as long as the company can grow quickly enough, they’re confident they can attract the attention of global platforms. Until then, they’ll continue to make life easier for customers, from dry cleaning pick-ups to donation drop-offs.