Small Business Ideas From Home: How to Start an Errand Service

This is the third post in the series Small Business From Home. The previous posts talked about starting a garden service and an ironing service. This post will talk about an errand-running business, which just like the first two home businesses, can be set up with flexible working hours and earn a good income. 

An errand running business is perfect for those who like to meet wonderful people, help them in their lives, connect on a personal level, and earn a healthy income.

What is an Errand Running Business?

Simply put, if you have an errand business, your job is to act as a concierge, help out people with odd jobs, scheduling and simple tasks that they may not have the time to do, or be capable of due to other commitments and time constraints.

How to start an errand service

Here is what you need to think about if you like the idea of starting an errand running business.

Where to Find Clients

The need for errand running can run far and wide, and your audience could be almost anyone. For this reason, you’ll need to think about specializing in a particular set of activities. 

As for who to target, there are a number of clients that might need an errand service. Check out this shortlist of prospective clients.
  • Affluent people who have very busy lives, either due to social or work commitments
  • Small business owners who might need help with grocery shopping or product deliveries
  • Elderly people 
  • New mothers and parents of very young children
  • Disabled people 

Services to Offer

There are so many services to offer; it would be outside of the scope of this article to list them all. Just think to yourself, on your most busy day, what would you wish you personally could outsource to others, to free up more time in your life?

Here are a few examples:
  • Dry cleaning
  • Buying tickets
  • Post office/shipping parcels
  • Pet sitter/carer
  • Grocery shopping
  • Shopping
  • Banking
  • Appointment making
  • Cleaning
  • Small household jobs and repairs
  • Organizing and upkeep

You could specialize in the things you are particularly talented in and enjoy, or you could offer many services, but subcontract to other tradespeople or hire staff for other jobs. You would act as a manager, and all services would come under your company banner.

Research companies and individuals that already offer the type of services you would like to offer. See how long they have been in business, what they charge, and the feedback and reviews they have received. This will give you an idea of what you could achieve and is great for motivation.

Start-Up Equipment Needed

The good thing about starting an errand business is the low start-up costs. Apart from standard business stationery, you won’t need much equipment or supplies, to begin with. 

Your vehicle will probably be your biggest cost. Depending on the market and clientele, though, it may be possible to use what you already have like a scooter, a bicycle or a motorcycle. 

If you target more affluent people, though, it would be advisable to have a vehicle to better provide the needed services. 

Additionally, you will need standard supplies for the admin, marketing, and communication of running the business. A regular dedicated telephone with land-line, a decent enough computer or tablet that has access to the internet, your own website, business cards, and an advertising budget.

How to Market Your Business

The more local you keep your business, to begin with, the better. This will reduce travel time, and keep clients closer together. This is only in the beginning. Once you begin to expand, you can hire more staff and travel further.

Another benefit of being local is the trust factor. In general, people feel more comfortable hiring someone from their home town over someone from a multinational company.

If you plan to market online, a website is essential for branding and marketing purposes. For someone searching for your services via Google, your website will be the first means of contact. Some businesses choose to create a Facebook Page to launch and market their services.

You could register the business in Google Places, and any online directory that has authority. List your business to, Yelp, and even niche directories related to errand running and concierge services. You could list your errand services on

Put classified ads on Craigslist, even eBay. Handing out leaflets, flyers, and brochures work too. Print a few hundred business cards and make sure you hand them out to friends and family. Word of mouth is the best mode of advertising.

Starting an errand running service can be an enjoyable and rewarding business. People who are well suited to this business are those who like to help others, responsible and trustworthy.