Errand services for seniors is one of the fastest grown service businesses, as more and more baby-boomers turn 65. Errand runners may also help busy working professionals and small businesses with their errand needs, but more and more are finding most of their daily errands are for seniors because seniors need help with errands on a regular basis – at least once a week and often every day. They can be a very dependable source of income for any errand service business.
There are over 42 million seniors over 65 in the United States and that figure is expected to climb to over 80 million in less than 20 years. That means lots of new customers for a senior errand service.
Why seniors? As people age, they may be less able to run their own errands. Many seniors would rather stay at home instead of doing routine errands such as going to the supermarket or drug store. Some simply can’t get about as easily as they used to. They may be home-bound due to an disability, illness or injury, and need help with even the simplest of errands most of us take for granted, so they call on an errand running service to help.
Starting an errand service is easy and quick compared to many other service businesses. There’s no need for a fancy office, no inventory to buy and training is “on the job.” Successful errand runners confirm that good people skills, the ability to stay organized and multi-task are the skills that make the difference. Most errand services start with just a few hundred dollars and a serviceable vehicle, and charge an average of $27 an hour for errand running. An eight hour day can produce $216, or $1080 a week. That’s over $54,000 a year for a simple service business.
In addition to running errands, most errand services offer several related services, such as home checks while a customer is on vacation or “waiting services.” Let’s say your customer has scheduled someone to repair a washing machine or install cable TV and can’t be there when the service call is scheduled. They call you to wait at the house for the service person, and you get paid your regular hourly wait. For many people, the alternative – missing a day of work – is much more expensive.
Most errand runners charge an hourly rate instead of by the job. Rates vary by area, from lower in rural areas and small towns to higher in big cities. According to a recent survey, rates range from $20 to $40 an hour, with a national average of $27 per hour. With the price of fuel steadily climbing, many errand runners add a small per-mile fuel surcharge as well, just like UPS and Fedex.
Service packages are popular with seniors customers, with fixed prices for a month, such as a five hour package or a ten hour package. Offering packages can give you a better idea of how much work you’ll have in the coming month, as well as money upfront for the service package.
Most errand runners charge extra for holiday or after-hours errands or for rush deliveries that need to be handled immediately. Just like any other professionals, a cancellation fee is customary if an errand is cancelled within 24 hours of the scheduled time. Without ample notice, it can be difficult to fill a hole in your schedule.
Seniors spread the word quickly among friends when they find a great new business or service – it could be yours. By helping seniors run their errands, you can make a tidy profit and help others. To learn more about starting your own senior errand service, read: How to Start a Profitable Senior Errand Service.