Tech startup Errand seeks to help Utahns handle out-of-the-house chores
There’s nothing more valuable than time. No matter their age, job or life situation, everyone has 24 hours in a day. Claire Larsen, Kason Larsen and Scott Young want to give people some of that time back — for a price.
In 2022, the trio founded Errand, a website-turned-app through which users pay “runners,” as they’re called, to complete errands and check boxes off their to-do lists.
The whole idea, according to Chief Executive Officer Kason Larsen, came in January while he and Claire, his wife and the company’s head of marketing, were still students at Brigham Young University.
“We’re looking at our moms and we saw, man, they’re always going to post office, they’re always doing returns, they’re always going to the dry cleaners, just random errands — that takes so much time out of their days,” he said.
With no other service available to do those chores for them, they decided to make one. It started with a website, a relatively simple form providing all of the necessary information. Within months, Kason said, the company went from 10 users to 100 and quickly into the hundreds.
From there, the two reached out to their friend and fellow BYU student Young, now the chief technology officer, to handle the tech aspect of scaling up and building an app. Since then, it’s been a steady stream of growth and expansion.
“It’s organically blown up, which has been really cool to see — just word of mouth, people telling their friends about it,” Claire Larsen said. “It’s been cool to make a service that’s not only super useful and saves people time, but we wanted to make it so it’s affordable for everyone.”
The decision to work together wasn’t a difficult one for Young and the Larsens. In addition to attending BYU together, they were friends while students at Viewmont High School in Bountiful.
The app is currently available for users in the Wasatch Front, with runners everywhere between Utah County’s southern tip and the northern reaches of Weber, Summit and Wasatch counties.
Costs for individual errands vary based on time and distance. The base cost for each errand is $7.99. If the runner has to shop, it costs an additional $4.99; if it requires a truck, another $19.99 is added to the cost; and any errand over 6 miles costs the user $0.75 per mile.
Regardless of specifics, there’s no limit on what the dedicated group of errand runners — who are paid for each completed job in addition to a tip — will do.
“A couple of weeks ago, someone was at the airport and their wife left her makeup bag at home. And it was do-or-die — like, she needed that makeup bag, they were going on a cruise,” Claire Larsen explained. “An errand owner was able to bring it to them.”
That user, like many others, payed well and tipped well — around double the average amount tipped on other gig worker apps, she said — because of how they view the labor.
“I think a lot of people view it as more of a life-saving service or ‘I need this done,’ as opposed to a luxury,” she said.
Currently, there are over 6,000 Errand runners in the systems with different criteria, vehicles and availability. The service also allows for people to ask for errands done right away or ones scheduled in advance.
According to the founding trio, the most common errand is for a runner to deliver donations to Deseret Industries, Goodwill, Savers and other donation-oriented retailers. That and, particularly in the weeks ahead of Christmas, taking packages to the post office have led the way.
Errand also allows for a broader range of shopping options than services like DoorDash or UberEats. According to Young, runners can charge the customer’s debit card through the app. This allows runners to shop anywhere from “big retail to (a) small mom and pop shop,” Claire Larsen said.
Users with memberships to large retailers, specifically Costco and Sam’s Club, can also have shopping done through the app — provided both the user and the runner are members.
While the errand options extend only as far as the imagination, they also provide a service for people limited by outside circumstances.
The company saw a significant spike in use in December as waves of snow blanketed the Wasatch Front, making it difficult for some people to run errands while others may have simply not wanted to add another stop to their day amid questionable road conditions.
While there will always be room to grow and learn with a new service, there’s been little negative customer feedback thus far. According to Kason Larsen, the main complaint has been from users suggesting different app layouts “so that it makes sense to them.”
Additionally, a bulk of the company’s marketing in the first year has been used teaching customers how to use Errand and explaining its possibilities.
Kason Larsen said the bulk of their current users are in northern Utah County and southern Salt Lake County — specifically Lehi, Draper, Sandy and South Salt Lake.
The company has plans to be in all of Utah by early 2023, then expanding slowly into Colorado and Arizona. Over the next five or eight years, they hope to have between 800,000 and 1 million users on Errand.
Errand is available to download for free on the Apple App Store and on Google Play.