Errand Services: One Business That Requires No Start-up Capital

It certainly was going to be a very busy day for this newlywed. The husband had just run off to work for his weekend shift, the wife stayed up sorting gifts from the wedding party.

Then it hit her that the house had only one ladle spoon. Heavily pregnant and not agile enough to dash out of the house, she ran through her thoughts for solutions. Call hubby? No, knock on her neighbour’s door?

She took a walk to the window which also overlooked the compound’s parking lot; it was still early in the morning, she was weary and out of ideas too. Then something happened.

She remembered the young man who washes cars for everyone in the compound. He was a handyman who took an interest in assisting with outdoor menial tasks residents were stuck with: fuelling generators, cleaning spark plugs, lifting luggage from their trunks and so on.

She donned her boubou, hung around her balcony and beckoned on him when he was in sight. She relayed her request and a deal was struck.

Forty-five minutes later, she had her new ladle set. He earned N1,000. Errand services have been in existence for a long time. It was an informal service that was in the cadre of street cobblers, hawkers and scavengers. With the rise of online shopping in urban Nigeria came an increase in logistics service providers and errands businesses both seeking to solve the problem of sourcing and delivery of commodities to customers.

You can now offer to: source and shop for groceries for people, shop for parts and tools for businesses, source and shop for utilities and household items— napkins, bottles, utensils, toothpicks, cruets, matches… the list is endless.

Here are a few things to do to get started:

  1. Decide if you would be running errands personally or employing someone to do this on your behalf (create clear contracts and background checks before doing this)
  2. Identify open markets and search the prices of common items sold there. They could be buckets, mops, kegs, basins, bottles etc.
  3. Reach out to people in your community and let them know you can now help them source these items for them conveniently while they remain in the comfort of their homes or businesses.
  4. Reach out to households, offices and shops. Don’t overspecialize.
  5. Develop a flat rate you charge e.g. N2,000 if their purchases exceed N5000, N1,000 if it does not or if their errands are in multiple locations
  6. Offer them updates while you are in the market, so that they are informed and potential conflicts are avoided
  7. Warm up to suppliers in the market. Build a relationship with some so that if you ever have to return items because of customers, it is much easier and you can walk away clean.

Errand services could also involve trips to banks, post offices or any other place customers need you to go. The rules above would still apply regardless.

It is a growing venture with lots of promises.

Yoodalo is an online marketplace that saves you time, money and stress finding products and services free of charge.

Terms of Service

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