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Errand Service Review of Related Literature

In: Business and Management

Submitted By CIELphantomhive
Words 2250
Pages 9
Chapter II
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
This chapter presents some related literature read by the respondents. These literatures provided them a lot of help in understanding the study being conducted in terms of operation and management. Foreign Literature
Today, people in our society seem to be caught in the rat race of life. They have very busy time schedules and find it hard to perform the mundane services of their lives which take significant proportion of the available time. For instance in 1997 it was established that 25 hours a week were devoted to childcare, housework or shopping by mothers in dual earner couples by Robinson, J.P. and Godbey, G. in their book Time for Life.: The Surprising Way American Use Their Time. For fathers the figure was 14.5 hours.
This in turn forced people to use their working time for personal agendas. In fact Circles, 2001 revealed that 75%of employees take care of personal responsibilities while on the job. Further it was also established that employees spend an average of 1.86 hours per eight-hour workday on something other than their jobs, not including lunch and scheduled breaks.
On the other hand with baby boomers getting to the late stages of their lives the whole world is experiencing the issue of ageing population. This elderly community becomes another customer segment of the Errands Service businesses as they need the assistance of somebody else but hate becoming a burden to their friends and relatives.
As a result, today, there are many people who are more than glad to pay for someone who offers them these errand services. This has paved the way to a sudden emergence of a whole range of new opportunities which has turned this service industry a multi million dollar business.

An errand or concierge service is therefore a business which acts the role of a personal assistant running errands for people who either do not have the time or would rather pay someone else to do them. The word “concierge” stems from “comte Des cierges” the French term which referred to the servant who attended the whims of visiting noblemen at medieval castles. Regardless of the origin, it was the hoteliers from around the world who first adopted the concierge idea and offered the service to their guests. Today an errand service may offer services such as payment of utility bills, locating quality entertainment, picking up dry cleaning, grocery shopping, returning library books/videos, taking the car to the mechanic, party and event planning and all the other routine tasks that a person simply can't achieve in a day.
The concierge or errand service industry does not possess a long history. It is only few decades ago, creative and brave businessmen started offering the essence of the hotel concierge idea to the rest of the world. With the demands of the ever evolving hyper paced and dynamics of the challenge for work life balance, the early 90's saw the concierge business expand to meet the needs of the time starved employee and individual consumer. Therefore the industry underwent phenomenal growth during this period and today the concept is tried and tested everywhere including hospitals, malls, corporations to colleges, associations, churches and many more.
However the main reason for the exceptional success of this industry remains the busyness of people which becomes the business of errand services. In fact people are trying to squeeze 30 hours into a 24 hour day and errand services facilitate exactly that.
Technological Advancements of the Industry
As in the case of many service industries, the emergence of the Internet quickly revolutionized the traditional errand services. It didn't take much long for people to start talking about service platforms that are conceptually very similar to traditional errand services. So the “electronic concierge” was born as a result of the growing demand that people from all over the world expressed as far as these services were concerned. These new developments went way beyond the traditional errand services, offering the customers the best possible products and services with total convenience. Some of these services include travel arrangements, dinner reservations, phone calls, informational requests, and so much more.
Moving further ahead today we live in a world of mobile technology. As a result, mobile errand services such as mobile marketing, mobile entertainment, and mobile messaging have already merged and are expected to dominate in the future.
With more and more people busy with their careers and complaining about having more time than money, there is a growing market for people looking to learn how to start an errand business and real money to be made.
An errand service in its simplest form offers services like grocery shopping, lending and returning books, waiting around for the cable guy, etc… Therefore one does not need to posses specialist business knowledge to start up his own errand service business. However having the in depth knowledge will always make chances higher and speed up the way towards the success.
Who Needs This Service?
Time has become worth more than even money for many individuals and they want to spend their valuable time wisely. With Americans having an ever increasing load of tasks and errands that need to be done, it seems as if they are trying to squeeze every last minute into the day by multi-tasking. So today it is common to see people who are trying to drive while eating breakfast, putting on their shoes, talking to the customers on the phone, reading notes for the morning meeting, and making sure his or her hair is in place. So how do people spend their time wisely when there is a ceiling of 1,440 minutes and they cannot store any extra time for another day? The answer is simple. They buy more time from errand and concierge services. In today's fast paced and busy world, they would gladly pay someone else to make arrangements and take care of personal errands for them. Unless it is hard to balance a career with the personal responsibilities many of them have. This shows us why an errand service is one of the fastest growing home businesses around the globe.
The corporate world has recognized the need of their employees for assistance to manage day to day mundane activities amidst the ever increasing pressure for work-life balance. As a result, blue chip companies like Brooktrout Technologies, Hewlett-Packard, I-Cube, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Motorola and Sun already offer their employees so called “convenience services.” Most of them offer a handful of amenities, such as dry cleaning or meal preparation while some have gone to the extent of contracting a concierge service provider to handle just about any errand, whether it's shopping for a gift, taking the car to be repaired or planning a family vacation.
Imagine coming to work, logging on to a web site, inputting your personal to-do list, and then having someone else perform the tasks. This is one of the latest perks aimed at attracting and retaining best and the brightest talent and surely going to be the norm of the corporate world in times to come. Apart from the ones starving for time, there are another special group of people who often need someone else to complete their errands. It could be due to a new child, disability, illness or age, simply there are thousands of individuals who cannot complete the simplest tasks outside their residence. In fact it was established in 2003 that more than one quarter (26.6%) of the adult population has provided care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during the year. Based on census data available at that time, it translated into more than 50 million people.
For instance elderly men and women often need errands run or things picked up. But, they are rarely in a position to go themselves, and hate depending on friends or relatives. Particularly various studies conducted reveal most elderly don't mind paying for this unique service. They don't feel they are putting their loved ones out, it costs them way less than it would if they had to pay for a taxi there and back, and they do not have to waste their energy running errands that they will be more than happy to pay you. Similarly disabled or sick people and mothers who recently gave birth to a child may need somebody to help them manage their day to day activities.
As a result, errand/concierge services businesses today, have become a fast growing industry with highly lucrative profits. The industry is so diverse and equipped to cater ever changing range of needs of the human beings. So let someone be a time pressured professional or else a help seeking senior citizen, there will be many service offerings within his/her area to cater the exact needs of him/her. As time goes on the industry experts forecasts further growth, making it an ideal industry for someone who start up his/her own business.
The Competitive Environment A recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there are over 16 million two income families in the country. What does this imply? If everybody's out in the workplace, who's left at home to take care of all those routine activities that take up so much of a day.
Not only there are many two income families, most of the people seem to be working longer hours spending more than 44 hours a week on the job. In fact with the ever increasing demands of corporate world, some of them are already putting in 10 to12 hour days. So anything that makes their lives easier will be greatly welcomed by them.
While time pressured individuals are find themselves searching for personal concierges, corporate clients are even more willing hire them to help their busy employees and motivate them to work for their organizations. As a result consulting firms, high-tech companies, accounting firms, advertising agencies, law firms, hospitals and other businesses where employees work long hours, provide plenty of opportunities for corporate concierge services.
Market Overview
According to Sara Ann Kasner, the president and founder of the National Concierge Association in Chicago, “The concierge business is exploding right now. There has been tremendous growth. We've had requests on how to start a concierge business from as far away as London and Brazil.” Industry analysts predict there is plenty of room for even more growth.
Currently there is no exact evidence on how many personal concierge services exists, but according to Kasner, the NCA's membership has quintupled in the past year and is now more than 100. Of course the actual number of personal errand services should count much more if nonmembers were also considered. On the other hand the membership in the National Association of Professional Organizers, which includes some professionals who provide concierge services, swelled from a few hundred when founded in 1985 to more than 1,100 members by the late 1990s.
Since the market is in its growth stage, the level of competition is still low. However it is increasing and can expect to intensify as the market moves in to maturity. The low level of competition and wide degree of differentiation has enabled errand services to enjoy high margins. Apart from super profitability, relatively lower start-up costs required has made this industry very attractive to people like you who want to start-up their own businesses.
Average Rates
The total income of an errand service comes normally from two sources, i.e. membership fees and incremental charges on hourly or per service basis. Some services allow its membership, a certain number of requests each month for one annual fee. Generally these annual fees might start at around $1,000 to $1,500 while charges might turn out to be anywhere from $25 to $125 an hour, depending on the particular task.
For corporations, membership fees will vary widely depending on the size of the company and how many requests each employee is allowed. Obviously they are charged much higher fees because they require more services per month. So a corporate client with many employees who are each allowed multiple requests each month could start at around $5,000. More employees and a greater number of requests will result in much higher fee.
The industry average figures reveal that annual income for an errand service may range from $50,000 to $125,000. However this could be much more depending on the type of business, location, the services offered and other factors.
Resource Requirement
List of all the basic resources which are essential to start an errand service business: * Dependable computer with ancillary hardware devices such as a modem, printer and Internet access * Basic software such as a word processor, spread sheet including software for accounting and contact management * A cellular phone * Office supplies and stationery * Preferably a vehicle if your service include transportation of goods * A Website or a blog * Insurance, Advertising and Legal services
Justification of the Study The researchers exercised outmost care in looking for any available materials to support and establish the foundation of this study. So far, no similar study was found available. If ever there will be studies previously conducted that is related to this, the researchers, still consider this work an original study since it was conducted under a different setting with a different set of respondents and target market.

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