Hire someone to run your errands

My friend is an executive assistant. Over drinks one night, I asked her what an executive assistant does. She responded that during her morning she drove to her boss’ house and fixed a power generator, she picked her boss up some lunch on her way back to the office, she returned phone calls for her boss for an hour in the afternoon, got coffee for her boss and a visiting international celebrity around 3:00 pm, and then dropped off her boss’ dry cleaning on her way home from work.

I told her that I needed an executive assistant, and she agreed that she needed one, too.

Errands tie up a great deal of our time and keep us from living in a stress-free home. In fact, stuff related to errands that I need to run often clutters up around my front door — clothes that need to go to the dry cleaner, books that need to be returned to the library, bikes that need to be serviced, etc. — and sits there nagging at me until I can spend four or five hours doing a bunch of errands I don’t really want to do.

In many large communities, there are companies established to provide personal assistants and errand runners at hourly rates. An internet search of your area might turn up a list of names. Check out customer reviews, and then take advantage of your own personal assistant.

If, like me, you live in a place without these companies, offer to pay the neighborhood high school kid $50 a week (plus fuel for the car) to run all of your errands for you. Open a pay-in-advance credit card with limited funds for the hired hand to use when picking up your dry cleaning and repaired bike. After one week of working for you, I doubt that you’ll even miss the $50.

Think about adding an extra $20 or $30 for the kid to also mow your lawn or shovel your snow. You can spend the free time enjoying the extra time in the company of your family or cleaning out your dusty attic. Regardless of what you do with your time, though, that cluttered pile of “things to do” next to your front door will be gone.


This post has been updated since its original publication in 2007.

10 Comments for “Hire someone to run your errands”

  1. posted by Anonymous on

    Our family is probably middle-lower to middle-middle class. Even still, we decided to hire some guys to do our yardwork every two weeks (sometimes just to mow the lawn), and it is totally worth it. Not having to pull out the lawn mower, get gas for the mower, empty or rake clippings, etc. Trimming the hedges was always a pain. Now the yard looks perpetually great and we can spend time enjoying it.

  2. posted by Brinx on

    Wow, luckily I didn’t have to do all that nonsense in my exec admin days.

  3. posted by Groovymarlin on

    I don’t think $30 would convince any high school kid to do my errands, at least not in our overpriced East Coast neighborhood. Great idea though.

  4. posted by Courtney on

    One of the best decisions I ever made was deciding to get a Peapod account. They deliver your groceries to you, and they carry most drugstore-type items as well. The only downside is that there’s a $50 minimum, but between my roommate and I, we can easily meet that.

  5. posted by jc on

    That sounds more like a *personal* assistant than an EA. EAs are supposed to be more involved in the business project side of things.

    I am trying to build my errands into my weekly routines so they flow, for lack of a better word. It’s only when they pile up that they’re an issue.

  6. posted by RC on

    Just thought I’d mention, you can also hire a “virtual” personal assistant at reasonable rates if your errands don’t require a physical presence. See https://www.getfriday.com/ for example.

  7. posted by Kate on

    I get our weekly groceries delivered by spud.ca. They allow me to create a standing order where certain items are automatically ordered on a weekly, biweekly, and monthly basis. This not only cuts out trips to the store, but with a standing regular order it only takes a couple of minutes to add on anything extra I’d like that week. Their minimum is $15 with a $3.50 delivery fee (which is dropped if the order exceeds $35.)

  8. posted by Gabe on

    There’s also the new kid on the block…


    You can outsource your chores one at a time, it looks pretty cool

  9. posted by PrioritiesConcierge on

    Thanks so much for educating people that there is now an entire industry dedicated to helping people find more hours in their day.
    As a personal assistant, I appreciate that you suggest hiring a business if one is available. With that comes insurance, experience, know-how, etc… so that you can trust who is entering your home, etc…

  10. posted by Kara on

    My nephew is shopping for a new car this summer (he just turned 16 and gets his license in a few weeks). He has most of the money saved up already from past work, but now needs gas money and other things. He has been so appreciative of the work I’ve given him this summer so far and I’m so glad to have house projects and other tasks done.

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