Easy Errands? New Crowdsourcing App Adds Convenience to Military Life

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A new app-based errand and delivery service is rolling out to some military bases nationwide, and the founder wants to know if you'd like access to it too.

The app, JoyRun, combines the idea of crowdsourced delivery through people who are already your neighbors, including those on base, with what has long been my dream scenario: coffee delivery.

Of course, it's not just coffee -- it's anything, said Manish Rathi, who owns the company behind the service.

The way it works is pretty simple: Users can post to the app when they are going somewhere or accepting errands or "runs," and people who want or need something can post a request. Those who do the runs get both reimbursed and paid a few dollars in fees per errand per person. All payments are processed through the app, so no cash exchanges hands.

"It was built for communities, neighbors and colleagues in an office to help each other out and get rewarded in the process of doing so," Rathi said. "It works for food, diapers, dish detergent. And it's done not be a delivery driver; it's done by members of the community."

Right now, the app is available on a handful of military bases in the U.S., including the San Antonio area and Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi. It will soon be online for Minot, North Dakota.

Opening the app for a new location takes a few steps, Rathi says, but starts with a user requesting it. From there, developers do a few interviews about interest and hire a local community manager to assist with rollout.

Although Rathi said the app was developed around the gig economy concept and most people use it to bring in a little gas money or extra cash while running their own errands, there are people who make a living out of it.

The company's fees, levied on the person making the request, depend on the cost of the errand. For small errands in which the runner earns $3 or less, the company charges nothing. For income between $3 and $15 per run, it charges 15 percent. And for income over $15, it charges 20 percent, he said.

Any tip the runner receives is not subject to that cut, he added.

Teresa Guerin, a military spouse and veteran who uses the app in the San Antonio area, said she pulls in at least $20 to $25 an hour doing runs for people. She especially likes the service because she can take her kids with her on both the errands and the deliveries. And, unlike rideshare apps like Uber, which punish you for turning down a job after you've already seen the details, Guerin can accept only jobs she actually wants.

She said she also loves the community convenience it creates. Military families often share vehicles or live on installations far removed from major stores.

"If I were at home in Dallas, my mom or aunt would come over and say, 'Can I grab something from the store?' " she said. "We don't get that in the military, so it's really convenient to have JoyRun so if I need something I can get on and ask."

Now, who wants to bring me coffee?

-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at amy.bushatz@military.com.

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